Gail Allan gave a presentation in her role as the Coordinator, Ecumenical, Interchurch, and Interfaith Relations for the United Church.
She made the following points:
- there is a movement of inter-faith work that endeavours to present alternative visions which are vital to actively resisting current thinking
- local interfaith relations are key
- there are several documents that guide U.C in dialogue
- g. Mending The World, which commits U.C to do all its work through a multi-faith lens, Bearing Faithful Witness (Christian/Jewish relations), That We May Know Each Other (Christian/Muslim relations), Honouring the Divine in Each Other (Christian/Hindu relations)
- Several organizations were mentioned as points of connection, dialogue, and inter-faith justice work
- Gail drew our attention to specific organizations that we might want to keep in touch with who hold events and that would be informative and a way of making contact with inter-faith groups, e.g. National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Noor Centre, Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI), Multi-faith Centre at U of T.
- Inter-faith work can be seen as concentric circles: local – national – global
What Can We Do
During our discussion some of the following ideas were suggested:
- keep aware of the U.C website “Take Action” section which guides members in contacting politicians regarding issues such as increasing refugee sponsorships and ending the safe third country agreement.
- Participating in webinars such as the one recently held on Welcoming Refugees and Challenging Islamophobia
- Be aware of the proposed inter-faith centre in the Honest Ed’s development.
- Inviting a Muslim speaker from the National Council of Canadian Muslims to give us a kind of Islam 101
- Importance of informing ourselves through interpersonal dialogue
- Week by week small actions that we can ask members to do; a kind of weekly mission that we are sent off with at the conclusion of our services e.g. make a phone call, sign petition
- Start our actions with an exploration of the document That We May Know Each Other
- Draft letter regarding suspension of safe third country agreement motion modeling letters from other conferences
- Advertising events we become aware of on our listserve, inviting others to join
- Introducing ourselves to our Muslim neighbours, e.g the Ismaili worship group in our neighbourhood.
Jared agreed to help co-ordinate events and make sure communications were facilitated for TSP. It was also noted that we should make an effort to reach those who are not on the list serve.
It was also noted that we need to keep the Board of TSP aware of any actions that are undertaken so they can address any concerns that arise.
Please note that this a summary of the discussion and apologies in advance for anything missed or mis-stated,
The Indigenous Rights Solidarity Group (IRSG) invites congregation members to the following events:
May 17th at 7:30pm
Discussion of “Indigenous Healing: Exploring Traditional Paths” by Rupert Ross. (There are many copies in the library.) Darlene Varaleau will be hosting the discussion in her home. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
May 18th at 8pm (Sony Center)
Outside Looking In (http://www.olishow.com): Indigenous youth provide a transformative dancing extravaganza that will inspire and move you to tears. Tickets cost $10 and may be purchased at www.ticketmaster.ca Members from TSP and the Redeemer will be attending.
As we enter Black History Month, TSP remains committed to principles of anti-racism, and we hold victims of racism in our prayers.
TSP Anti-Racism Belief Statement
We believe that:
• all persons are equal before God.
• the miracle of God’s creation is manifested through our many differences.
• racism is a sin and violates God’s desire for humanity.
• racism is a rejection of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
• racism is present in church and society, including TSP, and that throughout time racism has manifested itself in many forms in varying degrees.
• racism is a violation of human rights. It robs all human beings of their wholeness and is used as justification for economic, social, political and spiritual exploitation.
• change is possible through a process of truth-telling, repentance, and justice-making which leads to transformation.
• work for justice is central to our Christian faith and practice.
• just relationships must be reflected in the laws, policies, structures, and practices of both church and society.
The United Church’s Anti-racism Policy.
We believe we are all equal before God.
We believe racism is a sin and violates God’s desire for humanity.
We believe racism is present in our society and in our church, and throughout time has manifested itself in many forms in varying degrees.
We believe that the struggle against racism is a continuous effort. Therefore our anti-racism policy statement is only a first step. It provides the basis for the creation of a church where all are welcome, where all feel welcome, and where diversity is as natural as breathing.
We believe change is possible. We believe in forgiveness, reconciliation, and transformation and the potential to learn from stories and experiences.
We believe we are all called to work against racism and for a society in which the words of the Gospel are realized among us.
We believe in a vision of society in which these words of the Gospel are realized:
“It is through faith that all of you are God’s [people] in union with Christ Jesus. You were baptized into union with Christ, and now you are clothed, so to speak, with the life of Christ… So there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free people, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26–28)
We had a very successful Carols by Candlelight service on Sunday, December 18 at 7pm. This was an evening filled with song and worship. The TSP choir, alongside VIVA! Youth Singers of Toronto’s Everyone Can Sing choir and Six Week Singers did a fantastic job.
You can view a selection of highlights from the evening in the video below: