Partner Definition

 

Full Partners participate as full members of the Board of Directors undertaking responsibilities for policy-making and management.

 

They commit to:

  • Make an initial financial contribution to indicate serious intent and to raise funds annually for the operations of Five Oaks
  • Recruit volunteers to serve on the Board and working groups related to program, site planning and maintenance, fund raising 
  • Participate in planning and leading interfaith/intercultural events
  • Work together to obtain grants for programs, research, site development
  • Take responsibility for their own programming

 

The advantages for full partners are:

  • Having a safe and sacred place that a community can call its own
  • Connecting faith and traditions to care of the earth on beautiful land, in lush forest beside running water
  • Being a founding member of one of the first interfaith/intercultural residential centres  in Canada
  • Contributing to a model of interfaith/ intercultural understanding and action  for society today
  • Participating in an opportunity to strengthen each other
  • Knowing that time is reserved for their own programs and events
  • Sharing in promotion of events through website and newsletter
  • Having a say in how the site is used and developed

Current Full Partners 

 

 Six Nations

 Rhonda Johns—Five Oaks Board member, attendee at Native Spirituality retreats and Program Coordinator of Nations Uniting on the Six Nations reserve—had a dream. In her work, she engaged with a lot of seniors, many of them residential school survivors, and with youth who don’t know who they are and where they belong. Observing this intergenerational dynamic, she realized that many on the reserve needed to experience healing. She asked herself what she could do. The answer that came was to create a healing centre in partnership with Six Nations and Five Oaks, so that those who feel lost can experience a place where they belong, where they can be close to the water and on the land with all that nature offers. She sees Five Oaks as a place where elders can teach their traditions to youth and help them discover their own spirituality. She wanted to offer this dream based on her listening to community people to find out what they want and what they would want a healing centre to provide. 

 

Rhonda consulted widely and received positive feedback from:

  • Lonny Bomberry, retired lawyer for the Six Nations Council
  • Phil Montour, Lands and Resources staff
  • Staff from Ontario Mental Health
  • Staff from child protection services and addiction programs for youth in the Ministry of Children and Youth Services
  • Ava Hill, Six Nations elected Chief

A presentation of the partnership proposal was made to the February 21st, 2017 Six Nations Council Meeting. At the March 21st meeting of Council, the following motion was passed: 

     Moved by Mark Hill and seconded by Sherri-lyn Pierce that the Six Nations Elected Council supports O Gwadeni: deo and Social Services in entering into      a partnership with Five Oaks for one year, in the amount of Fifty Thousand dollars ($50,000) and that O Gwadeni:deo and Social Services discuss plans          based on satisfactory arrangements. ALL IN FAVOUR. CARRIED.

 

Rhonda Johns continues to serve as a member of the Five Oaks Board of Directors. She is now joined by newly elected Renee Thomas-Hill.  We look forward to hosting programs and to sharing in programs. At the moment, there is discussion about an event for residential school  and Holocaust survivors.

 

Partners

 

General Council Permanent Committee

 Program for Mission and Ministry in February 2017, the Permanent Committee of General Council granted Five Oaks, Tatamagouche, and Naramata Centres the sum of $50,000 each for this year only. Five Oaks has already received these funds with gratitude. Although this committee will not participate in the operations of the Centre in the same way as the partners mentioned above, this General Council Committee is providing core funding for which the Centre will be accountable. 

 

Future sources of funding exist under the umbrella of The United Church of Canada Foundation. ] Five Oaks has been assured the Centre will be eligible for grants or capital assistance loans as long as criteria are met. 

 

General Council staff has often given leadership in programs at Five Oaks. It is hoped that relationship will continue.

 

 

 Muslim Community

The news that Five Oaks might close reached Kofi Hope, Executive Director for Careers Education Empowerment for Young Black Professionals. As a United Church youth, he attended events at Five Oaks. He later led events at the Centre. Shocked at this news, he contacted friends to explore ways to “save” Five Oaks, including former Director Mardi Tindale and Ausma Malik, who had led a national youth leadership training event at Five Oaks with Kofi.  

 

Ausma and her brother Abdul-Rehman felt a call to help Five Oaks continue to do its important work. Their view was:

     we all are less if Five Oaks were gone;
     we all benefit when we strengthen each other’s community of faith and act for peace and justice and care of the earth together.

 

Abdul-Rehman and Ausma committed to work with the Muslim philanthropic community to raise funds to show their commitment to being partners with Five Oaks Centre. They expressed the conviction that in these times, there needs to be a place like Five Oaks where Muslim groups can feel safe; where they belong; where they are accepted. They strongly support the concept of an interfaith/intercultural centre where people of faith or no faith can explore the depths of each other’s faith and traditions to find the wisdom to meet the challenges of life today. In the process, such dialogue will enrich each tradition. The fact that Five Oaks is on the sacred ground of the Six Nations people and that Six Nations will also be a partner in the life of the Centre is very appealing. 

 

Their plan now is to find the funds to ensure the partnership and then approach a variety of Muslim organizations to build involvement and make use of Five Oaks Centre.

 

Ausma Malik (Toronto activist, politician, and Atkinson Foundation board member) and Imam Abu Noman Tarek of Brantford are newly elected members of the Five Oaks Board of Directors. Imam Tarek has many plans for helping the Muslim community become involved in the life and work of Five Oaks. 

In July, Five Oaks, Islington United Church, and the Toronto Arab Cultural Community sponsored a full and meaningful Christian/Muslim camp for youth.  Plans for other events are under way.

 

To read  letters of support click here

 

London Branch of the Muslim Association of Canada

 

Marion Pardy, former Moderator of The United Church of Canada, attended and facilitated many workshops at Five Oaks when she was national staff. When she visited Five Oaks during her term as Moderator, she asked for multi-faith participation. The imam of Brantford, at that time, was an enthusiastic participant. Recently, when she heard of the direction in which Five Oaks was moving, she suggested contacting Mahmoud Haddera, former imam of the Mosque in St. John’s and a Professor of Engineering at Memorial University, who now resides in London, Ontario. He is still involved in interfaith work and willingly contacted Belal Tassi (also an engineer) of the London branch of the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC). They, along with Imam Abu Noman Tarek of Brantford, visited Five Oaks and committed to pursuing partnership. Some of their youth groups had already used Five Oaks for their own events. 

 

This London based Muslim community is enthusiastic about pursuing a partnership with Five Oaks and has appointed Omar Hassam to function as negotiator. He has visited the site and is most supportive of what we are trying to accomplish. He respects our willingness to put our faith into practice. He is confident that he can raise funds for this partnership.

 

YMCA 

Exploration is underway with the YMCA to partner with them as they serve the community west of Brantford towards Woodstock. They saw the potential for holding day camps, some overnight and family camps and week-day outdoor education programs in a partnership with Five Oaks.

 

 

 

 



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