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Outreach - Portage Ontario

Portage Ontario is a drug-and alcohol-free therapeutic facility on the outskirts of Elora. It is a 54-bed residential facility for young people ages 15 - 18, funded by Corrections, Community and Social Services, Family and Children's Services, and teaching staff assigned by the Upper Grand District School Board.

St. John's became involved with Portage, at the latter's request, in the fall of 1992. A group of volunteers began on-site Bible study group. This expanded to bring residents to the 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. services when one of the retired clergy became involved. He had time to be at Portage on a daily basis and subsequently has become Portage's Spiritual Advisor. A number of additional initiatives followed. Volunteers are the core group in this outreach initiative.

Current Initiatives with Portage

As there is continual resident turnover, programs are continuous:

  • Monday night prayer and Bible study groups (male and females are in separate study streams, so there are two study groups)
  • Preparation for Holy Baptism is a component of the study groups
  • Server/acolyte training - an intensive training program which prepares residents to be acolytes/servers/crucifers/thurifers/readers who serve at Sunday and some mid-week services
  • Sunday church services - volunteers, with clearance, drive residents to and from church and assist Portage staff with supervision; two-thirds to three-quarters of the residents attend Church every Sunday
  • Service of prayer and intercession for healing - this service has become very important for many residents; volunteers are essential as drivers, leaders of the service, partners to pray with, and a 'community of prayer' holding all together

Spiritual Advisor

The Spiritual Advisor is a member of Portage staff and is available to staff and residents for spiritual council at any time on a daily basis. The Spiritual Advisor is available to all, no matter what faith (or no faith), and is there not to proselytise, but rather, to encourage all in their spiritual journey. S/he must be a strong advocate of the Portage therapeutic program. The current Advisor has residents to his home every Friday evening as one way to give residents "time out", opportunities to chat, watch TV, and, of course, to eat.

To learn more about Portage, please visit  portage.ca and click EN in the upper right corner.

St. John's-Kilmarnock School

The plan to establish a private school for boys sprang from the choral tradition at St. John's Church, Elora. Since the mid 1960s, there had been a flourishing parish choir with a soprano section made up of trebles (boy choristers).

The choir provided a valuable discipline and sense of responsibility for young singers. Under the direction of Shirley C. MacRae, a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, the choir performed such dramatic works as "Amahl and the Night Visitors", annual Christmas pageants, as well as the round of Sunday Services. A Thursday Church School (after school) attracted youngsters from the local community, and proved very popular. This encouraged thoughts of permanent day school with high standards and choral traditions.

These experiences culminated in a meeting at the Church on November 21, 1971, of interested educators, parents and parishioners. The Bishop of Niagara gave his enthusiastic consent. In January 1972, the Vestry of St. John's passed a motion urging the establishment of the school. Vestry made the church available as a chapel, and permitted the use of its buildings and hall. The Parish played an integral role in the school from its inception.

St. John's-Kilmarnock now has an enrollment of 450-500 students. Graduates, parents and faculty, as well as past and present Headmasters, dot the congregation to this day.

The bylaws of the school make the Rector of Elora a permanent member of the Board of Governors. The Rector Emeritus is the School Chaplain, and teaches some Religious Knowledge courses and holds weekly Chapel Services.

To learn more about St. John's-Kilmarnock, please visit  sjkschool.org.

Elora Festival and Elora Festival Singers

The Elora Festival is a four-week music festival held in July of each summer, focusing on Choral and Classical music. Founded in 1979, the Festival's Artistic Director is Noel Edison, Organist and Choirmaster for St. John's. Many of the Elora Festival Singers are also members of the Parish Choir. Evensong and Choral Mattins/Choral Eucharist are sung by the Singers during the Festival. Additionally, the Rector of St. John's and members of the Elora Festival and Singers' Board of Directors host tea in the garden beside the Church between the 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. concerts on Sundays. In the fall, the Singers begin their season, with concerts held in Elora, Guelph and Toronto.

To learn more about the Elora Festival and the Elora Festival Singers, please visit elorafestival.com.

Links

Anglicans Online
  anglicansonline.org

The Diocese of Niagara
niagara.anglican.ca

Primate's World Relief and Development Fund
  pwrdf.org