Northend Stella Community Ministry is no longer offering services in the Northend although the work of reconciliation in its mission continues at 1JustCity's three drop-ins.
NESCM's history stretches back 125 years. It began as a Methodist Church mission in the 1890s, followed 20 years later by the Presbyterians. When these two denominations merged in 1925 to form the United Church, the resulting amalgamated mission was a substantial part of the community.
Beginning in the 1980s, the Church began a process of repenting its colonialism and the nature of the ministry shifted from assimilation toward support for strong Indigenous cultures.
The efforts of the ministry have attempted to address the poor social and economic conditions prevalent in the North End. Activities have been on both sides of the divide between charity and justice, but always there has been a goal of social equality.
Often church histories focus on the buildings. Northend Stella has had quite a number of different facilities and names - Sutherland Mission, Robertson House, All Peoples’ Mission, McLean Mission, to name a few. More important, however, is the programming and its results, along with the people. J. S. Woodsworth is perhaps the best known member of the Northend Stella staff, but other ministers-turned-politicians like Bill Blaikie and Doug Martindale were also mission staff. Notable too are the number of remarkable women who provided leadership, many of them Deaconesses/Diaconal Ministers: Zaidee Stoddard, Minnie Houston, Ida Pitt and Verna McKay are just a few of those. The names of the thousands of volunteers and program participants couldn't all be shared but we thank them all!
Today, Northend Stella has a much smaller footprint than in the decades before. The programming of the past, things like children’s camps, job skill training, women’s drop in and daycare are now available through many public and private agencies in the community, some literally birthed out of Northend Stella over the years. in 2016 after consultation with the Northend Community's Leadership, the mission shifted to bringing cultural programming to other areas of the city.
The focus is now on reconciliation & healing programming access for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people within the other outreach ministries of 1JustCity. Indigenous Cultural Programming is the way we can achieve this.
The work and dedication to our family in Winnipeg's North End continues through 1JustCity partnerships with Aboriginal Youth Opportunities, Meet me at the Bell Tower and more.
The Blanket Exercise
The Blanket Exercise is a teaching tool developed by KAIROS to create understanding about the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. It helps participants see how colonization of the land has impacted the people before settlers arrived and now. It helps us understand how we can work toward reconciliation.
In the exercise, blankets are spread out over the floor to represent Turtle Island before any Europeans arrived. Participants take on the role of the First Peoples and readings take us through the history of relations between the First Peoples and the people that settled here from other countries. De-briefing and conversation follow.
KAIROS Ecumenical Justice Initiatives now has a blanket exercise coordinator for Manitoba. If you would like more information or to book your exercise, please visit their website: https://www.kairosblanketexercise.org/become-a-host/ or contact Rachel Charette at firstname.lastname@example.org.