St. John’s has a history of taking a leading role in social justice actions in our community. So it played a big part in the formation of GVAT and joined with over thirty other organizations to support the concepts that the alliance stands for.
A Seed of a Vision
In 2014, some of our church members had a vision.
The seeds of GVAT were sown when some of our church members, especially the Faith in Action Group, saw the need to address the sources of what was troubling their neighbours. They were made aware of what the Metro Vancouver Alliance was achieving in that community at that time, and saw that it was effective.
The Vancouver and Victoria alliances are modelled on the historical successes and organizational structures of the Industrial Area Foundation (IAF). This institution started in Chicago in the hard-times of the 1940s, as an alliance of faith-based and civic organizations who were responding to the urgent needs of their neighbourhood communities - to address the social and economic inequities of those times.
Ideas into Action
- By 2018, over 300 people had attended GVAT’s ‘Building Power for the Common Good’ workshops! Since then a thousand conversations have inspired us.
- In 2018 - 19 we held the “Listening Campaigns” here at St. John’s when we explored the most important concerns of you our members and to find out what you had energy and passion to work on. Homelessness, mental health and climate change emerged as the most pressing concerns.
- In 2018, we held a Civic Academy on “A Community Organizing Response to the Opioid Crisis”. This was an opportunity for the growing number of GVAT members to come together to learn about this ongoing tragedy from the varied perspectives of our member organizations.
- In 2019 a five day regional institute was organized and was held in Vancouver.
- We held a GVAT Discernment Day to set the focus areas for 2019. The concerns we had heard throughout our listening season were brought forward. Each member organizations then voted on the two ‘problem areas’ we could focus our collective energy on. Affordable housing along with mental health and addictions were voted the two most pressing issues to be addressed and those viewed through the lenses of climate change and reconciliation.