Bridging Poverty & Privilege:

Lessons in the practice of Dignity, Hospitality & Curiosity

Total workshop cost is $90 *per participant.

(*Discounted rates for larger groups and bursaries available.)

Participants must attend both sessions to complete the workshop. If you'd like to learn more, please contact:

Bridging Poverty and Privilege: Growing Life-Changing Relationships

2023 SESSIONS: Contact Lynn Smith-Reeve for more information at

What if our response to poverty went beyond charity?

What if we grew intentional friendships with neighbours living in poverty?

What if your community could start a movement that will make a tangible impact on poverty in the place you live?

Explore how this can happen in weekly gatherings of food, fun, & storytelling while learning together how to Bridge Poverty & Privilege.

We invite you on journey as a learning community to:

  • Explore the theoretical frameworks of the causes of poverty, Hidden Rules of class, How efforts to help can hurt, etc.)
  • Learn how the social innovation of Bridging Teams has applied the Bridges theory in a life-changing experience (using the spiritual practices of Hospitality, Dignity, Curiosity)
  • Have some fun learning together (online) and explore how to best apply / adapt the model in your own community.

The Bridging Poverty & Privilege Series challenges perceptions about poverty and addresses systemic and cultural barriers. It offers an educational framework that supports individuals, organizations and communities around changing the conversation about poverty.

This program is successful because it puts the under-resourced people it seeks to assist, in “the driver’s seat”.

Through Bridging Teams, small groups of citizens from all walks of life collaborate to support the life journey of under-resourced individuals and their families. Low-income team members are recognized as the lead problem-solvers. Middle and upper-income team members bring their curiosity, community connections, and life-experience to the table. Together, they meet weekly in a facilitated small group experience of Food, Fun, and Storytelling.

Who Should Attend? *

  • Anyone who feels called to!
  • Communities of faith interested in supporting low-income neighbours
  • Anyone engaged in social justice work related to poverty, including un-churched community folks
  • People with lived experience of poverty
  • Community and Social Justice Ministries
  • Regional Council staff

Workshop Learning Outcomes  

  1. To increase self-awareness in “cross-cultural” socio-economic class relationships. 
  2. To recognize systemic barriers hindering movement out of poverty towards stability. 
  3. To practice the three arts of “Dignity,  Hospitality, and Curiosity” as the means of entering into meaningful “cross-cultural” learning, trust-building and neighbour-to neighbour relationships.
Session #1: Practicing Dignity

Why don’t middle class solutions work for under-resourced folks?

  • Learn about the hidden rules we all live with and how this influences the way we relate to others
  • Four causes of poverty
  • Resources we all need for a stable life
  • The power of listening well 

Session #2: Practicing Hospitality & Curiosity 

  • Creating a safe “container” for growing relationships 
  • Hospitality:  Food, Fun, & Storytelling
  • Curiosity: learning to ask good questions  

*Participants are encouraged to attend with others who might be interested in creating a local Bridging Team.

Course Leadership Team

Diaconal Minister Reverend Lynn Smith-Reeve (part-time Minister at Bethany Pontypool UC) brings extensive knowledge and creative energy as an educator and artist. Her lived experience of poverty – raising her five children and caring for a disabled husband on social assistance for two decades – and the support she received from a circle of mentors to journey out of poverty - inspired her to co-create the Bridging Team model.  Lynn’s motto is, “It has to be fun.”  Lynn’s story youtube video describes her seven year journey in under 4 minutes.

Rev. Allan Smith-Reeve is Project Coordinator and Host at Bedford House, and Coordinating Minister at Greenwood United Church, both in Peterborough, Ontario. He is an innovator and creator of many collaborative community projects, and has served both urban and rural congregations. He is passionate about bridging class, religious, and cultural divides.

Lynn and Allan will be joined by storytellers from past and current Bridging Teams.

Their stories will illustrate the power of this model of community to affect positive change. 


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