CITY-STREET-CHURCH Conference Devoted to Social Issues

Over the past several months, local and provincial government agencies have announced millions of dollars in funding for social housing and other initiatives aimed at eliminating homelessness on Victoria’s streets.  And yet, as the headlines above show, a sad reality continues to display itself daily in the downtown core, especially on Pandora Avenue.

It’s a reality that appalls residents and visitors, annoys neighbouring businesses and taxes the resources of police and emergency services.

Is it fair to ask: Could better co-ordination among governments, police and social aid agencies, including downtown churches, produce a healthier downtown environment?

St. John the Divine Anglican, a downtown church that operates a food bank and overnight shelter close to Pandora Avenue, believes it could.

“A healthier downtown is important to any community and faith communities have a key role to play,” says Rev. Harold Munn, the Rector of St. John the Divine. “There is potential in Victoria to build on existing relationships between faith communities and civic society and to build a stronger foundation for future work together.”

To that end, St. John the Divine is sponsoring a conference on September 10 and 11 to explore how government, service providers and city faith communities can enhance their collaboration in the delivery of anti-poverty and homelessness programs in the city.

The conference, called “City-Street-Church” will bring together high-profile members of government, front-line service agencies and faith community representatives in an effort to improve the quality of life in Victoria’s urban core.

The conference is being held at St. John the Divine as part of the church’s 150th anniversary celebrations this year.


City-Street-Church  –  Conference Agenda

Keynote speakers for the conference are:

  • Andrew Hutchison, Archbishop and former Anglican Primate
  • Murray Coell, B.C. Minister of Labour
  • Susan Brice, Saanich Councillor and former B.C. Minister of Mental Health and Human Resources and former Mayor of Oak Bay.

Friday Evening, Sept. 10 – Welcome & Keynote Address

The conference will be opened Friday, Sept. 10, by the Honorable Ted Hughes, and James Cowan the local Anglican Bishop. The first keynote address will be given by Anglican Archbishop and former Primate Andrew Hutchison, who will speak about his experiences collaborating with civic and political leaders while he was Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Montreal.

Saturday Morning, Sept. 11 – Panel Discussion: ‘Street Stories’

On Saturday morning, attendees will hear accounts from the police, business community and aid agencies that illustrate how collaboration can assist in improving the health of our city. Special attention will be paid to the current level of collaboration and co-operation among the various agencies. A panel discussion follows. Featured panelists in this session include:

  • Charlayne Thornton-Joe, Councillor, City of Victoria
  • Bernie Pauly, Assistant Professor, Univ. of Victoria School of Nursing
  • Jo-Ann Roberts, Host, All Points West, CBC Radio, Victoria

Saturday Afternoon, Sept. 11 – Panel Discussion: ‘The Way Ahead’

In the afternoon, panelists representing key players will develop a plan for improving program delivery through enhanced collaboration.  Featured panelists in this session include:

  • John Ducker, Deputy Chief, Victoria Police Services
  • Rev. Brenda Nestegaard-Paul, Downtown Churches Association
  • Gregor Craigie,  Host, On the Island, CBC Radio, Victoria

Conference Close – Plenary Address

The conference will close will a plenary address by the present Anglican Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, who will present his impressions of the way forward.


Who Should Attend?

Anyone involved with government policy and/or social service provision.  Although the conference discussion will focus on downtown Victoria, ministers and members of faith communities from throughout the region are invited, as are other interested members of the public and the media. Registration for the conference is required by 7 September. Registration fee of $30 includes a working supper Friday evening and a working lunch on Saturday.


Contact Information

The Rev. Canon Dr. Harold Munn, Rector
or The Rev. Michael Hemmings, Assistant Priest
St. John the Divine Anglican Church
1611 Quadra St., Victoria, B.C.
Phone: (250) 383-7169
Email: or