When Sulin Milne joined St Peter, Comox as incumbent in 2019 she was keen to work together with their sister church, St John the Divine in Courtenay. On Monday, Jan. 10, Sulin was at St John to support the church on the opening day of Blessings Boutique 2, a companion to the Blessings Boutique opened by St Peter on its 100th anniversary in 2021. The Blessings Boutique is a thrift store offering used kitchen and houseware, bedding and clothes. And the blessing? Everything is free.
“The idea behind the Blessing’s Boutique was twofold,” says Marion Edmondson, deacon at St John, Courtenay. “First, reducing waste. When I was going through the donations, there was some stuff that had barely been used. We live in such a consumerist society. We also have around 300 homeless people in Courtenay and many more who are working poor.”
“It’s about connecting with our neighbours,” adds Alastair Hunting, incumbent at St John. “On Monday, when we opened, I let the bakery across the road know. A worker came over and found an item he needed, and he gave some soup to all the volunteers. We also had a woman come in whose feet were wet from the ice. We were able to provide her with some dry socks and get her feet warm. We also have a ‘blessings box’ outside the church, which the community keeps well stocked with food. I’m not sure what it is about alliteration, but it seems to work!”
Sulin is quick to point out that the Blessings Boutique is for everyone. “It’s for the community, not just for those ‘in need.’ It’s for everyone. Who are we to define what ‘in need’ means? Someone might come because they are in need of human connection. It’s for everyone; it’s to bless everyone.”
Sulin also sees the benefits of working together with their sister church. “Working together on the Blessings Boutique has been great. When we have stock that hasn’t moved, we can send it over to St John and vice versa. I think we should be working together; I think people expect that. We have the same logo for the Blessings Boutiques. It shows people we’re working together.”
The Blessings Boutique at St Peter, Comox is open 10 a.m. to –2 p.m. every Thursday, while Blessings Boutique 2 is open at St John the Divine, Courtenay 10 a.m. to –2 p.m. every Monday.