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Life under the W

kateHow has Vancouver changed? What used to be a department store is now an apartment building filled with children. What used to be a corridor of shopping is now a notorious open air drug market. What used to be a city with thousands affordable houses is now a city filled with houses that one must make a total of 3 times more than the average yearly salary to afford.

So children live in places where they would not normally live.

Affordable housing was created for families so that they could live in the inner city of Vancouver: an old department store was converted, and a playground was added to the centre. But since this new community was built without an elementary school, we travel from under the big red W through the lower East Hastings corridor to the elementary school every school day.

Despite the tourists hesitating on the corners, their maps rustling in the breeze of passing cars as they wonder which way not to turn, there is a whole network of love on the bus ride to school. Sometimes I get shout-outs:

“It takes a real woman to be a mother.”

So somehow, there is joy. But there is also trauma here. We see it on the streets every day. And since our route to school is also one of the most traversed traffic arteries, so does the rest of Vancouver.

But just as is in so many cultures, this city seems stumped in the face of the ongoing trauma and the poverty that it can cause. Regardless of our best efforts, homelessness has endured for years. In Vancouver, we are starting to understand that the battle against trauma must be fought with love. So new housing is being built. But something is happening on the streets of East Hastings that—out of necessity and the aggression of an insatiable real estate market—an increasing number of children are starting to understand better than most of the researchers. It was something that Thomas understood when he put his finger into the wounds of Christ.

In order for trauma to be understood, it must be passed through. Like Thomas started to do, when he placed his finger in the veins of Christ.

Thomas did not believe Christ had risen until Christ invited Thomas to put his fingers into his wounds. The trauma on the streets of East Hastings is the wound of Vancouver. And, perhaps because the city is such a beauty, and the houses are a mint, there is a whole crowd of children who, every day, are grating away at the segregation.

They are touching the wounds of Christ.

Kate Newman

About Kate Newman

Kate Newman has been teaching arts and faith to children in the secular school system and in churches for 20 years. Kate has completed a Masters of Theological Studies and has a Masters in Education. She is the principal developer for the Compendium of the Church Mice. She currently works at Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria the same church where she was baptized in Children's Ministry. She is also a mother. She enjoys walks in the woods with her and a good nap. Whew.
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