A justice response to poverty requires listening to the voices
of those with lived experience, addressing root causes by
changing social and economic structures, and advocating for
strong social policy.
Dignity for All
Workshop: Ending poverty in Canada by Darlene O’Leary
Identify the resources you will use
based on your group size and technol-
ogy available. Resources include:
• United Church of Canada resource,
“Acknowledging the Territory in
Worship” on united-church.ca (pdf).
• Kairos Canada, “Reconciliation in
• Living Justice: A Gospel Response
• Dignity for All Campaign resources
• United Church of Canada Edge
Poverty in Canada: 4 stories. Go to
the website and select “Buy Now.”
(It is free.) You will be e-mailed a
• CPJ’s Advocacy Toolkit at cpj.ca/
• NRSV Bible
• Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ)
and Dignity for All materials can
be ordered by contacting CPJ at
613-232-0275 (1-800-667-8046) or
• Pens, sticky notes, note paper, flip
chart paper, markers, and painter’s
• Laptop, projector and screen for
videos, prayers, discussion questions
Your room should allow for chairs
to be arranged in a semicircle, with
breakout areas for small group discus-
sion. Prepare ahead with prayers and
discussion questions written out on
slides or on flip chart paper.
OPENING ( 10 minutes)
Welcome all to the workshop. Begin
with an introduction that recognizes
the Indigenous territory and the
watershed where you are located. Use
the United Church resource “Acknowl-
edging the Territory in Worship.” For
how to identify the watershed, use the
Kairos website page “Reconciliation in
Invite everyone to introduce them-
selves and say why they are participat-
ing in the workshop. Some participants
might have experienced poverty, so it
is important to be sensitive about open-
ing up the space to hear these voices.
Creator, your call for us to love one
another sets a fire for justice in our
hearts. Guide us as we walk with
those carrying the burden of poverty,
so that together we join our voices in
calling for justice and the well-being
of all of creation. Amen.
STORIES AND REFLECTION
( 20 minutes)
Start the reflection by sharing a brief
video clip of a story of a person who
has experienced poverty from the
resource Poverty in Canada: 4 Stories,
a United Church of Canada webinar.
Alternatively, you can ask people to
reflect on the following scenarios:
• A racialized child living in a low-
income urban neighbourhood sells
his bus tickets to pay for food. His
single mother works two jobs and
cannot cover expenses.
• An Indigenous woman lives in
an overcrowded home with her
extended family and worries about
her children’s mental health.
• A senior cannot pay for prescription
medication to treat his health conditions. He worked for years at a job
with no pension.
• A recently sponsored Syrian refugee
family relies on food banks. Private
sponsor support and social assistance do not cover the cost of rent.
Then ask participants to think about
the following questions:
• What justice issues emerge in the
video or scenarios?
• How do these issues connect with
and require a faith response?
Provide everyone with a pen and
sticky notes, and invite participants
to write down key words, thoughts,
images, or feelings from their
Invite participants to partner with
their neighbour to share the reflections, and then open up the space for
sharing with the large group.
Invite participants to place the notes
on a piece of flip chart paper under
the heading “Stories of Poverty.”
SCRIPTURE ( 20 minutes)
Have someone read the Parable of the
Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25–37). This