Heads of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) are asking for prayers with the approach of National Housing Day 2017 this Wednesday, November 22, and the expected announcement of a national housing strategy by the federal government.
National Housing Day is a chance for Canadians to reflect and learn about homelessness, and for members of the two churches to reflect on their calling as Christians and to pray for affordable housing, said a joint letter issued Friday, November 17, by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson and National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald.
More than 235,000 Canadians are homeless at some point each year, the bishops state, with up to 35,000 homeless on any given night. Thousands more, they say, live in “precarious” housing that they struggle to afford or that is unsafe or inadequate for them. In Canada, a disproportionate number of Indigenous people are homeless.
Eliminating homelessness, the bishops say, will need collaboration between government, faith communities, the private sector and civil society—one they look to be ensured partly by a federal housing strategy expected to be released Wednesday.
The bishops encourage Canadian Anglicans and Lutherans to “lift up” National Housing Day, to advocate for improved housing for those in need of it “and to pray for the action necessary to address this need.” They commend a prayer that thanks the “Creator” for the gifts of “land and neighbours and all our relations,” and asks that the Creator “inspire our hearts and minds that we may discern where and how we can make a difference.”
The prayer then asks for “courage and wisdom to transform unjust structures of society and to work for reconciliation” and that the Creator “inspire our actions, that we may promote equitable and innovative approaches to the challenges that we share.” As well as the homeless and under-housed, the prayer singles out refugees for remembrance.
November 22 has been recognized as National Housing Day in Canada since 2000.