Coming As I Am.

We strongly believe at The Dale that we are all invited to participate in this community, and that we can come as we are. Full stop. It even says so on our website! That’s how you know it’s legit 😉

This can be such a beautiful thing to witness. We often see miracles right before our eyes… people in a verbal battle stopping to ask for forgiveness, people growing and changing and softening over time, and people coming out of their shells – just to name a few. However, inviting people to come as they are can also be really scary.

On Sunday a friend was coming to church who we did not have the best interaction with on Thursday afternoon which is the end of our work week. It would be the first time we saw him again since and I was super nervous. We had left him angry and in a bad space, as we try and walk together through some stressful stuff. I was worried he would come to church angry, frustrated, and not ready to accept that we really do care for him. I tried to remind myself that this is one of those moments that is us – The Dale. This is what we talk, think, pray, and dream about. This invitation to come as we are means to come happy or pissed off, grieving or thriving, joyful or filled with pain. As long as the space remains safe for all, we truly believe in accepting people as all that they are. So whether our friend came to church angry still, his invitation was still there to participate and come in. This can feel really vulnerable, anxious-making, and uncomfortable.

One thing I have had to accept during my time here is that this invitation is open to me as well. I am by no means perfect, or have all my stuff together. As much as I have tried to keep my pain inside and push out my joy instead, there are just some seasons where I do not have the capacity to do that, nor should I. As a member of this community, I am invited to come as I am. This can mean with joy, laughter, and jokes. Or it can mean with tears, sorrow, and longing for peace. This can be uncomfortable too, for me! But I have learned that keeping pain in and not sharing with my team and not being honest and not being transparent can be worse for them, for me, and for others that I might lash out at. This is a lesson I am learning very slowly, but surely I hope.

To our great relief, our friend did come to church on Sunday and he was able to apologize for the way he treated us on Thursday. This is a huge step for this person, and we were so grateful and glad. This could have not been the case – he could have come in still mad and grouchy. And we would have loved him the same, even in that tension of trying to be open and being uncomfortable.

I feel like I write this every blog but it’s still the truth so I’ll say it over and over – I am so grateful to be part of this community where the invitation to come as I am is always there, to lean into uncomfortable situations and grow from it, and to be witness to people (me included) growing, trusting, and leaning into the safety that comes with being exactly who we are.

I am a Community Worker at The Dale Ministries, a church and organization in Parkdale where we journey together by way of church service, outreach, meal programming, and being pals. To do this work, I must fundraise for my entire salary. If you would like to support me financially, please visit!

Offerings Spread Far with Love.

On Sunday we received a donation of food, some of which included two bags of mixed produce. The person who gave this food feels very strongly about giving a tithe, and therefore gives what he has which is extra groceries from the food bank. This time we received two mixed bags of produce.

From the outside, the bags of produce didn’t look appealing. They were small items all mixed together and needing to be eaten soon lest they expire. We put them in the fridge to think about another day.

Monday rolled around and we realized we needed a vegetarian option for our meal to go (we rely on Second Harvest for the majority of our food, and this week we did not receive any veggie options). Joanna suggested we make a potato salad from the produce… she’s great at looking at vegetables and knowing how beautiful they can be 🙂 So ahead we went!

With some extra ingredients from the store, purchased from money generously donated to us, we were able to make two kinds of beautiful, fresh, nutritious salads for vegetarian folks. As I was chopping and dicing, boiling and mixing, I was touched by the gift of this food and the blessing it was to us.

We talk a lot about offering and tithing at The Dale, and how it does not always have to be merely financial. We receive gifts of art, song, prayer, coupons, and food – just to name a few. This offering of groceries turned into a meal made with love, and was given out while fostering community and connection at our Monday lunch. One persons generous offering went so far and was filled up more and more with love along the way. Now that is a cool and beautiful gift! I am certain that God was glad.

Thank you, kind person, for your offering of groceries. And to all of YOU for the way you give to The Dale. Your offerings are spread far with love. I hope you know it.

Prayers and Weeping.

I have never witnessed tears as free flowing and unapologetic in my life then at my time at The Dale. This community has taught me that tears from happiness or sadness are nothing to be ashamed of, and that vulnerability is such a gift that can be shared with those you love, rather than something to apologize for. During our church services on Sunday, we have a time of community prayer. This is a time where we can say things that we are grateful for or share prayer requests, and then have a few people lift them up in prayer. There is also no pressure to do so, and we acknowledge that God hears our quiet prayers and reflections as well. I have been given the opportunity to be present to such honest, loving, hard, laugh provoking, sad, angry, joyful prayers during my time here. These ten minutes have become so precious.

In the past couple of months especially, there have been multiple instances where a community member cries during prayer time. They have wept over such things as struggles with the immobility of their body, over children who have become estranged, and transitions that are difficult. These are such raw, personal, tender hearted, and vulnerable things to share with anyone – sometimes even those you love. They have cried openly and asked for prayer that they need, not apologizing for their sorrows. And the reaction from others in the community has been filled with love. As one community member prayed, “We are a group that laughs together and cries together.” We trust that the Lord hears our prayers and holds our tears and knows what it is like to weep, as Erinn preached this Sunday.

I continue to feel grateful. When I first started working at The Dale, it was hard for me to be open with my team and with my community. But through lots of practice, teaching, witnessing, and trust I have learned that there are people who actually want to know how you are when they ask you. That there are people that are open to your vulnerabilities and will hold them with you, as they know you will hold theirs. That this is a community that gives and receives a lot of things, but especially prayer for and with each other. And I have learned that sadness is okay, and that it can be held in one hand with joy in the other.

I hope that you know that your prayerful tears and laughter are welcome here. And I hope you have people close to you like I do who you can give and receive vulnerability with. It is such a beautiful gift, and I am grateful for this community and the way that they give it so freely.

Peace to you.

I am a Community Worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale. In order to do this work, I must fundraise for my entire salary! If you have the means to be a financial supporter, please visit Thank you!

Not Just Filling A Glass.

Last Tuesday was what is known as Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Tuesday. It is the day before Lent starts, during which time people typically feast on pancakes in order to use up flour, butter, eggs, etc before fasting for Lent in the lead up to Easter. These days, people choose to fast on many other things besides just food (such as spending, social media, or swearing!). However, gathering to feast on pancakes is still a tradition many people choose to participate in.

The past couple of years at The Dale we have typically done our Pancake Tuesday feast outside in a to-go kind of way in order to be safe during Covid. With the help of a church partner turned dear friends from Christ Church St. James we would make hundreds of pancakes and sausages, put little butters and syrup together, and package all the food for our outside feast. The last time we gathered in person for Pancake Tuesday was February 2020.

However, this year Christ Church St James was having their Pancake Tuesday feast indoors again and invited us to join them! We were beyond excited to finally be gathering in person again for this feast and to eat together. We told and invited members of The Dale community, particularly our core Sunday group, and purchased Presto tickets so that people could make the short journey from Parkdale to the church.

Once there, we were free to choose seats. A few small groups of us spread out and sat together and we were welcomed, prayed over, and served. There was plenty of food to go around. Dale community members from years past and present came and sat together with members of the Christ Church community and we were able to mingle, eat, laugh, and chat together.

At one point, I was filling the water glass of a community member who had come late because he was working. He sat next to us and was immediately served a meal. A friend got up to get him a coffee. We made sure he had cutlery. And I poured him a glass of water. Suddenly I found myself full of tears. I did not know just how much I had missed this simple, yet important act of eating with my friends and serving each other. This may seem so small and simple… it’s just water after all. Aren’t we supposed to avoid crying over beverages?? However, I was not just filling a glass. Even a small offering such as this helps build community, and it is something I and we hope that we can get back to really soon at The Dale. It feels like this was just the beginning.

Peace to you this week. I pray that you are filled up by even the simplest acts of giving and receiving.

I am a Community Worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale. In order to do this work, I must fundraise for my entire salary. I invite you to contribute if you are able by visiting!

Sun Bathing Our Eyes

There is a lady who comes for lunch on Monday and breakfast on Thursday most weeks. She is quiet-spoken, even tempered, and sweet. Probably in her mid fifties, she rides around the neighbourhood in her bright blue bike and usually comes to say hello and receive a meal just as we are finishing for the day. One thing I like about her is that she is never disappointed if we run out of meals, and still is so happy to have come by. She loves when we make vegetarian salads homemade to give out, and she is into holistic health regimens that she enjoys sharing with us.

One of those regimens is a practice for the eyes to help your vision. On a sunny day, you turn your face to the sun and close your eyes. If you have glasses you should remove them to get those most out of it. Then with your eyes closed, you move your eyeballs all around from left to right and up and down for a few minutes. I have taken to doing this activity everyday that the sun is shining, especially in the winter when the weather is more often dull and grey. Anytime the sun comes out, my face is towards it and my eyes are closed. I don’t know if this practice would actually help someone like me whose vision is very horrible. But nonetheless, I like to give it a go. It’s also a great way to get vitamin D.

Today our friend came by, and it was a good day – we had one more meal and it was an egg salad sandwich handmade by me and Olivia and some chips. She was soooo pleased, and was grateful. I think we were more excited to see her, as Joanna had literally just said she hopes our friend comes by so we can sunbathe our eyes together and she can get an egg salad sandwich. The Lord heard our prayer and blessed us with our friend.

We stood in a line, me, Olivia, Joanna, and our friend, with our faces to the sun and our eyes closed. She was grateful to be sunbathing her eyes with us, so that if people looked at us funny, we would at least be together. We were also dancing to Beyonce that was playing in the background on Olivia’s phone at the request of a community member who had seen her on the Grammys. Sometimes you just need some pals to be yourself around, do odd things like sunbathe your eyes and dance to Beyonce on a Monday afternoon.

I am grateful for our friend and her friendly, quiet spirit. Most of all I am grateful for this community and another example of why giving and receiving is so powerful. Yes we made egg salad sandwiches and gave out food. But our friend cares enough for us to tell us to sunbathe our eyes to help with our vision and get vitamin D, and trusts us enough to stand on the sidewalk looking weird as we bathe our eyes and faces in the sun. I think it’s beautiful.

I hope you find yourself looking towards the sun today.

With peace.

You Aren’t Dollarama.

We were sitting in the sanctuary yesterday about to start our Sunday service. It was 1:55, and most everything had been set up (or so I thought). Had opened the doors, gotten the song books out, put communion on the table, and gotten distracted by lighting the advent candles for the first time ever. I was so pleased to have a special job, that I forgot to set up a couple of things, including our singing bowl and offering basket. This was not a big deal in the slightest. We all participate in our Sunday service, as a staff and community. A community member had noticed the offering basket was missing and found it herself to place at the front. This kind of participation is encouraged, if not celebrated. I am not the sole setter-upper for one day, none of us are.

In a joking way I said out loud, “Oh man! I forgot the offering basket. Who even let me in here? Sheesh!” A friend and fellow community member was sitting in front of me. She tends to take things literally, not necessarily noticing sarcasm. “Well Mama Meagan…” she said (this is her affectionate nickname for me). “You aren’t Dollarama. You were made to make mistakes.”

I was very confused. I looked at Erinn for guidance and she also was confused. “Say that again?”

“You aren’t Dollarama. You were made to make mistakes.”

She went on to explain that at Dollarama there are no exchanges and no refunds. If you buy the wrong thing in a mistake, then you’re stuck with it. She much prefers our local small discount shop called Budget, where you can’t return for a refund, but can at least make an exchange.

I was amazed at my friend. She often makes up little expressions like this, or actions to songs we sing during church like her own sign language, and funny little puns. Her wisdom and grace was a gift to me in that moment in the form of an expression that was a riddle to me. Of course now it makes perfect sense.

I am thankful for grace which allows me to make mistakes, that I have encouragement upon forgetting, and that I am joined by a community of other people that are happy to participate in our service. I am thankful for my friend and her sayings that mean so much. I know Christmas can be an overwhelming season where fatigue is high and patience is low. I hope you remember this week that it is okay to make mistakes. We are not perfect. We get the chance to repair.

You are not Dollarama!

I am a Community Worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale. In order to do this work, I must fundraise my entire salary! It is only possible through generous financial gifts from people like you that I can spend time with this community that I love. I invite you to consider giving, by visiting and indicating that your gift it for me. Thank you!

The Sounds of a Monday.

My phone dinged at 8:58. “Getting in the car! Be there soon!” The sound of a message coming through from my friend and co-worker, Olivia. She was on her way to pick me up so we could head to work together. As we drove, sounds of chatter filled the air of the car. We had not seen each other in a few days, so there was catching up to do.

We entered the office, our feet echoing off the floor and walls of the empty building so early in the morning. Settling into the office as a staff, we started check in – this is how we begin each week. There was laughter, hmmm and ahhhs as we heard about each others week. The week had been heavy for each of us in our own ways. The vibrations of our phones could be heard against the desks… community members calling to check in or tell us something. This is not unusual for a Monday morning. We move to put them all on silent, as we pause to pray before the day gets going. Silence then and deep breaths. We take a few seconds before we pray in succession. Sniffles, tears, laughter, and amen. We begin the day.

The sounds become louder then. We enter the kitchen where we prepare our meals to hand out for lunch. The oven fan is always the loudest, as the fan pushing hot air work hard to heat our food. Theres grinding of beans being broken down for coffee. Plastic bags being opened, their rustling filling the room. This all takes time, each of us doing our own jobs. Closer to 11, I can hear washing and chopping. Joanna and Olivia are preparing a pasta salad for the vegetarian folks in line. We talk as we go, more checking in and laughter. We use this time to talk about a TV show we want the other to watch, music we’ve heard that we are recommending, a funny thing that happened in our family lives, or how community members are doing. It feels familiar, like family, these sounds I hear. They are similar each week and I have come to find comfort in that.

We serve lunch to-go outside at 1pm under the archway outside the church on Cowan Ave. Even though we have moved outside where the sounds are louder, there is familiarity here too. Cars slowly drive by, watching us on their way and wondering what the line is for surely. A mystery man who works at a bakery honks at us as he parks in front of the church – a signal that we can open his back door and get a bag of leftover bread he donates to us. There are hello’s too as we greet people in line while we bring the food out. “Here, give me that table,” Steven offers to me, even though his aged hands are shaking. I accept his help even though I can carry the table because it is important to allow people to show their love by giving their time and effort. “Mama Meagan!” shouts Sue. She always has something to tell us. We hustle to get ready, making sure people aren’t waiting much longer in the mid-November chill of the day. Feet shuffle, the creaking cart squeals under the weight of the food, and our breathe becomes heavier with this physical work. It is nice to chat with people in line and see how their weeks went. People are often the same as they always are, leaving us with the same expressions. Our friend Bill does the sign of the cross up to the Heavens towards the church and leaves with the expression, “Thank you! Bless you. Every day’s a holiday.” Hearing his optimism helps me with mine.

Sometimes the sounds of the day become muffled week after week. We are busy, especially in this end of year season, and it is easy for the sounds to become muted or ignored as we rush around. But it was a joy this day to pay attention and listen, not just hear. I love these sounds that have becomes signals of family, safety, and love. I appreciate our routine. I find peace in the chatter. I like the familiar. I am grateful for this community and all the noise it holds. It is love to me.

I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale, and I love using this blog to share our weeks and my work with you. My entire salary has to be fundraised in order to continue to work here. If you would like to participate by supporting me financially, please visit and indicate that your gift is for me. Thank you for being part of this journey.

A Little Hello from Above.

One beautiful thing about working in Parkdale is the sense of tight community. I think Parkdale feels like this in general, and working at the dale has made it even more true for me. Participating in community meals, walking outside for outreach, connecting with so many different people – we start to see and know each other. As a staff, we love walking to the store, walking to get our van, walking to the coffee shop or library… because we see a good handful of people each time and those little connections where there’s no “stuff” given or received or no expectations are the best kinds of little hellos.

On Tuesday, Joanna and I walked through the Parkette to get our van from its parking garage. We were chatting away and in my mind I was thinking of a friend, Samantha. She lives in the building we were passing by, along with a large handful of other community members. It’s hard for her with her aches and pains to get out sometimes, so we don’t see her as much as we used to. I was missing her, and wondering how she was.

Suddenly, I heard a loud yell from above. “Hi, Meagannnnnn!” I looked up to the apartment towering above us and saw Samantha from her 8th floor balcony. She was waving and smiling. “I was JUST thinking about you!” I yelled in return, blowing a kiss up to her. “I love you!” I yelled, not caring how loud I was or who was watching. We had to get going so the exchange was quick, happening all in the span of 5 seconds. “I love you too!” She yelled, blowing me an air kiss back.

And that was it. A little hello. A showing of love. Comfortability. An answer to my prayer that Samantha was okay. Connection. Community. Knowing. Familiar. Family.

I love my work at the Dale. I love relationship building, praying for each other, walking around and knowing people. Each person in their own spot, sitting or panning, each with their own personality. We can walk by and wave, chat, cry, pray, smile, sing, dance, pet dogs and cats, worry, be assured, and so much more. I love the familiar.

I hope you have a pleasant little hello today… they’re the best.


My job with The Dale requires that I fundraise my entire salary! If you would like to support me in my work, visit and indicate that your gift is for me. Thank you for your prayers for my work, community, and family. Your support of these ministries is a blessing.

Finding Common Ground.

Often, as children especially, we make friends though doing the same things. Whether that be school, sports, church, or musical groups – the common ground is in place before you meet, so you have something to talk about as the friendship grows. Through my time here at The Dale, I have come to learn that building friendships with a community that is so diverse takes time and patience. Sometimes, it is harder to find a common ground. You may have come from different neighbourhoods, different backgrounds or family lives, different experiences of home, church, race, gender, age etc. In that case, what do you talk about?

Not knowing what to say can be scary. I know this to be true from my own experience. I have also learned that silence can be golden. Holding space to be present with each other is important, without always having to fill the air with words. Sharing a meal can help bring that common ground, which is why I do miss eating around a table together at The Dale (hopefully one day soon we can share this experience again!). But time and patience is key. Sometimes, it starts with small talk. The weather… sports… Parkdale life. Then asking questions. Trust is built. I offer information about myself. They do the same. Sometimes I offer my name and no name is offered in return. One step back. Soon, they tell me their name. I think when I first entered into this kind of work, I was very intimidated and shy. I thought, “What do I talk to These People about?” These People. That’s the wall right there.

I am these people. You are these people. Common theme? People. WE are people. There is no us and them. So even though talking to a community that has experienced houselessness and poverty and addiction can seem intimidating at first as I thought, there is still common ground. You may be addicted too, to your phone, food, or money. You might have experienced trauma, loss, grief, sadness. You may have lost something important to you such as an apartment or job. We all have things in life that we go through, just differently. Once I learned this, I realized we have a lot more in common than I thought. And this is a beautiful thing, because it allows for the giving and receiving that we talk about at The Dale. I have been prayed for, cared for, asked how I am doing and loved on more than I can count.

There is a community member here at The Dale who I don’t know too well. I know his name, and we say hi to each other in the line or on outreach. We talk about the weather. But recently I started cycling to and from work – a habit that keeps my mind and body happy. And this guy? He cycles too. Everywhere! So now we talk about bikes and riding and bike lanes and gear. He offers me tips and advice. I am grateful because as a beginner, I need all the help I can get!

Finding common ground is not as hard as I thought it was. Sometimes, with some people, it just may take a little longer. A little time, a little trust. With some people, as I have experienced, it is fast and easy. This is community. It is not always as you would expect. Sometimes, it’s hard. Sometimes, it’s not. Just like lots of other friendships we make in life, where the common ground is there before we are. I am thankful that God maybe feels like this with us too – sometimes we come to Him easily, sometimes not. But He is there always, waiting for the common ground. I think that is Love.


I am a Community Worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale, Toronto. In order to do this work that I love to tell you about, I need to fundraise for my entire salary. That means asking people like you to partner with my financially and support my work here. If you are able to give, please consider visiting and indicating online that your donation is for me!

Peace Filled Eyes.

A couple of weeks ago, Ian and I went on vacation to British Columbia. We went back to Salt Spring Island, a little island off of Victoria, where we honeymooned nearly five years ago. Charlotte stayed back here with my mom and had some quality grandma time… for that we are so thankful. It was peaceful to wake up every morning, look at the ocean, watch the sunrise and take in the beauty of the mountains. I found myself taking lots of pictures… of the sky, the mountains, the flowers and trees, the ocean – everything. We went on hikes, drove around the island, ate great food, and took time to slow down and breathe. I found myself feeling more at peace, relaxed, and able to be present in the moment. It felt like time stopped when I sat on the deck to watch the sun rise.

View from the deck!

One morning while we were there watching the sun rise, I prayed and asked God to help me to keep this feeling upon returning home. This feeling of peace and security, of being present and not just looking but really seeing what was in front of me. I have thought about that prayer a lot, and I know that God has been testing me.

I love living in the city, but there are many distractions. Advertisements for this and that, the internet, work, parenthood, social media. Some of these things are so beautiful – like parenthood. And some of these things can be so bombarding – like social media. I have already succumbed to being distracted, spending too much time on my phone, being busy, and looking but not seeing. I try and capture the beauty of things… Charlotte’s smile, a flower, the sun. But I have a hard time slowing down, and being in the moment. I look and think, “How nice…” and then the next thing to do pops into my mind.

I know this is a part of life, and maybe until I am retired I won’t have the pleasure of sitting and looking at the sky and mountains for hours. But maybe that’s not what I was hoping for when I prayed that prayer back on the island. Maybe I wasn’t hoping for a life without distraction and worry… I think that is impossible. I think I was hoping for an inner feeling of peace and presence that comes from God. I know when I look at the mountains and sky that God created those things and maybe some of that is what brings me a feeling of peace. But I want to feel that when I am in traffic, when I’m looking at a grey sky, when I eat a delicious bite of food, when I hug Charlotte and sing to her, when I am at work… In all things.

This can take a lot of practice. I can’t just switch on “peace” and feel great about everything. But I can practice, ask God for help, and choose to look at things with peace filled eyes. I know practice makes progress. I have trusted this progress through my work at The Dale. Five years ago, it was all new. I had a hard time being in the moment, not worrying about the future, and seeing the beauty of it all. Now with time, patience, experience, and help, I can see that there is beauty here and love and joy and hardship and pain and that it all goes together – hand in hand.

I pray today that through practice I can see the beauty in life’s everyday, simple mundane moments. And I pray that for you too. May you see things today with peace filled eyes. We all need a little practice!

I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale, Toronto. In order to do this work, I must fundraise my entire salary. If you enjoy these blogs and hearing about life here at The Dale, my pondering, and what I am learning I hope that you would consider becoming a financial supporter so that I can continue to do this work. Please visit ! Thank you!