Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 22, 2009
Social Justice charted Rev. Mayne's life
Advocate for the poor, this United Church minister received the Msgr. Bill Irwin Award of Excellence
WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
Rev. Don Mayne devotes his life to giving the disenfranchised a voice
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON - The Rev. Don Mayne, a man whose name has become synonymous with social justice, has been awarded the Msgr. Bill Irwin Award of Excellence by Catholic Social Services.
Father Mike McCaffery presented the award to Mayne before more than 300 people at the agency's 47th annual general meeting at the Hotel MacDonald June 16.
Named after the agency's founder, the Msgr. Bill Irwin Award of Excellence is presented to organizations or individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the well-being of the community.
A professional associate and long-time friend of Msgr. Irwin, Mayne, 81, was honoured for his exceptional community service and his exemplary leadership in forwarding the causes of ecumenism and social justice.
"It's a real honour to receive this award because I have been friends with many people in the Catholic Church and very aware of Catholic Social Services for many, many years," Mayne said.
A retired United Church minister, Mayne was born in Edmonton and grew up in Saskatchewan in the middle of the dust bowl that characterized the "Dirty Thirties." The young Mayne was aware of the struggles of individuals in his father's Regina congregation trying to survive in the face of unemployment, poverty and hopelessness.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
"You could say I grew up with social justice. I've been very much involved in the issues of the inner city as long as I can remember," he recalls. His father, a United Church minister, was a forerunner to the Bissell Centre in the 1920s.
That care and concern followed Mayne into the University of Saskatchewan, Boston University and back again to Edmonton, where as a minister of the United Church of Canada at Wesley United, he became heavily involved in outreach ministry for newcomers to the city and Canada.
For much of his professional career, Mayne worked as regional director of New Horizons for the Government of Canada, responsible for Alberta, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. He and his wife of 54 years, Helen, have four children. Mayne is also an accomplished musician and composer.
He has led many new initiatives over the last four decades to promote social justice and interfaith understanding and respect. He has served as founding president of the Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action, past president of the North American Interfaith Network; and co-chair of the Quality of Life Commission - a community action and advocacy group that transforms faith into action.
"Don's life has been one marked by selfless generosity and tireless advocacy for people in need," McCaffery said.
Passionately concerned about seniors and homelessness, Mayne served on the Alberta Council on Aging, the Senior Citizens Housing Task Force, the Greater Edmonton Foundation, Homeward Trust Edmonton, and the Edmonton Coalition on Housing and Homelessness.
Mayne is also the founder and co-chairman of No Room in the Inn - an annual appeal to Edmonton churches to share their Christmas Eve offerings with local organizations providing homes to people with special needs.
Mayne says he helps because it is his Christian duty. "It's something I've always believed in, that we are responsible for what happens to our neighbours. We are all God's children and we are responsible for each other."
Throughout his distinguished volunteer and professional life, Mayne has received many awards, including his induction into the Community Service Hall of Fame for the City of Edmonton in 2007. Mayne is also the recipient of the Governor General's Golden Jubilee Medal and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity from St. Stephen's College at the University of Alberta.
"Don Mayne is highly loved and respected for his integrity, vision, tenacity, compassion and wisdom," McCaffery said. "As the prophet Micah stated, a saintly person is one who 'loves tenderly, acts justly, and walks humbly with his God.' Certainly, in every facet of Don's life, and in every mark of affection he has shown to both the powerful and to the weak, Rev. Mayne has exemplified that calling."