The leadership of the Anglican Parish of St. Paul's, Vancouver have decided to discontinue its Advocacy program which has served thousands in the West End community for the past 25 years. This difficult decision was arrived at through consultation with experts in the field and with the full support of the Parish Council.
In early 2021, the Parish Leadership began to review and refocus the priorities of the parish and its programs to better respond to our changing context. Around the same time, our long-term Director of the Advocacy Office, Ellen Silvergieter, indicated that she planned to retire in 2022.
It made sense therefore, to conduct an external evaluation of the Advocacy Office to review the current operation; talk with previous and existing volunteers, staff, parishioners, and clients. In addition, the evaluation identified the current needs and opportunities in our locality. We were fortunate to have secured a grant towards this purpose. This provided a great opportunity to reflect on the past, present and future with a wide range of people and organizations.
Taking all this together, we decided to discontinue the Advocacy program. While this program is coming to an end, our commitment to investing in our local neighbourhoods to address needs will continue, just in different ways.
We are so grateful to the staff and the many who volunteered past and present – thousands of lives have been made better as a result. We want to celebrate these things while also wanting to mark the end of this era.
“It has been one of the great privileges of my life to serve the West End community and beyond through the Advocacy Office at St. Paul's Anglican Church. Although the Advocacy Office is closing, and I will retire from my employment in the spring of 2022, I am excited to see what the next chapter of service to the neighbourhood will look like at St. Paul's. My thanks to all for the support and commitment that I and the Advocacy Office have received over the past 25 years.”
- Ellen Silvergeiter, Director
“The decision to close the Advocacy Office was not arrived at easily. For a good portion of recent years, the parish devoted staff and volunteer resources to the evaluation of its current function, and to taking a hard look at what the Advocacy Office's future might look like."
- David Facey-Crowther, Warden and Trustee
“Following intense sessions of discussion and discernment, the clergy and lay leadership of the church reached the decision that the current Advocacy Office model is unsustainable. However, through new partnerships and the renewal and revitalization there comes new beginnings, St. Paul's commitment to compassionate service to the community continues and will remain a mission and ministry priority.”
- Drina Read, Warden and Trustee