John became the founding Executive Director of the CRC in 1964. His task was to establish a creative space that would be the presence of the United Church among people who were experiencing poverty in Toronto. He envisioned a ministry that would offer people resources to create change for themselves and in doing so connect with their community.
Under his leadership CRC incubated many innovative new projects that included affordable housing for those hardest to house, a community based legal information clinic, advocacy, a community centred social service support system, ex-offender reintegration, a downtown community newspaper, and community gardens – programs that would grow with the energy of the people empowered to help themselves.
John retired from CRC in 2003, but his legacy is still a part of CRC. The importance he saw in developing cooperation among people of different faiths, cultures, economic backgrounds, and political points of view is an integral part of the programming at CRC today. And his emphasis that “change must be part of the agenda, inclusiveness our strategy, and hope our mission” lives on in the social justice approach that permeates all of CRC’s housing and food security work.
John, because of your vision of an inclusive community in this place, your faith in the ability of people themselves to make significant changes in their lives, and your persistence in making your vision a reality, we now admit you to the office of Companion of CRC.