April 5, 2017
By Janice Biehn
The Rev. Canon Dr. Cathy Campbell has been appointed as the new representative to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank from The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund. She was among several qualified Anglicans nominated by Bishops across the country to serve the three-year term. She succeeds the Rev. Marian Lucas-Jefferies from the diocese of Nova Scotia-PEI and will join PWRDF Executive Director Will Postma on the Foodgrains board.
A retired Anglican priest and former academic, Campbell has long been at the forefront of food security issues in Canada. “These are two organizations whose work I appreciate a lot and in an area that I’ve worked in all my life: food security, food justice and food sovereignty,” she says. “I’m thrilled to be able to interface between health, the earth, agriculture, economics and politics in this role.”
Campbell worked on food security in Toronto in the mid-‘80s, when the term was just starting to be used in North American communities. She studied at the Vancouver School of Theology and in 1993 she was a seminary intern for the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, where she first connected with PWRDF. She was ordained in 1995 and served as priest-in charge at two Vancouver churches.
In 2003, Campbell was called to return to her hometown of Winnipeg as Incumbent for St. Matthew’s. This massive church — the largest Anglican structure in Western Canada — once served a large British population but in the ‘60s it had become an inner-city missional church. “When I arrived the building was derelict, but the programs were amazing.” Her challenge was to figure out how to keep this resource alive for the neighbourhood. So they started by renovating the domestic grade kitchen that was serving more than 1,000 meals a week. With grants totalling $100,000 they were able to update it into a commercial kitchen. Fast forward to 2014 and St. Matthew’s completed a $7.5 million renovation with money coming in from all sources. The development includes 26 affordable housing units, a 10,000 square foot neighbourhood resource centre and seven worship communities, including the original Anglican congregation.
It is also home of The Emmanuel Mission, a congregation of Anglican South Sudanese refugees. Campbell helped the group establish a PWRDF parish-to-parish initiative called the Winnipeg Women’s Resource Centre in Bor, South Sudan. Though she retired from St. Matthew’s in 2016, she continues to serve as vice-chair of this centre that empowers women in South Sudan with education and healing.
Campbell has a PhD from Cornell University and was on faculty there and at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University. She is the principal author of two books: Faith as if Food Matters written for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, and The Stations at the Banquet: Faith Foundations for Food Justice (Liturgical Press, 2003). Campbell lives with her husband Dennis McNab and puppy Ruby, a retirement gift from St. Matthew’s.
ABOUT PWRDF AND CFGB
PWRDF has been a member of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank since 2007. When people give to PWRDF, they can direct their contribution to PWRDF’s account with the Foodgrains Bank. True to its name, the Foodgrains Bank functions like a bank. When PWRDF receives requests for food from its partners in all parts of the world, each request is reviewed to ensure the food and support provided will improve the lives of the people receiving the assistance in both the short and long terms. Once planning is complete, including details to ensure safe and reliable delivery, Foodgrains Bank withdraws money from PWRDF’s account and arranges the purchase and transport of the food. PWRDF often works together with other Foodgrains Bank members.