Lent 4, 2021

Last week we went back and explored how we began our Reaching Out programs by organizing activities like Niagara Falls CultureFest with the city. The slideshow will begin automatically in about 12 seconds.

This week we focus on our Monthly Cooking Club with Newcomers to Canada. This program was able to begin because in organizing with the City the annual CultureFest, we met many different groups. One of them was Niagara Folk Arts Centre in St. Catharines. They were just beginning to expand their program of helping the newcomers to Canada settle in Niagara Falls with a new community outreach person. Norith was enthusiastic and eager to work. She and our church began to discuss ways to find to help the newcomers. We thought it would be great to have ways to bring Canadians and newcomers together once a month to cook together, eat together, teaching and learning each other respective cultures as well as ways to help the learn English.

On the first few months, the enthusiasm was great on newcomers part and less so on our part. Soon our enthusiasm was high, but newcomers were finding hard to find time in their busy schedule. We persevered. Eventually regular gatherings began seeing altogether around 25 to 35 people on these nights. Harold Mason always prided himself in cutting onions. I think he was trying his best to impress those young people. Jason turned out to be the best cleaner. He always wanted to tell everyone how he can eat all those hot and spicy food. We came to meet many. Learned to make tortilla from scratch. Most of learned that we were not at all good at making Vietnamese spring rolls. No matter how the food looked, one thing we knew for sure was that food was always tasty and good.

When we found out that Norith was going to have a baby, we threw her a very typical (that's what we claimed anyway) Canadian Baby Shower. Everyone stepped up and had marvelous time together. I think those men of our congregation enjoyed the most since they were hardly ever been invited to Baby Showers.

When the baby was about a year and half, Norith decided to return to Mexico to raise her son. She left and the Monthly Cooking Club began losing participants from newcomers groups. We decided to change the program altogether. We invited many to come to our Sunday Morning Breakfast Worship. Many Japanese and Korean young people came and shared breakfast every Sunday and stayed for worship and fellowship. They enjoyed practicing their English. We enjoyed having them. Eventually, we began inviting our Summer BBQ friends. The Sunday Morning Breakfast Worship had for few years as many as 15 to 25.

Another program we started after the participation of the newcomers began waning was our Friday Night Ping-Pong Club. We ran the program for about six months, but eventually closed with lack of interests.

Next week, we will go back and revisit our Peace on the Hill End of the Summer Concerts.