Features Winter 2024

Local church’s fight to keep the community safe

Meaghan Beavis April 11, 2024

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On the outskirts of Kensington Market, there sits a beautiful church, St.Stephen-in-the-Fields. This church and its congregation have dedicated the past 50 years to serving their community. This includes outreach, multiple weekly prayers and even letting people sleep in the churchyard. The churchyard has been a safe space for unhoused people for 50 years but it formed into a larger encampment in 2022. Since the start of the encampment, the city has tried to clear residents. It was not until November of 2023 that the city finally succeeded in threatening the security of people living at St. Stephen’s. I spoke with Reverend Maggie Helwig, along with volunteers of the church and encampment frequenters about the attempt to clear the encampment. Although the encampment is not fully clear, a lot of people lost their homes during the last attempted evacuation. During this podcast episode, I will detail the city’s most recent attempt to clear the encampment and how it has affected the church.

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