Please bookmark this page and tune in at 2pm (EST) on Sunday, February 4th for the live stream of a covenanting service with Rev. Dr. Cheri Dinovo.
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Message from Joan and Peter Wyatt
We began our brief sojourn at TSP in late September. Now, approaching the Advent journey to Christmas, we begin to anticipate our return to a quiet life in the Almaguin Highlands. Like the UNICEF program, our time of sharing ministry with the people of TSP has been a rich and inspiring privilege.
Some things remain consistent with our earlier time here. Commitments to pressing issues in our current local and global contexts remain impressively strong. So too does creative, able, and committed leadership across a broad spectrum of ministries from governance to social engagements. Music, celebrated in a service where we heard from Brad about his sabbatical time, continues to nourish the heart and soul. A pastoral care committee that could be the poster child for what pastoral care might be in every congregation continues to tend, with love, so many.
Some things that we longed for back in 1989 when we arrived as team ministers also remain. Outside signage at Bloor and Robert Streets, and in the Centre back hallway, making clear that there is a United Church in the building, is still lacking. The announcements still can run as long as a short sermon, even though we continue to print most of them, and now also send them out on the list serve! Tensions about how best to steward our resources, be relevant and faithful are still threads that run through decision-making and visioning. So too the breadth of theological diversity in our midst makes both worship and community life an opportunity to practise acceptance and respect for self and others a true reality.
When Cheri was introduced to the congregation on October 1, while Bill Phipps and Susan Mabey were here to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the amalgamation of St Paul’s-Avenue Road and Trinity, she said that she is honoured to have been chosen to serve you. We agree – it is a deeply rewarding experience for any of us. May Cheri’s time with you bring excitement, hope, peace, joy, and love.
We thank you for welcoming us into your midst for these three months — and wish for you an ongoing ministry that tends and cares for the spiritual needs of this faith community, so that the ministry beyond these walls may continue to go forward with grace and energy.
Bloom Where you are Planted: Gifts of the Spirit
By Lois Kunkel, Chair of the Church Board
Just this week, Del Doucette, Linda Padfield and I were talking TSP in our roles as Vice-chair, Secretary, and Chair of the Church Board. Del was already drafting an email in his mind as I was still sorting through my thoughts and discerning what we might do. After Linda left for her yoga class and we were enjoying our ginger tea, I found myself making the observation of our working styles out loud to Del. We had a very cool conversation about how we work. Del is a litigation lawyer, quick on his feet. It is very necessary in his work to think fast and to write well. I’m a psychotherapist (or a “psycho” as my son used to say). My work is listening, discerning, letting things emerge. Now, I also know that Del loves bird-watching, so I know that he can be still and listen and I know that I can think well, although differently from Del.
Using our gifts…Romans 12: “And we have different gifts according to the grace given to us…”
We are all thinking about this as we complete the Season of Commitment. We all have gifts to bring and to share in our TSP community. These may change as we change and our capacities change. I think of the gift of prayer. Our capacity for prayer never changes no matter what ability we have. “What can I give him, poor as I am”, says the hymn, “give him my heart”. I believe prayer affects the energy field of the one who prays and of the one(s) prayed for. Your prayers are the glue of our community and hold our circle in grace.
When my siblings and I were teenagers, wondering what to make of our lives, my old father used to tell us, “bloom where you are planted”. He would also paraphrase the words of St. Irenaeus, “the glory of God is (hu)man fully alive”. These words of my Dad stay with me.
I love having an amaryllis plant in Advent. It’s almost like magic since you can watch it emerge and grow every day. Careful tending/watering and expectant waiting leads to the most glorious blooms – kind of like the spiritual life.
Forgive me these random thoughts…. Growing in community is like this: Discerning our gifts and sharing them; Letting our differences be our strength and that often means talking about them, so we can let the body work in harmony. Together in community, we support each other in blooming where we are planted and becoming “fully alive”. This is my prayer for us all.
Envisioning Our Communications StrategyFrom your Church Administrator
Hi folks! I thought I would touch base with you on our communications situation. A lot of movement is happening to bring clarity to the policies and procedures for staff and volunteers. This should make event planning a whole lot easier and straightforward, leading to more successful events. We have been making great connections with the building tenants and the community throughout the Season for Commitment.
Rev Cheri Dinovo has been busy making the rounds and getting oriented to our life here at TSP. In meeting with her, we considered how we can communicate better to support our collective vision. Cheri has hired me to redevelop her website for her ministry, which is great – because of her online presence, her website will draw people to our website! Win-win.
Cheri very clearly indicated that social media is on the top of her mind. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and quite possibly YouTube will all be important communication platforms for Cheri’s ministry. The young ones really connect with this. My task will be to create accessible communication for everyone.
Into the future, with peace!
Jared Scratch, Church Administrator
Panel: Investing with Purpose: Building Community Through Local and Global Action
On Sunday November 19, 2017, as part of Trinity-St. Paul’s’ Season for Commitment, an Interactive Panel Discussion and Q+A took place from 12:00-2:00. Over 50 people from TSP and the community attended the event titled, “Investing with Purpose: Building Community Through Local and Global Action”. The stellar panel focussed on Socially Responsible (SRI) and Impact Investing, and how we could contribute both individually and collectively to bring about positive change.
Moderator: Moira Hutchinson, Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Activist
- Eugene Ellmen, National Director, Canada and U.S. at OIKOCREDIT
- Armine Yalnizian, Economist and Well-Known Media Commentator
- Brian Barsness, Director, Investment Services at Kindred Credit Union
We were challenged to make a difference individually and collectively; as a follow-up to the event and the challenges posed, here are some important links and resources that were referenced or discussed during “Investing with Purpose: Building Community Through Local and Global Action”
The information below provides additional tools for you to better understand Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) and Impact Investing, as well as affordable housing and other topics discussed or referenced by Brian Barsness, Eugene Ellmen, Moira Hutchinson, Armine Yalnizyan, and the audience.
PLEASE NOTE: This material is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, any investment or financial advice.
Affordable Housing Resources and Links
- Canada Infrastructure Bank
- Meritas SRI Funds – leaders in the Canadian SRI market
- New Market Funds’ NMF Rental Housing Fund – referenced in Panel Discussion as one fund active in creating new affordable housing units. It is a closed fund.
Both Meritas and Vancity Credit Union (B.C.) were mentioned in the panel discussion and both have invested in New Market Funds to address these urgent housing needs.
Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) + Impact Investment Resources and Links
- Oikocredit – Impact investing with global action
- Kindred Credit Union – offers Oikocredit Global Impact GIC and all Kindred GICs are SRI validated, DICO guaranteed, and RRSP, RRIF and TFSA eligible
ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) with SRI options
- Ethiquette – “Ethiquette aims first and foremost to help individual investors as they venture into the realm of responsible investment”. They identify themselves on their website as a “crossroads for dialogue and the sharing of information by responsible investment stakeholders in Québec and Canada (organizations, NPOs, media and government)”.
- Zidisha – “Zidisha is the first online micro lending community that directly connects lenders and borrowers — nomatter the distance or disparity between”. This non-profit website is an alternative to traditional micro lending platforms. Zidisha does not use field partners, rather is a “lender to borrower” direct connection over the Internet.
8. SHARE (Shareholder Association for Research and Education) – a Non-Profit organization which, according to their website, is “a shareholder association for research and education on Responsible Investment and services related thereto”. Trinity-St. Paul’s participates in the SHARE program to actively address ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues with companies through its fund manager, GENUS, which is a client of SHARE.
9. Responsible Investment Association – https://www.riacanada.ca/ – a major resource for Canadian responsible investment information. The Responsible Investment Association’s purpose as stated on their website is to “support the responsible investment activities of its members; promote and support an integrated reporting framework in which there is standardized disclosure of material ESG information; promote integration of ESG factors into investment analysis and decision-making processes; and promote the practice of responsible investing in Canada”.
Estates and Wills Resources and Links
10. In response to an audience question, it was noted that Kindred Credit Union has estate planners on staff to assist clients and executors of estates through Concentra, a wholesale provider of finance and trust services for Credit Unions. Concentra – https://www.concentra.ca/Pages/content.aspx?gp=Credit%20Union&sub=Estates%20and%20Trusts
Books That I Have Read Lately
By Mary Lou Fallis
Some of these are oldies but goodies.
Rowan Williams, Being Christian. 82 Pages
publisher Wm.B.Eerdmans Publishing Co
Walter Brueggeman “Who better than Rowan Williams to be our teacher about the essentials of Christianity! In this clear, accessible exposition, we get Williams at his best-worldly-wise, gentle, grounded deeply in tradition, acutely alert to the world of violence where God indwells. Williams ushers us more deeply into our best discernment of the Christian life.”
P.D. James said it is “Elegant and lucid.”
Rollo May, The Courage to Create. 140 Pages
Publisher Norton and Company
NY, New York
Well known for his books, “Love and Will, “Man’s Search for Himself” and “Power and Innocence.” Dr. May’s work has been praised by reviewers and readers alike, for his pioneering work in human courage, creativity and spirituality.
Light upon Light: compiled by Sarah Arthur. 199 Pages
“A literary and spiritual feast, there is no other book quite like this one if you desire to live fully into the season of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, and have a passion for fiction and poetry.”
Advent and Christmas at TSP 2017
The Advent season is coming soon. Always a special time at TSP. Please plan to be with us and invite others to join us for some or all of these special events and services.
“Slouching toward Advent” is a Monday night Lectionary Bible Study led by Joan Wyatt. Meet in the Minister’s Study from 7:00-8:30 p.m. starting November 27.
November 27 Waiting and Hope Isaiah 64:1-9 & Mark 13: 24-37
December 4 A Voice in the Wilderness Isaiah 40:1-11 & Mark 1:1-8
December 11 and 18 TBA
The First Sunday in Advent is December 3. Plan to stay after church and help decorate the tree.
December 10 is the Christmas Pageant, led by Children’s Church and an opportunity to bring gifts for our neighbours at Na Me Res Men’s Residence. Stay tuned for details from Marji Calla.
December 13 our monthly Taize Service takes place at 7:00 p.m.
Brad and the choir along with VIVA will lead us in Carol’s by Candlelight at 7:00 p.m. on December 17.
December 19 Joan and Peter will lead us in a Quiet Christmas Worship Service, a time to acknowledge the sorrow and losses that accompany the Christmas season. 5:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary.
Christmas Eve is the fourth Sunday in Advent. We gather for our TSP service at 10:30 a.m. Then welcome Bloor St. United for a Family Service at 7:00 p.m. Bathurst and TSP will jointly worship with communion at 10:00 p.m. on December 24 in the TSP sanctuary.
New Year’s Eve we are pleased to accept Bloor St.’s invitation to join them for worship at 10:30 a.m.
The Choir is also participating in The Story at Christie Pitts at 7:30 p.m. on December 9 and 20. All are welcome. Dress warmly.
Blessings all as we move from the Season of Commitment to the Season of Advent and anticipate the arrival of our new minister, Cheri DiNovo, whose first service is January 7.
Betsy Anderson for the WAFF Circle
A Year-end BMB Update
- One of the key mandates the BMB was given back in 2012 was to get the building to a sustainable basis. That meant principally to have the building rental income cover not just its operations, but also cover its Major Items, which had been drawing some $100,000 down annually from TSP Trust funds. We were then in a critical situation –though not yet a crisis. Over the past two years, we came close to that goal, but in 2017 for the first time, we have been able to return some $30,000 (estimated) to those Trust funds!! With the help of our TSP residents and community users, we averted that likely crisis.
- During the summer – and with Tafelmusik footing most of the bill – the main floor bathrooms were fully renovated
- During November, three basement former offices have been re-modelled by our maintenance staff (mainly Jon Dube) to accommodate Annex Montessori’s need for more space.
- Over the summer, renovations were done (with M&P assistance) to the two ministry offices, to the Memorial Room, and especially to the Church Office.
- To help manage more sudden rainwater flows sometimes reaching into the South basement, new eavestroughs were installed under the South roof.
- Increased use of our public spaces have increased the work load of our 7 custodians and our office staff.
- At the Board and General Manager level, we have been engaged closely with the Fifth Year BMB Review Group, as well as negotiating with Tafelmusik about the possible Glass Surround and the northeast steps repairs.
- In the next few months, we look forward to receiving three engineering reports that should outline the priority renovation projects for the structure, the heating, and the electrical systems over the next five years.
- We also look forward to any changes that the Five-Year Review might propose to the original Administrative Agreement.
- Two specific areas of work are the lower bathroom renovations and work on the stained glass.
- With the General Manager handling the daily building issues, and with most of TSP building areas having been significantly improved/renovated over the last five years, our Board will shift its focus to more long term goals for our building: for example, environmental improvements, community engagement, engaging with other churches on sustainable building strategies
BMB: Susan Craig, Bob Fugere, Lorna Niebergall, Don Willms, Kendra Fry
Update on Turtle House Art/Play Centre (also known as ‘Turtle House’)
Trinity-St Paul’s Church (TSP) and many individual members of this congregation have supported Turtle House financially and in many other ways right from its inception and continuing over the years – as donors, Board members, volunteers, by providing the venue and purchasing tickets for five of our Open to the World: A Musical Journey fundraising concerts. The last concert was in November 2015.
The Intergenerational Family Program
In our Intergenerational Family Program, professional artists offer Clay-Making/Ceramics, Painting, Singing and Music, to children (4 to 12+), as well as a facilitated Conversation Circle for parents. Older siblings also participate as volunteers.
Each week, the program ends with a shared meal, and we provide interpretation and TTC fares where necessary. We offer our programs in schools or community centres on a Saturday in neighbourhoods with a significant number of refugee families. Since 2011, we have been mainly in the Don Mills/Sheppard area of North York. Most of the recent participants have been Iraqi and Syrian families.
“A Home to Call Our Own”
Turtle House rents a small office space from COSTI Immigrant Services at 760 College St, Toronto. Over the years, Turtle House has been very nomadic, situated in a small office downtown, but trekking on a weekly basis with all our art supplies to North York, and with our Ceramic Artist, taking the clay pieces to his studio downtown for firing, and bringing them back up again for glazing and down for final firing.
We have a dream, and we called this dream “A Home to Call Our Own”. We would like to have a place possibly in North York East or Scarborough that combines program space for the Intergenerational Family Program, office space, as well as a Ceramics Community Studio, to develop a Social Enterprise for Newcomer Refugee Artists and Non-Artists. We know this is a long-term goal!
CAIF – Canadian Alternative Investment Foundation
Members of TSP, who were on the Board of Directors of CAIF or its sister organization CAIC referred us to CAIF to submit a proposal for a feasibility study for a Social Enterprise. We received a grant from CAIF, which allowed us to explore different models of art studios, and also to begin to assess the interest of Newcomer Artists for affordable studio space and training.
Turtle House Ceramics Pilot Project
The grant from CAIF prepared us to develop Turtle House Ceramics – a Ceramic Training Program for Newcomer Refugee Artists and Non-Artists. It is supported by Toronto Arts Council Strategic Funding and by the Gardiner Museum, where our pilot project has been located since September 11, 2017. The Ceramic workshops will end at the Gardiner on December 11, 2017. We feel thrilled and inspired to have had the opportunity to be hosted by the Gardiner Museum, surrounded by ceramic artefacts in their Collection and their Shop.
Holiday Show & Sale – Sunday December 17, 2017 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. – SAVE THE DATE!
On Sunday December 17th, we will hold a Show & Sale of the participants’ ceramic works from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Studio at TSP. We hope you will come and join us there. Coffee time after church will be in the Studio, and we’ll provide Syrian finger foods and sweets to go with your coffee. Funds from the sale of the Ceramic pieces will go directly to the Newcomer participants.
Check out our Facebook page – Turtle House Art/Play Centre and follow us on Instagram @turtlehouse_artplay. There you’ll find pictures of the Ceramics Training program.
We are also planning to participate in a Giving Tuesday campaign through Canada Helps to run our next Intergenerational Family Program early in 2018.
Planting Seeds of Restoration and Hope for those Impacted by Crime
By Lynn Jondreville
Once again, this year, TSP hosted a conference on Restorative Justice, which was sponsored by a wide variety of organizations involved in ministries with those impacted by crime. About 150 people participated. The diversity reflected in the gathering no doubt correlates with the over representation of racialized minorities in the correctional system.
The program featured speakers, who told moving personal stories of healing and restoration of relationship after being impacted by crime, one an offender, whose case led to the first Victim Offender Reconciliation project in Canada, and another, a victim whose father had been murdered.
We also heard from a couple of organizations involved in innovative programs aimed at dealing with the barriers to employment faced by marginalized people: Building Up offers mentorship to help participants get a start in the trades; and Rise, a Rotman/CAMH financial initiative, provides low interest small business loans to those with a history of mental health and addiction challenges.
Some reflections by participants from TSP:
“The Restorative Justice Conference on Saturday was an important event. I sat beside a visitor whose son has recently been released from prison, and she is wondering what she should be doing. She welcomed the opportunity to meet and talk with others who share her experience. She was grateful that Trinity-St. Paul’s would sponsor such an opportunity for persons with similar experiences, either as inmates, or as persons helping former inmates to adapt to their new situations to meet one another. The speakers were amazing, and I was very grateful for the opportunity to hear their stories.” Roger Hutchinson
“It was a wonderful opportunity to hear how each person or organization was grappling with the same issues, mainly securing ID cards, OHIP cards, housing. Some could share best practices, which were eagerly accepted. It was also a time of listening to the personal experience of those just out of prison. This was reality articulated in a very moving way.” John Klassen
“It was inspiring to hear the story of the young man involved in the Sagatay program at Na-Me-Res. In a very straightforward and confident manner he told his story of being taken from his family at a very young age, and the subsequent moves from one abusive foster home to another. His adult life had been marked by a relentless cycle of addiction and crime leading to incarceration. The programming helps Indigenous men reclaim their cultural identity and connection to community – addressing such a deep need as reflected in this man’s story.” Lynn Jondreville
The Hardest Spiritual Work
Leviticus 19:1,2, 15-18; Matthew 22; 34-40
The thoughtful and welcoming Rabbi Hillel, perhaps standing on one leg, gave this answer:
“That which is hateful unto you, do not do to your neighbour. This is the whole of the Torah; the rest is commentary. Now, go and study!”
Jesus, a faithful and scholarly Jew, was asked by a lawyer of the Pharisaic party which commandment is the greatest. His response was also short and pithy.
He named the first, from Deuteronomy “Love God with all of your heart, soul and mind.
and the second, which he said is like it, from Leviticus “love your neighbour as yourself.”
This Golden Rule is seen by many to be the essence of Christianity. Yet clearly it is also the essence of Judaism.
So too, it is a concept shared by many religions and humanist philosophies.
A few examples–from:
Confucianism: Do not do to others what you would not like yourself (Analects 12;2)
Buddism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. (Udana-Varga, 5,1)
Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother what he desires for himself. (Sunnah)
Taoism: Regard your neighbour’s gain as your gain, your neighbour’s loss as your loss. (Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien)
So, the Golden rule may be the essence of many religions and to quote Rabbi Hillel –all the rest is commentary.
However, the devil is usually in the details and the commentary does matter. No doubt that is why Rabbi Hillel instructed the seeker—to go and study!
Peter has been celebrating a reunion this weekend from two summers that he spent during university at Camp Shilo in Manitoba. Reminiscing about being a cadet officer in training
brought forward how important chats with the chaplain, Carl Ridd, were for him. For me that brought to mind Carl Ridd’s daughter, Karen Ridd who is now a teacher and leader in mediation and peace studies in Winnipeg.
It all began for Karen in 1989, when she was volunteering with Peace Brigades International.
Karen and a colleague from the Peace Brigade, Marcella Rodriguez were arrested by the Guatemalan military on suspicion of affiliation with a guerrilla group. They were sent to a prison in El Salvador where they were blindfolded, interrogated and tortured.
As Karen and Marcella listened to the screams and cries of other prisoners they prepared for their own death. The Peace Brigade alerted the Canadian embassy who sent an official to rescue Karen. As she was led out of the barracks and released to the Canadian Embassy official, she was relieved to be alive and free, but she also knew that she could not leave her friend.
Karen turned back into the jail and went to Marcella’s cell. The soldiers, shocked, handcuffed her, and mocking her asked if she had come back for more. Trying to explain herself Karen said to them, in Spanish “You know what it’s like to be separated from a compañero.”
The soldiers did understand what she was saying, and moved by her words, released both women. 
Karen Ridd demonstrated the power of peaceful, non-violent action. She also demonstrated what it is to love one’s compañero, one’s neighbor, one’s companion, as oneself.
During the week of Trump’s inauguration, our Moderator, Jordan Cantwell, wrote an article to the Church entitled, “I Love Trump.” In it she confessed her “serious misgivings about his policies and pronouncements.” But, she asserted “he is a child of God, just like me, so I must treat him with dignity, respect, and love.” She challenged all of us to refuse to give in to hate, noting that “Love does not turn a blind eye to injustice or a deaf ear to the cries of the oppressed. The love that we are called to embody as followers of Christ demands that we defend the dignity and worth, the well-being and integrity of everyone—including the oppressors.”
I found Jordan’s article incredibly challenging. I agree with what she said. And I affirm that non-violence as practiced and taught by people like Karen Ridd is faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Yet, my own life experiences and political observations also make me aware of the challenges
of how bad the bad can really be.
So too, that competing moral values, even competing good moral values, even in the hands of trust worthy politicians, frequently require measured compromises that make most political decisions imperfect.
And sometimes this is the case in our personal moral decisions as well. The good of loving a neighbor can compete with the safety and wellbeing of the vulnerable.
I once took to court someone who threatened to kill me. I did not do it out of revenge. I thought, at the time, that it was the best means to get help for someone who’s behavior was out of control and unacceptably violent. It did not work. It is a failure that I have had to accept. And that has underscored for me the complexities and ambiguities of trying to love the neighbour as oneself.
When Peter was ordained in 1969, our pastor, who had confirmed us and married us said,
as we headed into the Alberta sunset and our first parish, –you might find that one of the most difficult things in ministry is loving, not the world, or even your parishioners, —but your colleagues.
Yes–those who see the world differently; those who understand the gospel, theology, ecclesiology and mission differently, to say nothing of their irritating ideological and temperamental idiosyncrasies.
G.K. Chesterton said, “We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next-door neighbor” For most of us our very first neighbours are our family. We don’t choose them either. They are given to us, warts and all. And remarkably, most people, even if they would never chose their family members as friends,v do love them in some fashion– –even many who have been horribly defiled or let down by their families and then need compassionate therapy to sort through such terrible complexities.
Loving the neighbour as oneself, may be a central concept in most religions and philosophies
–but it is not an uncomplicated or easy task.
Barbara Brown Taylor, one of North America’s preeminent preachers, says “the hardest spiritual work in the world is to love the neighbor as the self— to encounter another human being not as someone you can use, change, fix, help, save, enroll, convince, or control,
but simply as someone who can spring you from the prison of yourself, if you will allow it.”
Spiritual work– that is what Barbara Brown Taylor names it, and that is what Leviticus names loving the neighbour to be, saying: “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.”
The good news in this statement, “You shall be holy for I the Lord your God am holy,” is that we are made in God’s image. –Holy, as God is holy. Within us there is a spark that makes it possible, with God, to do what is right. And when we fail or make mistakes, with God there is forgiveness.
Jesus, by pairing, loving God with heart, soul and mind, with loving neighbor as the self,
also names loving the neighbor as spiritual work. Within the church loving our nearest neighbour in the pew, let alone those down the street or in other denominations, –is hard spiritual work.
In 1998 Gil Rendle of the Alban Institute published something called Behavioral Covenants in Congregations: A Handbook for Honoring Differences. It was reviewed as a down-to-earth workbook to help congregations “value differences and grow through them rather than trying to ignore or blend them.”
Former UCC moderator Marion Pardy introduced Rendle’s work as Holy Manners during a particularly fractious time of transition in the Church’s national offices and in the General Council Executive.
Since that time many governing bodies, Conferences and congregations in the United Church, including Trinity St Paul’s, as well as many other congregations in other denominations have adopted Holy Manner codes to give specific guidance to how to do the hard, spiritual work of loving one’s nearest neighbor in the church.
These codes give concrete guidance to prepare people to listen well to each other; to see one another as God’s own beloved people, who have valuable ideas and thoughts to contribute. They give guidance for how to disagree and challenge one another respectfully.
TSP has been working with a covenant of Holy Manners at the board level and would welcome opportunities to introduce this covenant work more widely in the congregation.
It is a process that is in continuity with the central core of both the first and second biblical testaments as well as other world religions and philosophies.
When Karen Ridd’s jailers saw how she was prepared to love her companion, they were moved by such love and set them free. And Barbara Brown Taylor says, such loving can set us free from ourselves, if we let it.
By creating and being a community of faith where loving the neighbour as one’s self is not just a faith statement or something that we offer to the world but is something that: through intentional, disciplined, spiritual practice, we live out, we thereby create a community of faith that can empower and encourage each one to tap that holy spark within so that we can do and live what we are called to do and be both individually and collectively.
And so too, each one can know deep within heart, soul and mind, how unconditionally each one of us is loved by God forever and ever. Amen.
Preached by Joan Wyatt at Trinity St Paul’s United Church, Toronto, October 22, 2017
Willis Davidson’s Fruitcake
This is the most frequently requested recipe in the STAR. It’s from an old cookbook from 1982 edited by the food editor Jim White. We make ours in November, wrap it in cheesecloth and tin foil and keep it cool in our basement. It’s a two-day process really. Chopping and soaking one day, then mixing and wrapping the next.
Definitely not a health food staple, but delicious, festive and cheering. These cakes make great gifts as well. Willis Davidson is from Winchester ON. And has made this cake for 50 years.
A pretty big project, but worth it in the end. We have just enough left each year to see us through until New Years.
2 1/2 cups (about 1 lb) chopped pitted dates
2 cups (about 1 lb) chopped candied citron peel
2 cups (about 12 oz/360 gms) seeded muscat or Lexia raisins
2 cups (about 12 oz/360 gms) Thompson or sultana raisins
1 1/2 cups (about 8 oz/250 gms) currants
1 1/2 cups (about 7 oz/200 gms) blanched whole almonds
1 1/2 cups drained maraschino cherries, chopped (reserve 1/2 c liquid)
1/2 cup brandy or fruit juice
1 can (19 oz) crushed pineapple, undrained
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup strawberry jam
4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups butter
2 cups granulated sugar
- In a large bowl, mix together dates, citron peel, raisins, currants, almonds and drained cherries; stir in brandy. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature overnight.
- In a saucepan, combine pineapple and 2 cups of sugar; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently 30 to 40 minutes, or until mixture thickens. There should be 2 1/2 cups of pineapple mixture. Remove from heat and stir in reserved cherry liquid and strawberry jam. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Generously grease and line five 9×5 inch loaf pans, or 3 wedding cake pans with waxed paper, aluminum foil or parchment; grease lining.
- In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves and allspice; add 1 cup of flour mixture to date-raisin mixture and toss to thoroughly coat fruits.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and 2 cups of sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition. In small amounts, stir flour mixture and pineapple mixture into butter mixture, alternating additions; blend well. Fold in date-raisin mixture. Pour into prepared pans.
- Place a large, shallow pan on bottom rack of oven. Fill half full of hot water and heat oven to 275 degrees F. Place loaf pans on middle rack and bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until a cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean. (cakes cooked in wedding cake pans will require 3 to 3 1/2 hours.)
- Remove cakes and let cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans; peel off paper and let cakes cool on racks. Wrap individually in cheesecloth soaked in brandy. Wrap in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. Store in cool place. Do not freeze, as coldness numbs cake and prevents flavour from developing. Douse with brandy periodically.
Makes 5 loaves, each about 2 1/4 pounds.
About the TSP Times
Welcome to the Rev. Joan Wyatt and The Rev. Dr. Peter Wyatt
The Rev. Joan Wyatt and The Rev. Dr. Peter Wyatt have joined Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church as our supply ministers for the remainder of 2017. They led the worship service for the first time on Sunday, Sept. 24th.
Peter Wyatt is a former principal of Emmanuel College where he taught in the fields of ecumenism, mission and congregational leadership. He was ordained by Hamilton Conference in 1969 and served pastorates in Alberta and Northwest, Bay of Quinte (Port Hope), Hamilton (Melrose), and Toronto Conferences. Following a joint pastorate at Trinity-St. Paul’s in Toronto (1989- 1995) with his wife, Joan, he became General Secretary for Theology, Faith and Ecumenism of the United Church. He has served three times as academic dean of the biennial Global Institute of Theology sponsored by the World Communion of Reformed Churches. He is editor of Touchstone, a theological journal committed to the importance of theology and heritage in the United Church. He is author of articles both academic and popular, and of two books, Jesus Christ and Creation in the Theology of John Calvin and The Page that Fell out of my Bible.
Joan (Parsons) Wyatt retired in 2011 as Director of Contextual Education at Emmanuel College. From 1999-2006 she was Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology and Theological Field Education at the Vancouver School of Theology. Ordained in 1986 after a career in nursing and childbirth education, Joan served pastorates at Trinity, Beamsville and Trinity- St Paul’s, Toronto. (1989-1999). Joan has been a speaker, writer and workshop leader in the field of creative worship and the rise of feminism in the UCC. She has twice served as chaplain and worship leader of the biennial Global Institute of Theology sponsored by the World Communion of Reformed Churches.
In May this year, Joan and Peter led a journey to the Luther sites in the former East Germany with a group of thirty pilgrims. In October, they will share leadership with others in Luther’s Legacies, a conference commemorating the 500th anniversary of the posting of the 95 Theses by Martin Luther.
Peter and Joan have four children, three in-law children and six grandchildren under the age of seven. In 2012, they left downtown Toronto and retired to a new home at Lake Cecebe near Magnetawan, ON. Having had a cottage on a shore littered with family members for over forty years, this special place continues to be home for their children and grandchildren today.
We are delighted to welcome Joan and Peter back to TSP!
From Joan and Peter Wyatt, Your Supply Ministers
It was with a sense of adventure that we responded to the invitation to come back to Trinity-St. Paul’s for this brief, three-month stint on which we are embarked. We were intrigued with recent developments and challenges in the life of the congregation, and wondered how things were going. As well, it goes almost without saying that we continue to carry deep affection for a community that we served in the nineties.
Now, as then, TSP is a complex society, both administratively and in terms of the varied interests and passions of the congregation. Getting back involved in the complexity, we have been well supported by your lay leaders and the building staff as we have begun to introduce ourselves to some of the circles and groups in the congregation, and to respond to requests for engagement with varied activities and pastoral concerns. One of your lay leaders made a special effort in helping us find the apartment in which we are now settled.
We have been delighted to greet members whom we have known for many years, feeling our faces lighting up with recognition and warmth. We have been pleased to meet the very able people who have joined TSP in the last several years. It has been encouraging also to meet, and begin to work with, Jared, the church administrator, and Kendra, the general manager of the Centre. We feel privileged to be working in tandem with Brad Ratzlaff again, and are looking forward to hearing from him about his sabbatical at the special service celebrating community and music on Oct. 15th. And sometimes we catch ourselves thinking of the saints of yesteryear who are no longer in our midst. We remember them with affection and gratitude.
Renewing our Vows, Lois Kunkel, Chair of the Church Board
I am so very glad that we held our 35th congregational anniversary party on October 1st. Stories I hadn’t heard about Trinity and St. Paul’s were told. I loved hearing how thoughtful, engaged and persistent the amalgamation was! It revealed so much relationality.
Bill Phipps, our minister from 1974-1983 gave the Sunday reflection and told us about the “Re-Missioning Project” in which mid-city United Church congregations explored together what ministry they could have in the city. I heard in his stories and those told later in the after service story time, the themes we continue to wrestle with. It helped me to view our Interim Ministry with new/old eyes: as a reflective step of re-orienting ourselves in our time now.
We accomplished good things with our Interim Ministry. We struggled with our relationality –with how to live community together, so that we can walk our talk in our city and our world now, in 2017.
Bill stated that, “whereas in 1975, we may have been faith calling for justice, perhaps now we are about justice calling for faith”. He said, “TSP has a reputation about justice”. Then he asked, “Is it also a place where people are welcomed to struggle with the spiritual grounding at the heart of social justice and action?”
So perhaps instead of worrying about our decline in numbers, we view ourselves as the mustard seed. “Seek the wellbeing of the city to which you were called, for on its wellbeing yours depends” (Jeremiah 29).
We have begun our fall-time filled with hope and energy. We were happy to see each other on Welcome Back Sunday and enjoyed visiting over lunch. On September 17th, we offered our gratitude and farewell to Judith for her Interim Ministry. The Search Committee talked about their process and told us the name of the candidate for ministry they were proposing. The congregation voted to accept Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo as our new minister as of January 1, 2018. We were happy to welcome Cheri when she joined our worship for the anniversary Sunday.
We have welcomed Kaylyn Munro, our new Children’s Church coordinator. The choir is delighted to welcome back Brad after his sabbatical, and look forward to the music making. The congregants sitting in the circle of the Delving Deeper conversations are seeking the “spiritual grounding at the heart of social justice” in their monthly meetings.
We are already enjoying the ministry of Rev Joan and Rev Peter Wyatt, who are with us for the next three months. Because of their previous ministries with us, they will help us weave together our past with our present as we orient towards our new future. The Church Board begins to hold monthly meetings, with the alternate meeting focusing solely on the discernment of our vision, as part of the implementation of the Governance report from the Interim Ministry. Soon we will be engaged in the Season for Commitment with its opportunities for congregational meals and conversations. I am certain that I am missing things to highlight and share. Keep your eyes and ears on the TSP listserve!
Bill concluded in his Sunday reflection, “With a new minister, fresh energy and ideas, you can seize the moment in seeking the wellbeing of the city, grounded in the biblical spirituality of hope, love and humility”.
May it be so. Blessed be.
Announcement from the Search Committee
Members: Laura Gallagher-Doucette (co-chair), Barbara Lloyd (co-chair), John Olthuis, Deepak Ramachandran, Paul Stott, Ashwin Ranjit, James Holzbauer.
A formal meeting of our community of faith was held on Sunday Sept. 17, 2017. After the presentation of their report by members of the Search Committee, members agreed by vote to the following: to extend a call to Rev. Dr. Cheri Di Novo effective Jan. 1, 2018 as per the terms that were outlined in the report; to request that Toronto Conference approve this call; and that the Search Committee be disbanded following the covenanting service with our sincere thanks. There will be an opportunity to meet Cheri during and after the service on Oct 1, 2017. Please pray for Cheri and for all of us as a community of faith as we open our hearts and minds to each other’s ministry in this new pastoral relationship.
Rev. Dr. Cheri Di Novo Biographical Information
Sept. 17, 2017 Congregational meeting
The Search Committee unanimously recommends that Rev. Dr. Cheri Di Novo be called as ordained minister to Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church.
Cheri is presently the Member of Provincial Parliament for Parkdale-High Park, first elected in 2006. She is known for her $10 minimum wage campaign in 2006-7 and for tabling the most bills in the legislature that have three party support. She has had more private member bills passed than any other MPP in the Ontario record and has had more LGBTQ legislation passed than anyone in Canadian history.
Previous to her government work, Cheri was 12 years in congregational ministry. From 1997-2006, she was minister at Emmanuel Howard Park (now Roncesvales United), a congregation, originally, with 50 in the pews. Together with the congregation, Cheri helped build a vibrant community with two services and 1000 at the Christmas eve service, 35- 50 children in the Sunday School, and a large teen youth group.
Growth came through being inclusive (including performing the first legalized same sex marriage in North America) and by specifically inviting marginalized people to a queer-positive evening service of, not for, the marginalized. Details can be found in her award- winning book, “Querying Evangelism”.
In her settlement church, Brucefield Kippen United, in London Conference, she worked with the congregation to turn a declining church into a community hub in a rural, farming community.
She also worked as ministry staff at West Hill United, Toronto building the congregation, initiating a youth program and alternative service. (Paul Stott has significant memories of this time and can tell a wonderful story of Cheri’s experiential and inclusive outreach at the time.)
From 1984 – 1995, Cheri ran her own Executive Recruitment firm, a feminist enterprise placing women in Public Relations, Advertising, Arts and other positions. Cheri surrendered this lucrative endeavour to pursue full time Christian Ministry to, as she describes it, “Enjoy the greatest profession ever – full time pastoral ministry!”
Overview: Cheri has been a 40-year activist on LGBTQ issues: a) succeeding in getting Toby’s Act passed – legislation to include gender identity and gender expression in the Ontario Human Rights Code. In 2015, she worked for the successful passing of Bill 77 which prohibits “conversion therapy” for youth, a type of psychological torture as a way to change LGBT people into straight ones. It was delisted from OHIP.
She has also had a significant role in passing legislation: to recognize PTSD as a workplace injury; to create zoning changes for cities that address the affordable housing crisis; and to advocate for cyclists and cyclist safety.
Cheri is the winner of several major awards:
- The Lambda Literary Award for spirituality and religion for her book “Querying Evangelism”
- The Award of Merit by the government of Ukraine for her work on Canada’s tri-party bill recognizing the Holodomor as genocide
- The Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 Inspire Awards for her lifelong work as an activist for equal rights.
- And others
The Search Committee experienced Cheri as a person of deep integrity who is bright, articulate, personable, enthusiastic and visionary. Her referees spoke of her as a creative collaborator, risk-taker and inspiring activist. Cheri sees both her political career and ministry as about using her voice for the marginalized.
Cheri is a strong, theologically-grounded preacher and brings both experience and ideas for using the arts in worship, and in programs for spiritual nurture for all ages. She hopes her work with TSP will open our doors wide for new people. Like us, she envisions that we will be a child-friendly place and that we will reach out to the most marginalized in our community, including all in our decision-making processes. She brings with her an extensive knowledge and familiarity with the denominational, religious and political communities with which we will continue to work to promote and animate a better world and future for all.
Essentially, Cheri recognizes the need for people’s spiritual hunger to be fed – by deepening relationships with each other, and by deepening our faith in Christ.
The Search Committee believes that, with Cheri’s leadership, energy and passion, we will be able to concretize more fully, our vision of being a Centre for Faith, Justice and the Arts – a place of hope, compassion and new life for our larger community and for ourselves.
Welcome to Kaylyn Munro!
A warm welcome to our new Children’s Church Coordinator, Kaylyn Munro. Kaylyn has recently moved to Toronto from British Columbia in order to attend Ryerson University. Her responsibilities are to coordinate the Children’s Church program and to support and encourage the teachers and volunteers as they creatively implement the vision of Trinity-St. Paul’s for the children of our faith community. Kaylyn brings experience as a youth and children’s leader and staff for BC Conference of the United Church as well as Dunbar-Ryerson United Church in Vancouver. Kaylyn offers lots of energy and enthusiasm to our Children’s Church program which is so ably anchored by our teachers Martha Silva and Julia Kim. As well as the responsibilities of Coordinator, Kaylyn will be working with the Tweens group on Sunday mornings. Please introduce yourself and help her feel welcome to our TSP community.
Betsy Anderson and Mary Simpson, Co-Chairs of WAFF
Message from the Church Administrator
Welcome back, TSP! So much excitement in the air as we return from our summer. I want to congratulate the Search Committee on their wonderful work in calling our new minister, Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo. This is great news and an auspicious sign of good things to come!
I also want to thank Rev. Judith Gilliland for her time with us, and the guidance she provided in my role as Church Administrator. I wish her well in her new ministry!
I would also like to welcome supply ministers Rev. Joan Wyatt and Rev. Dr. Peter Wyatt! For some, they are already familiar faces. I am pleased to work with Joan as she supports me in my role.
In preparing for Cheri’s arrival, I am working to make the transition as smooth as possible, as she will bring with her exciting new opportunities to engage the broader community. The Communication team is working in collaboration with Linda Padfield, our Board secretary, to design an accessible, user-friendly guide to action. In the spirit of “bubbling up”, we encourage people to run with their ideas. But where do you run? It can be a daunting task to figure out how to navigate the labyrinth of policies and processes, and we hope to simplify that. By creating a list of “frequently asked questions”, we are answering some of those questions and mapping out a clear path from Point A to Point B. I hope this will support and encourage action from our community!
Finally, I would like to thank each of you. Every person in this place has contributed their gifts and makes TSP a wonderful, vibrant place to call home. I’m excited about the future!
Walk in peace, Jared Scratch, Church Administrator
The Lois Fallis Handbell Choir by Ann Rowland
With great anticipation I write this, as we prepare for the beginning of a new chapter in the life of TSP.
Last June, Betsy Anderson asked me if I would be interested in starting up a Handbell Choir in honour of Lois Fallis. I was indeed interested, as I had been contemplating the possibility of creating a handbell choir for several years.
To honour Lois in this way was indeed a most important criteria. Lois had been a mentor to me, as I struggled to gain my Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Music Education from the Royal Conservatory of Music and Ryerson University as a mature student.
Through my participation in the North Lakeshore Chorus, I became acquainted with individuals associated with the Ontario Guild of English Handbell Ringers, and had already inquired about participation. Since handbells are usually associated with church services, there are no community groups to join. However, when the idea of beginning a hand bell choir at TSP became a definite possibility, the path became clear.
During the summer, Anne Nikkel, Maureen McKay Thomson, Sandi Hill and I became members of the Ontario Guild of English Handbell Ringers (OGEHR). Through this membership, I was encouraged to secure the borrowing of a three octave set of Malmark handbells that had become available. I was also encouraged to become acquainted with the other supports available: workshops, music lending, peer support, connections provincially.
Building Manager Kendra Fry remained persistent in arranging the back-up resources needed to secure the borrowing of the bells.
The handbells are here and we will begin practicing Sunday October 15, 2017 after church from approximately noon to 1:00 p.m. in the Memorial Room. We need a space that is wheelchair accessible and large enough to accommodate up to 22 ringers.
Each week will involve setting up, putting away, which is in itself a substantial undertaking, as tables, table pads, cases of bells, music, all need to be securely locked up. I am asking for your patience and support as we work through the logistics of starting the Lois Fallis Handbell Choir, in an historical space used by many.
All are welcome, to this inter-generational opportunity to contribute to another way of making music at Trinity-St. Paul’s.
Thank you for your support.
Initial Steps Toward the Glass Surround
On September 27th, the undersigned trustees submitted our report to the full Trustee Board on our consultation with TSP congregation members’ response to a Glass Surround being added onto the Northeast entryway. This proposal had come to TSP from our partner, Tafelmusik, who offered to cover all the installation costs. Both the Church Board and BMB had referred the initial decision to the TSP Trustees, who have responsibility for all major decisions affecting the building.
At least fifty (50) TSP members have shared their responses to this proposal – and to a mock-up photo – over the summer and after services on three Sundays in September. These soundings included an open gathering of interested members on September 24th.
Forty-five members responded positively to an in principle further exploration of this concept by the architects. Twenty (20) liked the design as it was presented; twenty-five (25) approved in principle, but had reservation/suggestions large and small; five (5) were negative about the whole project. For the 25 with some reservations, there were three areas of concern:
- Design: 11 found the photo too boxy and preferred a curved roof complementing the existing curve over the existing door; 2 were concerned about heating and ventilation sources; 3 preferred a ramp or more accessibility.
- Social Impact: 3 felt this design might dislodge street people from these steps; 3 were concerned that it might block the use of our banners; 3 had concerns for that part of the front garden; 1 felt it should express our TSP support for aboriginal lands.
- Other: 3 foresaw concerns for graffiti and/or ongoing maintenance.
Taking all these comments into consideration, we recommended to the Trustees that they approve the concept of a glass surround in principle; that a new design consider the feedback from the TSP congregation (listed above), including assessment of maintenance cost and dangers of vandalism or graffiti; and that the new design allow passersby to see into the church.
After some discussion, the Trustees voted to accept this recommendation.
Next Stages: The Trustees have reported this decision to Tafelmusik and the ERA architects. The Tafelmusik Board will now need to approve a similar approval in principle, so that the architects can get to work on their plans and costing, in preparation for a final stage approval. At this point, it is not clear if construction will take place during the summer of 2018.
We will keep the Trustees, the other TSP Boards and the congregation informed of any progress.
Trustees’ Consultation Task Group: David Craig, Alison Mackay, Bob Fugere
Update on BMB’S Summer
Summertime is usually the time BMB’s staff focuses on renovations and improvements to the TSP building, since we have fewer renters and our staff get to take their holidays. This last summer, however, has been a bit different, mostly positive. We’ve had more casual renters and no major calamities (like accidental basement flooding or Chapel ceiling cave-ins). We’ll give you a summary of those accomplishments, fill you in on our staff, and then outline the main directions we are working on during this fall.
The main renovation focus was on the first-floor bathrooms (financed by Tafelmusik) during late July and August. We’ve had several compliments on the work that I and the contractors carried out. These were appreciated. The Front Office was also fully renovated along with VIVA’s office floor, much of this by Jon Dubay and Lee Tiffany (our Maintenance men). New carpeting was installed in the Memorial Room. As well (not a BMB project), Janet Mairs and her TSP volunteers painted and re-organized the Minister and Church Secretary’s offices. At TMK’s request, we had the North and South cupola windows re-opened to provide at least some Sanctuary draft. To control the sudden downpours – and overflows – on the South side, we replaced the downspouts.
With some other TSP volunteers, we hosted the Annex Family Festival in June and the Annex Ratepayers’ Tour in September. In mid-August we hosted a delegation from Kingston Road United Church to explore our renovations and to explain how we were managing to finally cover most of our operational and Major Items budget. Such groups continue to drop in to learn from our TSP experience.
In response to Annex Montessori’s (AM) request to expand their basement space, we asked three smaller office holders to find other accommodation and they agreed to move out October 1st. AM’s contract has been renewed for five more years and their new space will be prepared this fall.
Our main staff (10 persons) continue to perform very well. Jeff McAllister has taken on the role of Head Custodian, (scheduling, training and supervising). The staff regularly respond to the street folks that seek TSP assistance. On October 15th, they will be further trained by St. John’s Ambulance in first aid and CPR and discuss a congregant’s proposal to include a defibrillator and a naxalone kit for emergency use. Jared Scratch, and staff of TMK, AM and Toronto Consort will be joining in this training.
As we cannot fail to mention, the work of our General Manager, Kendra Fry continues to be crucial in planning and supervising all of the above activities. Our deep thanks.
Directions for the Future
Of course, the Fifth Year Review of the BMB’s role within TSP (as mandated by the Administrative Agreement) is underway with representatives of the Church Board, the Trustees, and the BMB working at that. We hope that the congregation and the many other users of our TSP Centre will take this opportunity to both appreciate what we have together accomplished and suggest new ways we can contribute to our surrounding community.
The Building Management Board is working on outlining the directions that we can contribute. Over the past several years we have put in place most of the structural and mechanical improvements cited in the 2006 engineering report (except the most expensive one of shifting from steam to hot water heating system). Two up-to-date engineering reports are being prepared for the Trustees & BMB. In the meantime, our newest member – Don Willms -is laying out several options to improve our environmental practices and impacts which we will consider.
One last reminder as we end this update. For any of TSP’s members or building residents/users who have compliments or complaints or specific suggestions, we have long provided a written form at the Front Office for such messages. Please request that form, make your comment and we will get back to you.
Susan Craig, Bob Fugere, Lorna Niebergall, Don Willms, and Kendra Fry (the BMB)
Thank You Once Again from the Renewing Spirit 125 Team
On November 29, members of the Renewing Spirit 125 Capital Campaign team gathered for dinner at the home of Betsy Anderson to celebrate the wonderful achievements of the 2012 Anniversary Capital Campaign. We had reached the five-year mark for all the pledges, amounting to $392,516. All but $3,694 of these 116 pledges came through, which is an astounding statistic for a capital campaign.
The total raised was $493,859 of which $101,343 were contributions (not pledges). The Trustees stewarded our capital campaign donations and Bob and Alison Savaria kept track of the details and sent thank you letters, right to the end. Thank you for the love, generosity and loyalty which allowed TSP to meet its share of the cost of our partnership with Tafelmusik to renew the sanctuary and narthex. We are blessed!
Betsy Anderson and Barbara Lloyd were RS125 Co-chairs with Walter Pitman and Kay Fallis as Honorary Chairs. Allison Savaria, Lynne Brennan, Don Chong and Paul Bagnell made up our hard-working team, led by Michael Cooke, our paid consultant.
Connecting with First Nations of Manitoulin by Lynn Jondreville
On the second Saturday of September, a group of nine people – 2 from TSP, 3 from the Redeemer, 1 from Holy Trinity, and 3 from the wider community – headed up to Manitoulin Island. The trip was organized by the Church of the Redeemer Aboriginal Issues Working Group. The program offered opportunities to meet with First Nations, to learn about their history and culture, and to experience the land. The modern Anishinaabemowin name for Manitoulin Island is Mnidoo Mnis, meaning “Spirit Island”. The island is considered sacred by the Anishinaabe people.
Given that the summer weather up to that point had been pretty disappointing, our hopes were simply that the thermometer wouldn’t dip too far below freezing at night. However, good fortune smiled on us – summer did finally arrive. We basked in day after day of gorgeous sunshine and temperatures in the mid twenties. Most of the group had accommodations in two beautiful cabins on Freer Point, a property owned by the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy.
After a couple of nights in a campground bordered by a mosquito infested swamp, the campers among us pulled up stakes and pitched our tents next to the deluxe amenities of the cabins. Situated on the North Channel of Lake Huron, the place was a little bit of heaven; the water was still warm enough for swimming, and there were canoes and kayaks at our disposal. It was sometimes hard to pull ourselves away from this idyll and get on with our program.
Our first outing was to Wikwemikong, the largest Indigenous community on the island, which proudly states that it is the only unceded reserve in Canada. That may seem like a contradiction, but therein lies a clue to their particular history.
We met our guide at their tourist office. He told us that he was of Odawa heritage, and that his people had traditionally lived on the eastern end of Manitoulin. Up to this point, the name Odawa had been floating around in my head as referring to a historical group, but disconnected from any present-day reality. Now it was firmly rooted in a place and people.
We headed off with him to a lookout overlooking Manitowaning Bay. This was the site of a treaty gathering of all the Indigenous communities on the island back in 1836. The Lieutenant Governor at the time was Sir Francis Bond Head. Bond Head subscribed to the view that “Indians were a doomed race” who need to be protected from white civilization. What he proposed at the gathering was that the crown would “relinquish” its claim to the islands (Manitoulin and all the islands on the north shore of Lake Huron) if the local peoples would agree to establishing them as a place where all Indian peoples could come and live totally separate from the “Whites.” Our guide noted that it came as a surprise to them that the crown had any claim on their islands, but they agreed to Bond Head’s proposal. In the crown’s view, it became a “reserve”. In the native peoples’ understanding, it recognized that the land was theirs – in today’s terms “unceded.”
Bond Head had ulterior motives of course, as opposed to the notion that he was simply looking after the well being of native peoples. His goal was to remove the peoples, who were living on the land south of the Bruce Peninsula, so that it could be opened up to settlement. Our guide noted that in fact, very few native peoples did take up the offer to move to Manitoulin.
Fast forward to the year 1862, less than 30 years later. While native peoples from elsewhere had not been interested in moving to Manitoulin, other people were. The colonial government now wanted to reverse their earlier commitment and open up Manitoulin island to settlement. They needed a clear legal cession of the land. Our guide noted that the government argued the position that because the native peoples didn’t cultivate the land, they didn’t really own it.
So, another gathering of all the peoples of the island was convened. The Wikwemikong community, the largest group on the island, was adamantly opposed to giving up their title, and were supported in this position by the Jesuits. At the beginning of negotiations, the native peoples were united, and outright rejected the government’s proposal. Negotiations were recessed by the government. Our guide noted that the Wikwemikong representatives returned home at that point – it was harvest time and they had work to do.
In the absence of the Wikwemikong representatives, the government went ahead and signed a treaty with the smaller communities, allotting them small parcels of land. Divide and conquer. The Wikwemikong never signed the 1862 treaty, and so retain their unceded title to their land agreed to in the treaty of 1836, including all the islands in Georgian Bay.
Next on the tour we visited the site of the Jesuit mission, and the ruins of the residential school. Stay tuned for the next instalment of our Manitoulin trip diary.
Manitoulin Adventure by Darlene Varaleau
In September, Lynn Jondreville and Darlene Varaleau joined the Redeemer Anglican Church’s “Adventures in Learning” program to experience indigenous history, culture, and spirituality on Manitoulin Island. The journey couldn’t have been more successful.
Our day with Odowa elder, Sunny Osawabine, was definitely the highlight of our trip, as we basked in his warm smile, deep knowledge, and great story telling. Sunny advised us to listen only to elders, who welcome everyone as indigenous wisdom is “for all our relations” including settlers, he said quietly. He then guided us up Dreamer’s Rock…one of the most powerful ceremonial sites in northern Ontario.
Our week on Manitoulin Island also provided other treasures including an introduction to the Three Fires Confederacy-Ojibwe, Odawa and Pottawatomi—and the history of the unceded territory of Wiikwemkoong. We were guided by an archaeologist through a dig that revealed thousands of years of history on Manitoulin. Our guide through the Ojibwe Cultural Centre introduced us to smudging and a medicine garden in addition to the longest running art institute by and for Anishinaabek peoples. And we toured the Debajehmujig Creation Center (the first and only professional theatre company on a reserve in Canada) and learned of their transformation from live theater to digital media.
When we were not being regaled with indigenous wisdom, history and culture…we had the pure pleasure of a beautiful cottage on a quiet lake; a week of solid sun; great swimming; and great food.
Our journey was pure Magic…pure magic on a magical island.
The life and Work of my “Big Brother”, Rhodes Thompson by Jeanne Moffat
On August 13, 2017 my brother, Rhodes Thompson Jr., died in Claremont, California following a long journey with Alzheimer’s disease. His death came peacefully and all of us in his family felt relieved for him and for his wife/partner, Lois, his three children, and four grandchildren. On October 22nd all of us in his extended family will gather to celebrate his life. There will be many wonderful moments filled with emotion, gratitude, honesty, and laughter, as we think of his years among us!
Rhodes was the oldest of five children (I am the youngest). Our middle sibling had died as a young child before I was born, so this is the first death among the siblings that I know and love. It has been a very reflective time this past month, looking through family pictures and reading his letters to me over the years, along with perusing some of his own life’s work—a few of his sermons and addresses and his book on “Stewards Shaped by Grace”. Rhodes had been a very active justice-seeker throughout his ministry in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the USA and long into his retirement years. He and Lois worked on such issues as race relations, peace and justice, welfare reform, housing, probation and parole, etc. His ministry encompassed pastorates in the southern and midwest USA, a four-year mission appointment in Japan, leadership in seminars in various countries of the world, several years as associate professor of preaching and practical theology in the graduate seminary at Phillips University in Enid , Oklahoma, a national Board member of Habitat for Humanity, and many other things. He LOVED his work and life in the ministry.
His stewardship principle, a guiding force in his life, is described by him in one of his sermons:
This may give us all something to think about in our Season for Commitment!
Among Rhodes’ papers was an address he presented in St. Louis on Jan. 20, 1976, entitled “Swords into Plowshares: A Call to Peace Conversion”. It was the bicentennial of the USA and Rhodes was calling on his fellow citizens to address the “inversion” in their thinking which had “distorted vision and infected reasoning”. Following many examples of this “inversion”, he called for a “conversion”, a “spiritual and moral change attending a change in belief with conviction”, again with many examples of what that would look like. He ended by quoting a poem entitled “America First” by G. Ashton Oldham (Episcopalian Bishop of Albany, NY), written in 1922 and delivered in a sermon of the same title at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. in 1924. Imagine my surprise and delight to find this in Rhodes’ sermon! I am SURE he would be quoting this right now if he were living. (I found a July 2007 post online by David Walsh about G. Ashton Oldham, in which he notes: “The America First movement was a rabid isolationist initiative, a social and political belief that we should stay away from all foreign encounters….Oldham’s message was a …call to transform ourselves into a nation that is first in ‘things of the spirit’ rather than ‘treading again the old, worn, bloody pathway which ends inevitably in chaos and disaster’.”
I end with the poem, “America First” (1922) by Bishop Oldham:
America first, not only in things material, but in things of the spirit.
Not merely in science, invention, motors, skyscrapers, but also in ideals, principles, character.
Not merely in the calm assertion of rights, but in the glad assumption of duties
Not flouting her strength as a giant, but bending in helpfulness over a sick and wounded world like a Good Samaritan.
Not in splendid isolation, but in courageous cooperation.
Not in in pride, arrogance, and disdain of other races and peoples, but in sympathy, love, and understanding.
Not in treading again the old, worn, bloody pathway which ends inevitably in chaos and disaster, but blazing a new trail along which, please God, other nations will follow into the new Jerusalem where wars shall be no more.
Some day, some nation must take that path—unless we are to lapse into utter barbarism—and that honor I covet for my beloved America.
And so in the spirit and with these hopes, I say with all my heart and soul, “America First”.
Well done, big brother! May you rest in the peace of God that passes all understanding. And may we all take up the challenge to live our lives as best we can to seek justice in the world.
Love and peace, Jeanne
P.S. To friends in Trinity St. Paul’s Church, I am thinking of hosting a conversation in my home for those of you who wish to hear more of my reflections on Rhodes. If you are interested, let me know.
What Does the Roll Clerk Do?
The Roll Clerk keeps the official United Church of Canada (UCC) Historic Roll book up to date. The Historic Roll assigns a number to every member who belongs to the UCC. Members are assigned this number when they join TSP or transfer into it. Associate members are not assigned a number because they belong to the congregation, but not UCC.
In the TSP Directory, members are noted with an asterisk. The Directory and the Roll are used to compile the annual statistical reports for UCC and for TSP. Baptisms, Marriages, and Transfers in and out, and Deaths are recorded as prescribed by UCC policies and procedures. The Roll Clerk works closely with the Minister and with the Church Administrator to ensure the information is accurate.
What does the Member Coordinator do?
The Member Coordinator keeps track of members or those interested in becoming members and those who have died or otherwise transferred out of the congregation. The Member Coordinator works with the Administrator and the Congregation to keep contacts (Directory) up to date. The Member Coordinator works with the Minister and people interested in becoming new members of TSP and UCC.
Linda Dawn Pettigrew, Roll Clerk and Member Coordinator
What’s on My Mind by Avil Beckford
I read a lot. I even host a reading challenge where we read the world and read books to develop skills needed for future jobs. There are websites I visit daily to download free books, and a good friend works for a publisher, so I get a lot of books from her. I read books from many genres, and there is nothing like a good murder mystery to keep me engaged.
I have read many good books that I recommend, but over the past year, there are two books that made me stop to think about the role of technology in our lives. I am not against technology. I use technology as a tool to make me more productive. The way that I use my cell phone for instance, is very different from the way that the typical person who attends TSP uses theirs. One friend said to me that I was at one with my phone. That surprised me, but when she explained what she said, I had to agree.
Back to the two books — Game Changer by Douglas E. Richards and The Feed by Nick Clark Windo.
This is a science fiction novel. In the book, there is a technology where you can upload years of broad and deep knowledge into your brain – matrix learning. While I’m reading the book, I’m thinking, this is cool even though it is pure fiction. Or is it? I researched matrix learning, and discovered that it will one day be a reality – and not in the distant future. It is closer than you think. Even though I thought that kind of technology would be cool, I was concerned. Would people bother to read anymore? How would they exploit the technology?
What I loved about the book, is that it looked at the negatives of the technology. In Game Changer, not everyone has access to the technology, you must have a brilliant mind first. And the government decides who has access to the technology. This would be another way to separate people, expanding the technology divide.
This is a science fiction dystopian novel. I found the scenario in the book frightening and unsettling. In the world in which the novel is set, people can stream information, and any information they need, is at their virtual finger tips. Say for instance you are in a restaurant, you do not have to verbally place your order because the waitress can see what you want. And since she has access to your Feed, she does not have to write down your order.
People no longer talk, read, or even take time to learn a new subject. They do not have to because they have the Feed, people can see what you are thinking and vice versa and you can grab any information at any time.
One day the Feed collapses, chaos reigns, and life becomes oppressive. People have to learn to talk since they cannot stream. And if you relied on the Feed completely, you are now at a disadvantage because you are clueless about a lot of things. People become violent because resources are scarce. There are a few issues with the writing, but the scenario in the book, made me pause.
Game Changer and The Feed are two books worth talking about, and even discussing. I read an advanced reader copy of The Feed by Nick Clark Windo, which will be released in March 2018.
VIVA! Youth Singers of Toronto
TSP Organist Brad Ratzlaff and his wife Carol Woodward Ratzlaff are Co-Artistic Directors of VIVA! Youth Singers of Toronto. VIVA!’s five choirs, for ages four through adult, offer members the opportunity to achieve artistic excellence in a singer-centered, collaborative choral community, featuring inclusion and youth mentoring programs.
There is Still Time to Sign Up to Sing in VIVA!’s New Community Choir
New this fall is VIVA!’s Community Choir, an SATB Choir for young adults and mature adults. Membership is by application with no musical audition required.
The VIVA! Community Choir is just that, a unique singing community whose members wish to sing challenging, substantial repertoire with a message of social justice at its core.
A component of this choir is the inclusion of core ECS members (singers with special needs). Core ECS members will join the Community Choir for vocal warm ups. They will receive support from the Community Choir membership and will perform at least one song with the Community Choir at concerts.
Rehearsals are held Mondays from 7:30-8:45 at TSP.
Singers in the Community Choir will receive high quality instruction from Co-Conductors Brad Ratzlaff and Carol Woodward Ratzlaff.
Tuition fees apply for the season which ends with a June 2 Concert.. $220 for Students and Retirees; $320 for Working Adults.
For an application, see Carol or Brad or email VIVA!’s Manager Susan Suchard –email@example.com
VIVA!’s Upcoming Events
Sunday November 5 Peace Concert – 3pm, Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity St. Paul’s Centre. VIVA!’s Chamber/Community/ECS Choirs present a 45 minute Peace Concert. Donations at the door. This will be a silent concert. (No applause.)
VIVA!’s Annual Poinsettia Fundraising Sales Campaign
Monday December 4 – Poinsettia Pickup in the Trinity St. Paul’s Narthex from 11:30AM to 7PM.
For an order form: firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-788-8482.
Celebrating the May long weekend with Botros and Niro by Lynn Jondreville
On the long weekend in May, I introduced Botros and his friend Niro to that quintessential Canadian experience – “going to the cottage.” Of course, sitting in traffic on the way out of the city is an inescapable part of the ritual, and we were not spared that ordeal. Five hours later we arrived at Green Bay, north of Kingston. Fortunately, we were spared the ordeal of the black flies – it was a sparkling, bug free, picture perfect spring day.
We were soon on the water in a row boat. Niro captured every entertaining moment on her iPhone as Botros gamely learned to master this new skill. We capped the day off barbequing burgers on the deck as the sun set. City boy that he is, Botros allowed that it would be a good idea to cut down the trees that were blocking our view of the water. I set him straight on that.
Sunday’s forecast was cool and rainy, so we headed off to Ottawa to join the crowds ogling the tulips (and taking the requisite selfies). Botros and Niro spotted a family group they recognized as South Sudanese and had a brief chat. After a quick tour of the downtown landmarks (including a fleeting drive- by- glimpse of the Prime Minister’s house) we ended up in the market for lunch. Having them try a Montreal smoke meat sandwich was high on my list of things to do, so we headed to Dunn’s Deli.
Part way through the meal, our attention was drawn to a group of teenagers hanging around on the sidewalk in front of us. It soon became clear they were dealing in pills of some sort, so for the next half hour or so, we sat mesmerized as this illicit drama unfolded – pitiful drug addicted buyers, tough looking older man supervising the operation, and the teenagers seemingly out for an afternoon lark – all played out in the heart of trendy Byward market. Oh, the attractions the tourist brochures fail to alert you to.
Monday the weather began to improve, but was still on the cool side as you can deduce from the picture. We raised our glasses to Queen Victoria and to the beginning of a promising summer. After dinner, I stretched out on the dock to absorb every bit of the natural serenity before we headed back to the city. When it came time to leave, I went looking for my companions. I found them in the cottage, heat cranked up, absorbed in their iPhones. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water…
Sponsorship Update: Our sponsorship of Botros was officially over as of the end of August. He has expressed his deep gratitude for the support of the congregation. He will be in an adult school program for one more year, improving his English language skills. While his employment with the painting company ended (it went out of business), his skill set is highly marketable, so he doesn’t anticipate any problems supporting himself.
About the TSP Times
More info at https://www.facebook.com/events/127356434672793/
This year Trinity – St. Paul’s United (TSP) marks our 35th anniversary. We are celebrating 35 years of a vital, active, and engaged presence for faith, justice and the arts on Bloor Street.
Our congregation was created from two historic faith communities, Trinity United and St. Paul’s – Avenue Road United churches. Both congregations had deep roots dating to the 1880s in evangelism, community outreach, and international mission and partnerships
By the 1970s, the changing nature and demographics of downtown Toronto led United Church members and leaders to re imagine the role and future of congregations in our neighborhood. It was out of these discussions that modern day TSP emerged.
At the time the St. Paul’s – Avenue Road building was sold. The revenues were invested in different initiatives including renovating Trinity United and creating the St. Paul’s Centre at Trinity. This venture was new and bold for downtown congregations. It was declared at the time “We believe that the new Trinity – St. Paul’s concept is an imaginative use of historic resources, current assets and future hopes.”
Thirty-five years later TSP strives to faithfully live into the future imagined by those who were there at its founding and who are part of its present. When asked recently about why they are a part of the TSP community, here are what some people said:
- I come because all kinds of believers, non- believers, all kinds of Christians and non Christians and people of other faiths are welcome
- We really struggle to live out in equal parts faith, justice, and the arts
- The music nourishes my soul
- I walk away feeling hopeful and alive
- There is always some new kid to be with
- It is a good time
- TSP is supportive of the disability community
- We support and walk with people who are struggling
- I love the sense of social justice throughout the worship and work of the congregation
- TSP is geared to helping the community
- TSP challenges the status quo
- There is an intense feeling of people who have a faith that is profound and makes a difference in lives.
As we build our future, we draw support and insight from words found in a history of TSP published in 1987. At the time, the people of TSP wrote:
“The tools of life and faith are in our hands, the avenues of prayer and planning both belong to us. Then let our future embrace two views: one is the personal and communal nurturing offered by rich worship and deep caring, the other is an unswerving desire to face the suffering and dysfunctions of our contemporary world, and to bring it to the love and justice of God.”
Herein is wisdom. Thanks be to God!
The Rev. Dr. Susan Mabey
After leaving TSP Susan Mabey became the pastor of Christos Metropolitan Community Church. While serving that congregation, Susan earned her Dr. of Ministry, in 1999. She met and married her wife, Katherine in 1994, and together they welcomed their daughter Anna in 2001. Meanwhile, their son, Aaron Miller (who was baptized by Bill Phipps at TSP) was ordained in the United Church and is serving the congregation of University Hill in Vancouver. Aaron and his wife, Kate, have blessed Susan and Katherine with two amazing grandsons, Levi and Jude. Susan left Christos MCC in 2001 to pursue a career in teaching. She currently teaches a grade 1/2 class at Thorncliffe Park Public school. Last year, Susan was the recipient of the Craig Chaplin Memorial award for her work at school during the parent protest against the new sex-ed curriculum. (For fuller description see: https://myjourneywithaids.wordpress.com/tag/rev-dr-susan-mabey/)
The Very Rev Dr. Bill Phipps
After leaving TSP Bill Phipps became the executive secretary of Alberta and Northwest Conference, 1983-93. He then served as Minister at Scarboro United Church Calgary, 1993-2007, with time out to be moderator of the United Church of Canada, 1997-2000. He retired in 2007. Bill’s major involvements these days are: Living into Right Relations, following up to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Climate Change and the Peace Prize and Fundraising Committee of the Consortium for Peace Studies at the University of Calgary. Bill is married to writer Carolyn Pogue who writes a twice-monthly blog for the UCC Observer. Bill’s daughter Sarah lives in Toronto, his son Jeremy lives in Winnipeg, and his step-daughter Andrea lives in Yellowknife. He has four grandchildren living in Toronto and Yellowknife. (For fuller description see: http://www.audiefox.ca/feature-profile-the-very-rev-bill-phipps/)
Search Committee Announces New Minister for Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church – Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo
From the Search Committee
A formal meeting of our community of faith was held on Sunday Sept. 17, 2017. After the presentation of their report by members of the Search Committee, members agreed by vote to the following: to extend a call to Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo effective Jan. 1, 2018 as per the terms that were outlined in the report; to request that Toronto Conference approve this call; and that the Search Committee be disbanded following the covenanting service with our sincere thanks. There will be an opportunity to meet Cheri during and after the service on Oct 1, 2017. Please pray for Cheri and for all of us as a community of faith as we open our hearts and minds to each other’s ministry in this new pastoral relationship.
Opportunities in the next few months to see and hear our new minister, Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo
- Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram for: excerpts from an Anglican conference in Jamaica in early October on LGBTQ issues; streamed TED talk given at The Brickworks on Oct 27; CBC Ideas on “Gender Wars” airing in Nov.; TVO Political Blind Date airing in Nov.
- Tune in to her Youtube channel.
- Read her book, Querying Evangelism: Growing A Community From the Outside In, Pilgrim Press.
Cheri’s announcement on CBC Metro Morning
September 21, 2017
Press Conference announcing Cheri’s next steps
September 20, 2017
Letters from the Heart: An Overnight Retreat based on the Letters of Henri Nouwen
A Time Apart to Deepen Our Spiritual Live
Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) is described by Richard Rohr, OFM, as one of the great spiritual writers of the 20th century. Through his thirty-nine books, including The Return of the Prodigal Son and The Wounded Healer, he gave us a vocabulary for contemporary spirituality and formation. In addition to a prolific writing and teaching career, Nouwen, a Dutch Catholic priest, received over 16 000 letters in his life-time and answered each letter with a pastor’s heart. We will draw on some of his pastoral letters – letters about such aspects of the spiritual life as suffering, the nature of God, spiritual disciplines, life transitions, gratitude, trust – and reflect on how these letters speak to our lives today. Participants will share in small groups with regular intervals, if desired, for solitude, reflection, writing and labyrinth walking.
The retreat will be led by TSP members Barbara Lloyd, an experienced retreat leader, and Gabrielle Earnshaw, Nouwen’s archivist and editor of Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life (Random House, 2016).
Begins with registration on Friday October 27 at 6:00 p.m. and the program begins at 7:00; Ends 4 p.m. Saturday October 28. Participants must commit to attend the full program but a commuter option is available for those who cannot stay overnight at the Convent.
Fee $100 (includes accommodation for one night, breakfast and lunch); $50.00 commuter fee (includes lunch)
Assistance is available for those for whom the cost is prohibitive. Please speak to Betsy Anderson for more information.
The retreat will take place at St. John’s Convent Guest House of the Sisterhood of St. John of the Divine, an Anglican religious community and peaceful oasis in North York (Finch/Yonge St.). Rooms are single and shared bathrooms are down the hall. The SSJD community gathers for prayer four times a day and we are invited to join if we choose. In keeping with the rhythms of the convent, meals will be taken in silence. Participants may choose to stay for the evening meal and Compline on the Saturday. If so, an additional charge of $10 can be paid at the time of registration.
St. John’s Convent Guest House (The Sisterhood of St. John of the Divine)
233 Cummer Avenue
Toronto, ON M2M 2E8
How to Register
- Print and Complete the Registration Form at https://goo.gl/kyNoxL
- Submit completed Registration Form and Cheque to Betsy Anderson, Ann Rowland, Barbara Lloyd or Gabrielle Earnshaw
There are 20 spots available for this retreat. Registration is on a first come basis. The retreat is open to all members and adherents of TSP. A completed Registration Form and cheque will secure your spot. In the event the retreat is under-subscribed we will open the retreat to the wider community. In the event the retreat is over-subscribed we will consider offering the retreat again in the Spring.
Cheques are to be made out to: Trinity St. Paul’s United Church
Registration Deadline: October 1, 2017
Planners: Betsy Anderson, Barbara Lloyd, Gabrielle Earnshaw and Ann Rowland. Please contact Gabrielle Earnshaw, email@example.com for more information.
10th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Canada needs a legislative framework to fulfill the promise of this vital human rights instrument – UBCIC
Posted by Ubcic on September 13, 2017
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides a crucial framework to achieve reconciliation. Such a human rights-‐based approach is essential to address the racism and discrimination that has caused such profound harm to Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world. Violations include uprooting Indigenous peoples from their territories and resources, failure to honour Treaties, tearing Indigenous children from their families, and making Indigenous women, girls and two-‐ spirited people the targets of unimaginable violence.
The adoption of the UN Declaration ten years ago today – on September 13, 2007 – was a crucial victory in the evolution of international human rights law. This historic achievement was possible because Indigenous peoples persisted for more than two decades in advancing a strong and powerful vision of self-‐determination, decolonization and non-‐discrimination.
The adoption of the Declaration was also made possible because, by the end of this process, influential states including Canada had finally come to accept the necessity and urgency of a new relationship with Indigenous peoples.
The UN General Assembly has unanimously reaffirmed the Declaration on three separate occasions, calling for full implementation at national and international levels.
Fulfilling this commitment requires meaningful and lasting changes to eliminate discriminatory laws, policies and practices and to ensure Indigenous peoples make their own decisions about their lives and futures.
Yet, a decade after the adoption of the Declaration, Canada still lacks concrete and effective mechanisms to uphold its provisions. This is despite many positive statements from the current government committing to fully implement the Declaration.
Last month, the United Nations’ top anti-‐racism body, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, strongly supported Indigenous peoples in urging Canada to adopt a legislative framework and national action plan to implement the UN Declaration.
A private members bill expected to come before the House of Commons this fall for second reading – Bill C-‐262 introduced by MP Romeo Saganash – contains elements of such a framework. This includes: repudiation of colonialism and doctrines of superiority; affirmation that the standards set out in the UN Declaration have application in Canadian law; and review and reform of federal legislation to ensure consistency with the minimum standards set out in the UN Declaration. In addition, the Bill requires that a national action plan be developed in partnership with Indigenous peoples.
By approaching implementation of the Declaration through a legislative framework, there is greater assurance that crucial progress made will not be undone by a future government. Our organizations and Nations call on the federal government to embrace and build on the key elements of implementation already set out in Bill C-‐262.
We appreciate that full implementation of the Declaration requires long-‐term commitment and collaboration. As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission repeatedly reminded us, “reconciliation is going to take hard work.”
This is the time to act. Public responses to the TRC’s Calls to Action demonstrate a profound desire among Canadians to build a just relationship between Indigenous peoples and non-‐Indigenous Canadians. As the TRC itself stated, the Declaration provides the framework for doing so. However, putting this framework into place requires more than fine words. It requires concrete, effective action.
The Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Statement endorsed by:
Amnesty International Canada; Amnistie internationale Canada francophone; Assembly of First Nations; Assemblée des Premières Nations Québec-‐Labrador and Assembly of First Nations Quebec-‐Labrador; British Columbia Assembly of First Nations; Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers); Confederacy of Treaty 6; First Nations Summit; Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee); Indigenous Bar Association; Indigenous World Association; KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives; Métis Nation; MiningWatch Canada; Native Women’s Association of Canada; Nunavut Tunngavik; Oxfam Canada; Oxfam-‐Québec; Quebec Native Women/Femmes Autochtones du Québec; Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs
We are called to unity in action and costly solidarity for a just peace.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because [God] has annointed me
to bring good news to the poor…
to proclaim release to the captives…
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
(Luke 4:18–19 / Isaiah 61:1–2)
Imagine living in your own homeland with no real status. Your movements are controlled by an occupying army, your homes and crops threatened with demolition. Palestinians live under this constant pressure every day, and seek a just peace for a free and abundant future.
June 2017 marks 50 years since the end of the Six-Day War and the beginning of Israeli military occupation in the West Bank. The occupation continues to stifle the aspirations of Palestinians for freedom, dignity, and independence, and to threaten hopes for peace with justice for all people in the region.
In this place where Jesus walked on the earth, walls now separate families, imprisoning those within in a deepening cycle of violence and despair. The occupation has already stolen two generations’ lives, and subsequent generations continue to feel hopelessness and rage.
Luke 4:18–19 describes the year of Jubilee, during which God expects and demands justice to be done. In this Jubilee year, the prophetic voice of the church must not be weaker, but rather stronger. United Church partner Kairos Palestine asks us: “Are you able to help us get our freedom back, for this is the only way you can help the two peoples attain justice, peace, security and love?”
Fifty years of occupation is enough. We are called to unity in action and costly solidarity for a just peace.
- Mark 50 years of occupation and pray for peace with justice in June.
- Write to The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and your member of Parliament. Ask that the Canadian government
- live out its stated policy on Palestine and Israel, including pressuring the Israeli government to cease all settlement activity
- intensify diplomatic efforts for a just and lasting peace based on UN resolutions and international law
- Share this Take Action on your social media networks. Use the hashtags #UCCan, #50years, #Israel, #Palestine, #SpiritOfPeace.
- Participate in a “Come and See” tour of the region. Future opportunities will be posted on the UCC website.
The United Church of Canada has a long history of working with others to seek peace with justice in Israel and Palestine. This work is rooted in the gospel mandate to be peacemakers and in response to the calls of Palestinian and Israeli partners. Violent acts such as the killing of both Palestinian and Israeli civilians, use of excessive force by Israeli police and army against protesters, extrajudicial killings, and collective punishment are obstacles to a just and lasting peace.
The United Church continues to ask the federal government to live out its stated policy on Palestine and Israel, including recognizing
- the illegality of Israeli settlements
- violations posed by the route of the Separation Wall
- the importance of a negotiated resolution to the conflict
For more information about current activities, see Unsettling Goods: Choose Peace in Palestine and Israel.
Send your letters and e-mails to:
The Hon. Chrystia Freeland
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
The Conservative Party
New Democratic Party
Green Party of Canada
Your member of Parliament—you can find your MP’s email or postal address by entering your postal code on the Parliament of Canada website.
Send copies of your letters and e-mails to:
Program Coordinator, Public Witness
416-231-7680 ext. 4078
1-800-268-3781 ext. 4078
For more information, contact:
Team Leader, Church in Partnership
416-231-7680 ext. 4018
1-800-268-3781 ext. 4018
The United Church respects the decision of the federal government to apologize to Omar Khadr.
The United Church of Canada respects the decision of the federal government to apologize to Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen, for its role in his ordeal that began with his detention by the United States in Afghanistan.
Since 2008, the United Church has written to the federal government on several occasions regarding the miscarriage of justice in the treatment of Omar Khadr, who was 15 years old when he was detained and considered a child soldier under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Canada is a signatory. At that time, the church requested that an independent review of the Canadian government’s involvement in Khadr’s detention be implemented.
In a unanimous ruling in 2010, the Supreme Court found Khadr’s human rights were being violated at Guantanamo Bay:
“The deprivation of [Khadr’s] right to liberty and security of the person is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice,” the court ruled.
“The interrogation of a youth detained without access to counsel, to elicit statements about serious criminal charges while knowing that the youth had been subjected to sleep deprivation and while knowing that the fruits of the interrogations would be shared with the prosecutors, offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects.”
There is much brokenness in this story. However, as followers of Christ, we find our hope in the power of restorative justice to mend deep divisions between individuals, peoples, and nations.
Source: United Church Responds to Khadr Apology | The United Church of Canada