Editor’s note: The Diocese has had a relationship with Outflow Ministry in Saint John for a number of years. It operates Catapult Coffee and Studio on Princess Street, a men’s shelter on Waterloo Row, provides meals and trains the marginalized for job readiness. It is a ministry close to the heart of our bishop, David Edwards, who had his Saint John office in the shelter for several years. Outflow has been the recipient of both start-up cash and surplus buildings from the Diocese.
When All Saints Church on Saint John’s east side was deconsecrated in 2020, it was already earmarked for a new life.
Last fall the Diocese turned the building over to Outflow Ministry, which has transformed it into a place where carpentry skills are learned, and houses — and maybe even dreams — are built.
Outflow, and its for-profit social enterprise, Catapult Construction, has a contract to provide the Province of New Brunswick with six tiny homes for the homeless, and a partnership with The Learning Exchange, the Teen Resource Centre and the Human Development Council, to provide training in carpentry skills.
Catapult Construction came about after the Diocese used $10,000 from the Dorothy Wilkes bequest as seed money.
On the former church property, there are two tiny homes. The first isn’t part of the provincial contract, but will instead form part of a planned retreat centre on the mission’s farm in Kars. The second is the shell of tiny home number one for the province, 12 by 30 feet, earmarked for property in the Uptown area of the city.
“During my time as the rector of Stone Church, it was my vision to be able to develop businesses in the Uptown area of Saint John which would create opportunities for people to re-enter the workforce,” said Bishop David Edwards at the time.
“When Jayme [Hall] came to us with a request for help to start Catapult, I was pleased that we as a diocese were able to help.”
Eight students have honed their skills three days a week at Catapult over the past five months. The week before Christmas, they graduated.
“Some will get work in other places. A couple will get jobs here,” said Jayme Hall, co-executive director of Outflow, adding that in March, another eight students will join the training program.
“This is a job-readiness program. They learn different skills here — life skills and carpentry skills.”
“We really hit the sweet spot with this construction,” said Phil Appleby, co-executive director of Outflow. “This contract with the Province will help employment and meet the mission of the shelter.”
Outflow’s mission is “to help people restore dignity, renew life and realize hope.”
The basement of the former church houses the learning lab, with student tables, lunch room and mock-up area. The sanctuary still looks much like it did, but they hope to utilize that space more efficiently. Right now, part of it is a work station, and the first tiny home sits right outside its large side door.
One of the carpentry instructors is former Outflow shelter attendant, Threshold Ministries licenced evangelist and Red Seal carpenter Rob Pitman.
“This is the first cohort I’ve worked with, staring in September,” said Rob.
(He pauses to take advantage of a teachable moment: ‘That’s a roofing nail you’re using. You need these ones right here.’)
“It’s been a lot of fun working with these guys. It’s easy to teach because this is what I love doing. I teach by showing.
“We want guys to leave here with enough skills to build baby barns the rest of their life if that’s what they want,” he said, though the students are both young men and women.
After Rob’s hip replacement surgery in late December, he will be back to work in the new year and ready to welcome a second cohort of students.
While the mission isn’t rolling in cash, and they still rely heavily on donors, they are making progress. However, they vividly remember the early days.
“It’s taken years to get to this,” said Jayme. “But if we didn’t have the support from the Diocese, we wouldn’t exist.”
“Especially in the first couple of years, we were just learning. We needed that partnership with the Diocese to get it off the ground. It’s been phenomenal.
“What I love most about all this is the Bishop’s attitude on mission. And he’s been patient with us,” said Jayme.
Outflow Ministry Inc. is a mission in uptown Saint John that offers food, shelter, job training, and in some cases, employment, to those in need. Outflow founded Catapult Construction several years ago with a specific goal.
The aim was to generate money to put back into the operation, ensuring the men’s shelter could continue, while training, employing and empowering those deemed unemployable by some.
The Outflow philosophy was to go beyond compassion-style ministry — a bed for the night and a meal — and offer the tools to become self-sufficient while making sure the mission is as well. They do that as well with Catapult Coffee and Studio, a shop that uses profits to fund the shelter and more.
1. Phil Appleby and Jayme Hall, co-executive directors of Outflow Ministry Inc., in the sanctuary of the former All Saints Anglican Church on Saint John’s east side. The building is now being used
to train young people in carpentry and to build tiny homes for the Province to provide housing to those in need.
2. The basement of the former All Saints Church in East Saint John looks a bit different these days. After being deconsecrated in 2020, it was transferred to Outflow Ministry, where it has become a carpentry training lab for young people. Catapult Construction, an arm of Outflow Ministry, administers the program through a partnership with The Learning Exchange, the Teen Resource Centre and the Human Development Council. Apart from the training taking place, the group
is also focussed almost exclusively on building tiny homes and has a contract with the Province of New Brunswick to produce six of them in 2023 — all from its headquarters at the former church building. Outflow Ministry runs a coffee shop as well, and the two businesses help support its men’s shelter.
3. Rob Pitman, in grey, gives shingling pointers to carpentry student Christopher Irwin at the
training centre in the former church basement.
4. Outside the former church, behind the trailer at right, is the first of six 12 by 30 foot tiny homes built for the province.