Jared Scratch

About Jared Scratch

Jared Scratch is the Church Administrator for the congregation of Trinity-St. Paul's United Church and updates this website on a regular basis.

Ascension Sunday – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Ascension Sunday – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Sunday, May 13 2018

Ascension Sunday

Stewardship Sunday

Matthew 6:19-21, Psalm 121, 2 Corinthians 9:6-14, Acts 2:44-47

by Paul Stott


GPTG 30 – For Brightly Greening Spring (2011)

Hymn poet Adam Tice was born in Boynton, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Alabama, Oregon, and Indiana. After graduating from high school in Elkhart, Indiana, he went to nearby Goshen College (BA in music [composition] and minor in Bible and religion, 2002) and then continued his studies at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart (MA in Christian formation, emphasis on worship, 2007). From 2007 to 2012 he served as the associate pastor of Hyattsville Mennonite Church in Hyattsville, Maryland. He has led singing at numerous Mennonite and ecumenical events, including the 2008 Hymn Sing for Peace on the steps of the U.S. Capitol reflecting pool. From 2007 to 2011 he served as Member-at-Large on the Executive of the Hymn Society, and currently serves as editor of the Hymn Society journal, The Hymn. GIA has published four collections of his hymns, Woven Into Harmony (Chicago, 2009), A Greener Place to Grow (Chicago, 2011), Stars Like Grace (Chicago, 2013), and Claim the Mystery (Chicago, 2015). His texts are found in many recent denominational hymnals, including More Voices, where he was first published. This text, from A Greener Place to Grow, celebrates the coming of spring and honours mothers. In a bit of quirky humour, Tice has set it to TERRA BEATA, associated with the text “This is My Father’s World.”
TERRA BEATA (blessed land) was composed by Franklin L. Sheppard in 1915, based on an English melody he learned in childhood from his mother. It bears a strong resemblance to the tune RUSPER, found in The English Hymnal (London, 1906).

MV 196 – We Will Take What You Offer (1998)

Our offertory hymn is a simple but profound chorus of commitment, written and composed by John L. Bell. Bell was born in, resides in, and belongs to Scotland. He is a liturgical composer who writes co-operatively with colleagues in Glasgow; he has a deep interest in music from non-European cultures and a passion for song of the Assembly. Though his primary vocation is as a preacher and teacher, he spends over half his time working in the areas of music and liturgy, both at conferences and in small parishes, and his work takes him frequently into Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and North America. With his colleagues, he has produced over 15 collections of songs and octavos, and a wide range of liturgical materials, particularly for use by lay people. He has also authored a number of collections of sermons and meditations, and is an occasional broadcaster on radio and television.


MV 189 – Jesus, We Are Here (1990)

This hymn, originally in the Shona language serves as prayer response. Author, composer and translator Patrick Matsikenyiri was a key player in the founding of Africa University in Zimbabwe and served there as professor of music and choir director for many years. Since his retirement in 2002, he has been teaching at several U.S. institutions by invitation. His music is published in many hymnals and songbooks and sung in churches everywhere. Matsikenyiri has led workshops and worship services on African music throughout the world.


VU 218 – We Praise You, O God (1902)

This text was written by Julia Cory for a Thanksgiving service at the request of J. Arthur Gibson, her organist at Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City. Gibson sought a new text for this tune, to replace “We Gather Together”, which he called “militaristic and unchristian.” The original 16th century text, known as the “Dutch Hymn of Thanksgiving” was written in celebration of the release of the Netherlands from Spanish rule.
The tune, KREMSER, was arranged by the 17th century Viennese conductor, Eduard Kremser, from a tune published with the earlier text in a 17th century collection of Dutch folk songs. Hymnologist Paul Westermeyer describes KREMSER as a “through-composed tune in four four-measure phrases, just over an octave in range, and with an undulating and introspective character, it drapes over the text in a flowing canopy.”


Sixth Sunday of Easter – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Sixth Sunday of Easter – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Sunday, May 6 2018

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Psalm 98

by Paul Stott


VU 820 – Make a Joyful Noise (1991)

This upbeat setting of Psalm 100 is by Vancouver composer Linea Good, from her collection Stickpeople (1992). Linnea is a well known United Church musician, who tours extensively across Canada. Five of her hymns are in Voices United and ten in More Voices.
The arrangement is by David Kai, who grew up in Toronto attending the Centennial-Japanese United Church. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto, the Humber College music program where he specialized in arranging and composing, and The Centre for Christian Studies. Commissioned as a diaconal minister in 1987, David served in pastoral charges in Birtle, Manitoba, Orleans, Ontario and Ajax, Ontario. David has written hymn tunes and arrangements in collaboration with authors and composers such as Ruth Duck, Linnea Good, Neil Lemke, Pat Mayberry, Jeeva Sam, Doreen Lankshear-Smith and Brian Wren. He was a member of the committee that produced the Voices United hymn book, and also provided music for the Bible Quest curriculum. His hymns and arrangements have appeared in hymn books and collections in Canada, China and the USA.

MV 145 – Draw the Circle Wide (1994)

We continue to use the refrain and first stanza of this hymn with our children before they leave for Childrens’ Church. See previous weeks blogs for additional information about this hymn.


VU 460 – All Who Hunger (1990)

This text by the late Sylvia Dunstan uses the image of manna in the wilderness for the bread of communion. It originally appeared in In Search of Hope and Grace: 40 Hymns and Gospel Songs (Chicago, 1991). Sylvia said she wrote the text after attending the 1990 Hymn Society conference in Charleston, South Carolina. It was here that she became acquainted with shape-note tunes, and when on vacation following the conference she worked out the text while walking up and down Folly Beach, singing the tune HOLY MANNA.
HOLY MANNA was written in the early nineteenth century and was first published in The Columbian Harmony ed. William Moore (Cincinnati, 1825).
The original text by George Askins (d. 1816) for this tune, which provides the tune name, begins:

Brethren, we have met to worship,
And adore the Lord our God;
Will you pray with all your power,
While we try to preach the word?
All is vain unless the Spirit
Of the Holy One comes down;
Brethren pray and holy manna
Will be showered all around.


VU 466 – Eat This Bread (1983)

Our Communion chant was written by Robert J. Batastini, in collaboration with Brother Robert and Jacques Bertier, while he was at the Taizé centre in France in 1983. The text is adapted from
John 6:35. In the Taizé style, it is simple enough to be used in coming to communion without needing a hymn book. Batastini was born in Chicago, studied music education, instrumental music, and church music at DePaul University, and served Roman Catholic churches as organist and choirmaster in several locations in Illinois. He began work at GIA Publications as an editor, later becoming vice president and senior editor. He is a fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.
The setting, EAT THIS BREAD, also called BERTHIER, is by Jacques Berthier, written the afternoon the text was written. He is the composer of much of the Taizé Community music. Born in 1923, he was the son of two organists who were his first teachers. He studied chant, harmony, composition and organ at the César Franck School in Paris. He served as organist at St Ignace Jesuit Church in Paris from 1961 until his death in 1994. He began his work on the Taizé repertoire in the 1970’s.


VU 367 – Come Down, O Love Divine c.1400

The original Italian text was written by Bianco da Siena (c. 1350-c. 1434), a lay member of a 14th-century order, one of approximately 90 hymns that were finally published more than 400 years after his death as Laudi Spirituali [Spiritual Songs] (Lucca, 1851). Siena was the centre for the development of spiritual song, written in the vernacular Italian, and thus intended for the ordinary people. The translator, Richard Frederick Littledale (1833-1890) chose four of the seven original stanzas for his translation, of which three are in common use today. The translation first appeared in The People’s Hymnal (London, 1867). The text emphasises the gift of the Holy Spirit to the individual without any triumphalism, but with a sense of awed, humbled acceptance, not a possession to be boasted about, but a blessing to be cherished.
The tune DOWN AMPNEY is by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Down Ampney is the Gloucestershire village where the composer was born, the son of the vicar there. The tune is one of the few original hymn settings Vaughan Williams created for The English Hymnal (London, 1906) and has ever been identified with this text. Unlike many of his other well-known hymn tunes, this one was composed as a four-part setting, rather than a unison vocal line against a full organ accompaniment.

Third Sunday of Easter – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Third Sunday of Easter – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Sunday, April 15 2018

Third Sunday of Easter

1 John 3:1-7, Psalm 4, Luke 24:36b-48

by Paul Stott


VU 186 – Now the Green Blade Rises (1928)

VU 186 – Now the Green Blade Rises (1928)
Author John Macleod Campbell Crum wrote this text for The Oxford Book of Carols (1928) specifically to create an Easter carol for this tune. Crum was a Church of England clergyman who served from 1929 to 1943 as canon of Canterbury. The text uses the metaphor of plant rebirth to illustrate resurrection rebirth in Jesus and, as Carl Daw points out, as “the essential model for the Christian life; our perpetual need to die to self in order to live for God. This is part of the reason why the final stanza takes the form of an affirmation that we can be brought back to life when our hearts have become cold when we are in grief or pain.”
The tune, NOËL NOUVELET, is a fifteenth century French carol tune in the Dorian mode, and comes to us via the Oxford Book of Carols.


MV 145 – Draw the Circle Wide (1994)

We continue to use this hymn with our children as they leave for church school. Author and composer Gordon Light, retired bishop of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (of British Columbia), is a well-known Canadian musician who composes, plays guitar and sings as a member of the Common Cup Company. Their musical ministry began when Light and the late Ian Macdonald (a United Church Minister), along with founding members Jim Uhrich, and Bob Wallace (also United Church Ministers) served at neighbouring churches in the early ’80’s. In the following decades the group wrote, performed, and recorded together despite living in different corners the country. Scott McDonald & Richard Betts joined the original quartet on bass & drums in the late ’90’s.
This arrangement is by Michael Bloss, Director of Music Ministries at Christ’s Church Cathedral, Hamilton.


VU 179 – Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Give Thanks (1971)

Author and Composer Donald Fishel, a native of Hart, Michigan, wrote this hymn while studying at the University of Michigan School of Music. It was written for the Word of God Community in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The text is a composite of several of Paul’s themes as well as the Easter theme of resurrection. Fishel’s compositions appear in a number of denominational hymn books in North America. Fishel works in music publishing and has been principal flutist in a number of community orchestras, bands and musical theatre productions.


MV 175 – May We But Wait (2004)

Our prayer response is by Will Petricko, who has a Master of Divinity degree from the University of Winnipeg and who serves his community as a spiritual care provider.


VU 697 – O For a World (1987)

This text by Miriam Therese Winter is an escatological vision of Christ’s kindom of justice and peace. It was originally written for the Presbyterian Women’s Triennial Conference at Purdue University in 1982, whose theme was “Nevertheless . . . the Promise.” The version here reflects revisions made by the author in 1987 when recorded by the Medical Mission Sisters. Carl Daw
remarks that the text is in essence a hymnic palimpsest (a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain) written on top of Charles Wesley’s “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing”. Winter is Professor of Liturgy, Worship, Spirituality, and Feminist Studies at Hartford Seminary. A Medical Mission Sister, she has been writing and publishing songs and hymns since Vatican II in the 1960’s. Her early recordings with The Medical Mission Sisters were widely popular, bringing a fresh, dynamic musical context to bible stories and simple songs of faith. Many of her later texts bring feminist theological perspectives to our hymnody, in beautiful poetry and melody. “Mother and God” (VU 280) and “Wellspring of Wisdom” (VU287) are two of her hymns in Voices United which we have frequently used at TSP. In 2013 she was named a Companion of The Centre for Christian Studies, the United Church diaconal theological training school.
The tune, AZMON, is German in origin, and was collected by American Lowell Mason in 1837. It is often associated with Charles Wesley’s “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing.”

Second Sunday of Easter – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Second Sunday of Easter – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Sunday, April 8 2018

Second Sunday of Easter

Acts 4:32-35, Ps 133, 1 John 1:1-2:2, John 20:19-31

by Paul Stott


VU 168 – The Risen Christ (1993)

This text was written by United Church minister Nigel Weaver during the meeting of the Hymn Society in Toronto in 1993. The text looks beyond the events of Easter morning to reflect on a number of Jesus’ resurrection appearances, and their effect on his followers, both then and now. The hymn was first published in Voices United (1996).

The setting, WOODLANDS, by Walter Greatorex, was first published in the Public School Hymnbook (London, 1919) and is named for one of the houses at Gresham School, where he was director of music. The composer, Benjamin Britten, was one of Greatorex’s students.

MV 145 – Draw the Circle Wide (1994)

Author and composer Gordon Light, retired bishop of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (of British Columbia), is a well-known Canadian musician who composes, plays guitar and sings as a member of the Common Cup Company. Their musical ministry began when Light and the late Ian Macdonald (a United Church Minister), along with founding members Jim Uhrich, and Bob Wallace (also United Church Ministers) served at neighbouring churches in the early ’80’s. In the following decades the group wrote, performed, and recorded together despite living in different corners the country. Scott McDonald & Richard Betts joined the original quartet on bass & drums in the late ’90’s.

This arrangement is by Michael Bloss, Director of Music Ministries at Christ’s Church Cathedral, Hamilton.

Cross and Circle (2015)

This communion text is by our own Bill Kervin. The sparse nature of the poetry encourages our imaginations to expand the simple but profound images into a personal, intimate theological picture of the meaning of the sacrament. The repeated refrain reminds us of the closeness of God’s grace that we may find “here.”

The tune, CAIRDE, is by Lim Swee Hong, colleague of Bill at Emmanuel College. A native of Singapore, Swee Hong studied in Manila, in Dallas at SMU, and received his Ph.D. at Drew University in New Jersey. He held academic appointments in Singapore and at Baylor University in Texas before coming to Emmanuel College as Assistant Professor of Sacred Music and Director of the Master of Sacred Music program. He is a prolific composer of hymnody.

VU 482 – Shout for Joy! (1989)

This joyous song, written to follow communion, is from Love From Below (Glasgow, 1989), the third volume of Wild Goose Songs from the Iona Community.  The first three stanzas celebrate the gifts we have received in the communion meal: spiritual food, peace, new worth, faith, wonder, and communion with the saints in heaven.  The final stanza is a trinitarian doxology and affirmation of the present and coming kindom.

The lively setting, LANSDOWNE, is by John L. Bell, who since 1988 has been involved in the work of the Wild Goose Resource Group, the semiautonomous liturgical and musical project of the Iona Community. (The wild goose was a Celtic image for the Holy Spirit.)

Easter Sunday – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Easter Sunday – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Sunday, April 1 2018

Easter Sunday

Isa 25:6-9, Ps 118:1-2,14-14, John 20:1-18

by Paul Stott


VU 158-Christ Is Alive! (1968)

Brian Wren wrote this text while serving at Hockley Congregational Church in Essex, England. It was written for the Easter service in 1968, ten days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The text reflects the struggle to express Easter joy and hope in the face of the world’s need for healing and justice for all. The text has been revised over the years to reflect more inclusive language and changing theological perspective. Wren, born in England and ordained in the Congregational Church, now lives in the United States with partner Rev. Susan Heafield, a United Methodist Pastor and composer. As well as being the author of many widely used hymn texts, Wren has written several books related to hymnology, including What Language Shall I Borrow (1989), which explores the range of imagery that can be brought to hymnody.

The tune, TRURO, has been attributed at various times to George Frederick Handel and Charles Burney, but there is no reliable evidence for either of these attributions. It may have been composed by the editor of Musica Sacra, being a Choice Collection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes, and Chants (Bath, c. 1778) in which it first appeared. TRURO is the cathedral city of Cornwall, in southwest England.

MV 145-Draw the Circle Wide (1994)

Author and composer Gordon Light, retired bishop of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (of British Columbia), is a well-known Canadian musician who composes, plays guitar and sings as a member of the Common Cup Company. Their musical ministry began when Light and the late Ian Macdonald, (a United Church Minister) along with founding members Jim Uhrich, and Bob Wallace (also United Church Ministers) served at neighbouring churches in the early ’80’s. In the following decades the group wrote, performed, and recorded together despite living in different corners the country. Scott McDonald & Richard Betts joined the original quartet on bass & drums in the late ’90’s.

VU 155-Jesus Christ Is Risen Today (1708)

This hymn has a long and varied derivation. The first three stanzas are from three anonymous Latin verses from the fourteenth century, beginning Surrexit Christus Hodie, probably written as a trope on the Benedicamus Domino, sung at the end of prayer offices and masses. A number of German translations were made of the Latin trope, which then influenced the English translation which first appeared anonymously in Lyra Davidica (London, 1708). The fourth stanza is a doxology by Charles Wesley, from his Hymns and Sacred Poems (London, 1740).
The tune, EASTER HYMN, first appeared in Lyra Davidica. It is an extraordinary tune for its time, a precursor of the more exuberant tunes of the Evangelical revival later in the century.

VU 177-This Joyful Eastertide (1894)

This familiar Easter carol was written to go with the tune VRUECHTEN by George R. Woodward, a Cambridge scholar and Anglican priest, who collaborated on the editing and publishing of several books of carols and hymns. The text was first published in Carols for

Easter and Ascension (1894). The refrain relies on 1 Corinthians 15:14, “and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain.” (NRS) VREUCHTEN is a 17th century Dutch song, which was revised into a sacred setting for J. Oudaen’s volume of David’s Psalmen (Amsterdam, 1695).

Palm-Passion Sunday – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Palm-Passion Sunday – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Sunday, March 25 2018

Palm-Passion Sunday Mark 14:1-15:47

by Paul Stott


VU 126 – Ride On, Ride On, the Time Is Right (1988)

Text and tune are by John Bell, from Enemy of Apathy (1988), the second volume of Wild Goose Songs, published by the Iona Community. With stark, powerful imagery, Bell forces us to confront the reality behind the celebration of the palms and to reflect on how this reality continues to be with us today. Bell is a frequent visitor to Canada, leading workshops at churches and seminaries. His books The Singing Thing (2000) and The Singing Thing too (2007) share insights culled from over 20 years in which he and his colleagues in the Wild Goose Resource and Worship Groups have taught new songs in venues as diverse as old people’s homes with half a dozen hearing-aid users to the Greenbelt Festival with over 10,000 gathered for worship. John has a passion for congregational song.

VU 128 – Sanna, Sannanina (trad)

This example of South African service music comes to us from from Story Song (1993), a British volume of contemporary religious music. The text is a Swahili version of “Hosanna.”
A Cheering, Chanting, Dizzy Crowd (1985)
This text by Tom Troeger moves the liturgy from the exultation of a palm procession to contemplation of the passion to come. The transition in the third stanza from the celebration of the palm procession is enhanced by the alliteration in the first line “When day dimmed down to deepening dark.” Troeger is Professor of Christian communication at the Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church in 1970 and in the Episcopal Church in 1999, he is dually aligned with both traditions. He is a prolific author, respected preacher, and accomplished flautist.
The setting, CHRISTIAN LOVE is by Paul Benoit (1893-1979), who was a priest at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Maurice and St. Maur, at Clervaux in Luxembourg. It was composed at the request of Omer Westendorf to set his text “Where Charity and Love Prevail.”

VU 950 – Stay With Me, Remain Here with Me (1982)

This Taizé text, our prayer response, was originally sung in German, but as with many Taizé chants, was soon translated into other languages, including English. The text is based on the request of Christ to his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, found in Mark 14:34, 38 reminding us of an ongoing call to be alert and faithful.

VU 146 – When Jesus Wept (1770)

Although Voices United attributes the text as well as the tune to William Billings, more recent research identifies Perez Morton (1751-1837) as the author. It was first published in Billings’ The New England Psalm Singer (Boston, 1770). “Jesus Wept” John 11:35 KJV is the shortest verse in the new Testament. John 11:38 KJV mentions “groaning.” The last two lines of the text may relate more closely to Luke 19:41-44, Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. In his biographical sketch of Billings, Carl Daw states

Billings (October 7, 1746–September 26, 1800) was born and died in Boston, which he left only in order to teach singing schools in nearby towns. His formal education was limited, but he read and studied widely on his own. His basic musical education came from the singing schools common throughout New England during the latter half of the 18th century. He added to his musical knowledge by studying published psalmody collections, such as William Tans’ur’s The Royal Melody Compleat (London, 1755) and Aaron Williams’s The Universal Psalmodist (London, 1762). Having been apprenticed to a tanner, Billings continued in that trade and operated a tannery for a number of years, but by 1769 he was also leading singing schools in Boston and the surrounding towns. During the 1760s he began composing hymn tunes and anthems following examples he found in the tune books of British psalmodists, but his abilities soon
allowed him to surpass his models. He became the informal leader of a large group of largely self-taught New England composers who dominated American sacred music between about 1780 and 1810. During the 1770s and early 1780s Billings was financially successful, but his fortunes declined sharply, so that from the late 1780s until his death he lived in near poverty.

The tune, WHEN JESUS WEPT, may sound strange to our modern ears, but was less strange in late eighteenth century America, where such disjunct and angular tunes were more common.  Notable in this four part canon is the extreme range of an octave and a fourth in the modal melody.

Fifth Sunday in Lent – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Fifth Sunday in Lent – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Sunday, March 18 2018

Psalm 51; John 12:20-33

by Paul Stott


MV 162 – Christ within Us Hidden (2005)

This hymn explores a number of images of encounter with Christ. Author Curtis Tufts grew up in Calgary Alberta, and is a life-long member of the United Church of Canada. After first dropping out of confirmation class, he re-entered the church through a lively Hi-C youth ministry, and was a candidate for ordained ministry by the ripe age of 18. He studied at the University of Calgary and St. Andrew’s College in Saskatoon, was ordained in 1981 and has ministered in Peace River AB, Maymont SK, Calgary AB, Saltcoats SK, and Spruce Grove AB. Frustrated with the words available in the hymn books of the day, he began writing new hymn lyrics to familiar tunes in 1985.

The text is set to ALEXANDER, composed by Sid Woolfrey, a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland, with a B.A. and B.Ed. in Psychology and English. Later, through studies in Nova Scotia, Quebec, and St. Pierre, he specialized in French. He has studied music at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. A church organist since the age of 12, he has directed musical theatre for elementary and junior high school students, has many years of experience directing community and church choirs, and for 30 years was church organist and choir director for the Herring Neck Pastoral Charge in Newfoundland. Throughout that time, he conducted several choir workshops for all ages, focusing on the ministry of music in worship and the melding of music and liturgy. Sid also served as a member of the More Voices Development Team. He believes music is a language accessible and meaningful to all in our congregations.

MV 125 – When a Grain of Wheat (copyright 1981)

This lovely text is based on an image found in our gospel text for the day. Author Toyohiko Kagawa was born in 1888 in Kobe, Japan. Orphaned early, he lived first with his widowed stepmother and then with an uncle. He enrolled in a Bible class in order to learn English, and in his teens he became a Christian and was disowned by his family. In his late teens, he attended Presbyterian College in Tokyo for three years. He decided that he had a vocation to help the poor, and that in order to do so effectively he must live as one of them. Accordingly, from 1910 to 1924 he lived for all but two years in a shed six feet square (about 180 cm) in the slums of Kobe. In 1912 he unionized the shipyard workers. He spent two years (1914-1916) at Princeton studying techniques for the relief of poverty. In 1918 and 1921 he organized unions among factory workers and among farmers. He worked for universal male suffrage (granted in 1925) and for laws more favorable to trade unions. In 1923 he was asked to supervise social work in Tokyo. His writings began to attract favorable notice from the Japanese government and abroad. He established credit unions, schools, hospitals, and churches, and wrote and spoke extensively on the application of Christian principles to the ordering of society. He founded the Anti-War League, and in 1940 was arrested after publicly apologizing to China for the Japanese invasion of that country. In the summer of 1941 he visited the United States in an attempt to avert war between Japan and the US. After the war, despite failing health, he devoted himself to the reconciliation of democratic ideals and procedures with traditional Japanese culture. He died in Tokyo 23 April 1960. The setting is by Ushio Takahashi and the English translation of the text by Frank Y. Ohtomo.

VU 183 – We Meet You, O Christ (1966)

Prolific hymn poet Fred Kaan wrote this text for a television program in the BBC series Seeing and Believing in1966. The program idea came from a photograph of an apple tree growing in the ruins of a bombed-out Plymouth church. The text stresses the humanity of Christ, the suffering servant, with a strong message of resurrection in the final verse.

The tune, LIFE, is by Peter D. Smith, first appearing in his 1969 collection Faith, Folk and Festivity.


VU 948 – O God, Hear My Prayer (1982)

Our prayer response comes to us from Jacques Berthier, organist and composer who arranged much of the service music for the Taizé community in France.


VU 147 – What Wondrous Love is This (ca. 1811)

This American folk hymn circulated in the oral tradition and was first published in two words- only hymnals in 1811 in slightly different versions, one of six stanzas and one of seven. The four stanzas that we sing are found in both versions with minor variations. Carl Daw states “It is possible to think of this text as a 19th-century Christianized version of the opening of Psalm 103, ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul.’ Here the thanksgiving is primarily directed to Christ, who is perceived in terms of the kenosis theology of Philippians 2:5-11. . . The fourth stanza is a wonderful affirmation that the heightened existence of the life to come will require enhanced communication: no more speech, only song.”

The hexatonic tune was originally published in the appendix of William Walter’s shape note collection The Southern Harmony (Philadelphia, 1840). The composer was James Christopher of Spartanburg S.C.

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TSP Times Advent Edition – December 2017

TSP Times Advent Edition – December 2017


Message from Joan and Peter Wyatt

We write on World Children’s Day, 20 November 2017, and have just finished watching a live-stream children’s takeover of the United Nations General Assembly sponsored by UNICEF. Children from around the globe told their personal stories of harm and hope, and challenged the UN and people around the world to continue to act for, and to advocate, the wellbeing of the world. As in the story of Christmas, a little child shall lead us.


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.


Blessed be.

Envisioning Our Communications Strategy

From 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


  1. Canada Infrastructure Bank



  1. Meritas SRI Funds – leaders in the Canadian SRI market





  1. 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


  1. Oikocredit – Impact investing with global action



  1. 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



  1. 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)”.



  1. Zidisha – “Zidisha is the first online micro lending community that directly connects lenders and borrowers — n​omatter 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

Grand Rapids/Cambridge


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

As 2017 draws to a close, we would first like to cast our eyes back on this past year’s achievements and then, briefly outline what 2018 is likely to hold for us.




  • 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’)

Turtle House is a multi-disciplinary arts organization for refugee children and parents.  Incorporated as a not-for- profit agency in 2005, we were only able to begin offering our programs in January 2008 after receiving a one-year grant from United Way.  In 2014, we received charitable status.  Since 2012, Toronto Arts Council has supported Turtle House with Community Arts project funding.  736 Outreach supported Turtle House with a grant for 3 years.


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.


Social Media


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
A rabbi not long before the time of Jesus was asked by someone who wanted to convert to Judaism to teach him, while standing on one leg the whole of the Torah, (the first five books of the law.)


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!”[1]


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.[2]


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. [3]


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.”[4]


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.”[5]


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.”[6]


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

12                                             eggs





Day 1

  1. 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.
  2. 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.


Day 2

  1. Generously grease and line five 9×5 inch loaf pans, or 3 wedding cake pans with waxed paper, aluminum foil or parchment; grease lining.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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

The TSP Times is a bi-monthly newsletter for members and friends of Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church. Submissions from all members of the congregation are welcome. Please send your articles to avilbeckford@gmail.com.  The deadline for the next issue is January 22, 2018.

[1] http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129706379 and http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/689306/jewish/On-One-Foot.htm

[2] https://www.quora.com/Is-%E2%80%9Clove-your-neighbor%E2%80%9D-a-%E2%80%9Creligious%E2%80%9D-concept

[3] http://www.calpeacepower.org/0202/pdf/Karen_Ridd.pdf

[4] http://www.united-church.ca/news/moderator-i-love-donald-trump

[5] Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith (New York: HarperOne, 2009),chapter6.

[6] https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/1566992095/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_ca-20&linkCode=as2&camp=15121&creative=33064