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Chiara House: An Exciting Announcement

Friday, August 27th, 2010

The following is the exciting new vision that we are beginning to pursue at Little Flowers Community.  We need people to join us in making this happen.  If you are interested, please drop me a line at


Chiara House will be an extension of the ministry of Little Flowers Community & YWAM Urban Ministries Winnipeg. The values of these ministries shape & define the values & practices of Chiara House. While some core members will be part of these communities, such involvement will not be required of all those participating in Chiara House.  It will not be a shelter, detox program, food bank, etc. Rather it is a group of people called to love God & their neighbours together in the context of shared life & community.

Chiara House residents will be represented in three general groups:

  • Long Term Members
    Long term members will be people with a commitment to specific Rule of Life and code of conduct, willing to commit to a specific time frame and function as servant-leaders in the community house.  These members can include, but are the restricted to, member of Little Flowers Community/YWAM.  All members will be employed outside of the house.
  • Transitional Members
    The house will also welcome short-term, goal-oriented transitional housing for locals facing specific challenges. These members will be drawn through relationship and/or referral from other ministries or social agencies. A clear & legal application process would be in place to screen applicants for appropriate fit in the program.
  • Internship Members
    A missional formation internship, with both short & long-term options, will also be made available, through the model of a missional-monastic order. These members will be primarily focused on young single adults, such as university students, who are seeking community and missional formation while studying, working, etc. in their own context.

(A clear Rule of Life will be articulated for long-term members, with an appropriate covenant commitment for interns, and a Code of Conduct for all residents.)

The nature of the building Chiara House ends up in inevitably shape the nature of the housing, but the following is a general overview of the ideal setting for such a community. Chiara House would ideally be set in a multi-storied (3+) building. Each floor would have controlled access.

On the main level would be a more open community space for shared programs, community gatherings, worship, training, etc. Ultimately it would be set up like a “community living room”, with access to public bathrooms, a kitchen and possibly a small hospitality room for short-term guests or emergency housing.

The second floor would be broken into group community units housing 4-6 people per unit. They would share access to the living room, dining room & bathrooms (expanded to accommodate larger numbers), but would have secured individual or roommates space for sleeping. These spaces would be designed for long-term members to share life with transitional housing members (ideally 50/50).

The third floor of the building would be designed similarly to second floor model, but would be dedicated to shared life with the missional formation members, with at least one long-term member as well. They would have relationship and shared activity with the transitional housing members, but due to the shorter-term nature of their involvement, would have to apply for living in that portion of the house.

Depending on the size of the building, every (or selected or one floor) could also have traditional apartment suites designed for families, allowing the security & space for family life, while allowing families to share life with the singles in Chiara House. The option of a family unit for transitional housing is also an option to consider.

Every member would contribute equally to the room & board of the community, though some members may be given a reduction for fulfilling certain duties (i.e caretaker, etc.). The long-term members, along with the Little Flowers Community/YWAM UMW leadership, will function as the servant-leadership team of Chiara House. However, whenever possible, all members will be encouraged to participate in shared responsibility & community leadership.

How Ugly Are The Feet Of Those: Real Lesson of Black Friday Deaths

Friday, December 5th, 2008

“Walmart Worker Killed In ‘Black Friday’ Shopper Stampede”

So read one headline about the senseless killing of a Wal-Mart employee by crazed consumers this past Friday.  Several others were injured as well.  Perhaps almost as sick as the wild greed that drove people to care so little for the man they killed (and witnesses have shown that they were aware of what was happening), was the anger of some customers when they learned the store had to be closed due to the death.  After all, they had stood in line all night to shop.  God have mercy…

I was baffled at how a person could get so consumed with the desire for “stuff” that they would literally walk over other people.  Sure, I can understand it in the face of starvation or imminent death.  But for a cheaper plasma screen TV or a $28 vacuum cleaner?  Who would devalue the lives of others so much to save a few bucks on more crap, even if it might by some stretch even be a need, not just a want?  Surely there is only a minority of people who could be that way.

As I considered this, something struck me.  It hit me like a load of brick that nearly sent me literally to my knees:  Most of us do, in fact, devalue the lives of others for our own selfish wants.  Granted, I think very few of us would trample a helpless person under our feet to buy a discounted digital camera- the immediate result of such selfishness is too much for us to live with.  However, what about when the effect of our choices are not so immediate?  Is it ultimately any less moral repugnant or tangibly violent when the very real consequence is distanced from us?

Looking at the “best deals” around, we often fail to ask where the savings came from.  After all, how many of these massive price cutting retailers offer discounts out of the goodness of their hearts?  After all, if profit margins on the products was that high, couldn’t all stores offer such discounts?  Of course not.  Rather, the savings comes through business practices that exploit others in order to cut costs.  Be in the tiny nations whose land was raped for the rough materials, the factory workers barely making a living wage in a place that pollutes their body and communities, the workers whose rights and interests are ignored and violated- through various means, our current system thrives on the exploitation of others.

And let’s be honest.  While a small minority of people buy things from these store out of real need to save money.  Most of us are not so much trying to survive as we are trying to sustain a level of comfort and privilege that requires us to cut corners in this way.  There are alternatives, but not ones without cost or without sacrifice.  The North American Dream has become the North American Illusion, a false reality that would convince us that we not only deserve everything, but that we need it.  And yet, as we are freed from these illusions, we begin to see that we our choices not only cost us our souls, but that they cost others their very lives.

So as we consider those men and women who trampled that man to death, let us not be too hasty to judge or dismiss them without first consider our own choices.  While this happened on Black Friday, our choices have far more reaching consequence and are made every day of the weeks.  As the Body of Christ present in a dying world, it is not enough for us to simply abstain from such choices, but rather we must be radical living alternatives.  In the words of St. Basil the Great (ht: Erika):

“The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in the wardrobe is the garment of the one who is naked; the shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.

(reposted from the personal blog of Jamie Arpin-Ricci)

Welcome to the Little Flowers Community blog

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Welcome to the blog of the Little Flowers Community, a missional community and partnership between Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Urban Ministries Winnipeg and Mennonite Church Manitoba.  Located in the West End of Winnipeg, we are called to live and serve alongside our neighbours in this wonderfully diverse, but troubled community.

We hope you will come back to the site regularly and/or sign up for the RSS feed (found below) to keep up to speed.  The site is still under construction, so let us know if you have any questions or find any errors.


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