On the Ground in Palestine: Aug. 14, 2017

On the Ground in Palestine: Aug. 14, 2017

In recent months, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior has drastically increased its hostile policies towards East Jerusalem residents. Many Palestinians wait months to schedule an appointment and waste valuable resources on dealing with the added bureaucracy.

 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem continue to be the target of Israeli settler organizations. Jewish settlers are stepping up their attempts to acquire new property through deceitful and violent means. Also in Isawiya village in East Jerusalem, 200 families received demolition orders of their homes.

Update on Positive Returns From Divesting and Reinvesting

Update on Positive Returns From Divesting and Reinvesting

Walter Whiteley, member of the TSP Climate Justice Group and former TSP Trustee.

 

Over 3 years ago, TSP voted to divest from Fossil Fuels – based on our social commitments – with the anticipation that we could still obtain good financial returns and better social returns.  In the process of reinvesting, TSP Trustees chose Genus Capital Management Fossil Free Funds, including some impact funds, for most of the endowment.   We have seen good returns from these investments – and a recent report found that, overall reduced carbon intensive portfolios had lower returns than low carbon portfolios, over the seven years 2010-2017, low carbon intensity improved returns by 9.2% cumulatively.

 

Genus Capital released their inaugural Carbon Emissions Report this week, , which makes some key findings, relevant to our choices collectively, and individually.

 

From the Genus report:

“A company’s COemissions, or carbon emissions, is a particularly significant measure for those investors who are concerned about climate change and the environmental impact of their investments. Genus’ inaugural carbon report examines the relationship between carbon emissions, carbon intensity and investment returns. The research team at Genus applied factor analysis to isolate the impact of carbon intensity on a portfolio of global investments (35% S&P/TSX Composite/ 65% MSCI World) between 2010 and 2017.

 

The research indicated that carbon intensity had a 9.2 per cent cumulative drag on portfolio performance during the seven-year period ending March 31, 2017. Carbon intensity refers to the volume of a company’s carbon dioxide emissions for every million dollars in revenue (USD). ”

 

Moreover, the report concluded that Canadian companies tend to be among the worst offenders when evaluated based on carbon intensity when compared to other developed world equity markets, owing to the Energy sector’s significant weighting in the Canadian market. “

 

Put positively, fossil fuel divestment refocuses choices on better performing assets and companies. Also Global markets offer a better range of low intensity stocks and bonds than the Canadian markets.

 

This Genus research builds on last year’s Fossil Fuel Divestment Report, which compared their own three year returns with the Canadian market.  Together, these underscore that investors needn’t sacrifice investment returns to own a portfolio that’s aligned with their values and helps build a low carbon future.

 

These are exciting and active times for divestment, positive re-investment and new opportunities to learn and act.  Here are a few more links:

The United Church, Interfaith Relations, and Islamophobia – March 19 Global Gossip

The United Church, Interfaith Relations, and Islamophobia – March 19 Global Gossip

 

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,

Betty Stone

 

Upcoming events from the Indigenous Rights Solidarity Group May 17-18

Upcoming events from the Indigenous Rights Solidarity Group May 17-18

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 admin@trinitystpauls.ca 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.

https://www.facebook.com/events/111595482714796/

Anti-Racism Policy and Belief Statement

Anti-Racism Policy and Belief Statement

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)

 

Stories from the Occupied Territories – Jan 29 Global Gossip

Stories from the Occupied Territories – Jan 29 Global Gossip

Join the Middle East Working Group on January 29 in hearing an informal presentation from Zoe Godfrey-Davies, who spent three months living in the occupied Palestinian territories and working as a human rights observer as part of the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment program in 2014 and 2015. Zoe will be sharing stories and photos from her experience.
There will also be light refreshments.
Na-Me-Res Christmas Collection

Na-Me-Res Christmas Collection

Back in March, John Olthuis suggested that one way that we could respond to ‘the original nations of this land that continue to cry out for justice‘ would be by ‘paying the rent’; an act of respect, a way of making contact through a concrete act of repentance.
The Indigenous Rights Solidarity Group has been putting this idea into practice by forging a relationship with Na-Me-Res. This First Nations Agency has a men’s residence as well as programmes for individuals suffering from mental health and addiction issues.
We donated our ‘rent money,’ are working together on the Heart Garden, volunteered at their powwow and now collecting items for the men at Christmas.
After a wonderful pageant performed by the children, the gifts for the men were brought up to the alter.
As you can see from the photo, the response was overwhelming, such a sign of hope and generosity in a weary world.
na me res offering
Lysistrata Hits the Stage!

Lysistrata Hits the Stage!

Lysistrata_on_Stage

Lysistrata hits the stage

Trinity St. Paul’s Earth Sunday was a special event this year capped off by an excellent professional reading of congregant David S. Craig’s new play Lysistrata and the Temple of Gaia. The performance was attended by about 350 people and raised just over $2,000 for the work of toronto350.org – a local organization dedicated to helping to solve the climate crisis.

Set in a not so distant future, the play, based on the classic comedy by Aristophanes, it posits a future ravaged by climate change and in need of redemption by “Earth Defenders”. When Lysistrata and her friends awaken Gaia (the Earth spirit), she needs to find a way to convince their menfolk to join them in defending the Earth otherwise they will all meet their (watery) doom.

The professional reading was a project of Trinity St. Paul’s and part of our mission to be part of our community as a Centre for Faith, Justice and the Arts. The reading delivered on all three of these themes was proudly sponsored by members of TSP’s Climate Justice Working Group which has been working on climate related projects and initiatives since 2013.

IMG_20160424_164438

Playwright David S. Craig with toronto350.org President Tresanne Fernandes

Lead organizer Anne Nikkel praised the generosity of Mr. Craig, in making the play available for our use as well as spearheading the logistics surrounding the reading. Special thanks also went out to Robin Craig, Denis Grey, Jenny Jasper, Lorna Niebergall, Emily Greenleaf, Ann Russell, Moira Hutchinson, Jim Kirkwood,  Kendra Fry and Darlene Varaleau and members of toronto350.org. A special shout out also goes to members of the Youth on Bloor contingent who delivered announcements to local churches to encourage them to come to the event.

Outstanding Lysistrata Cast to Grace the Boards at TSP

The creative team behind Lysistrata and the Temple of Gaia – the new play by David S. Craig – are pleased to present the actors who will be bringing this production to an audience for the first time ever on Earth Sunday, April 24th, 2:00 p.m. at Trinity St. Paul’s. Tickets are on sale now via Eventbrite or at the door. This promises to be an inspiring and uplifting way to mark Earth Sunday – all ages are welcome!


Sophia Walker (Lysistrata)Walker

Sophia has extensive theatre credits including Blood Wedding, Jitters, The Heidi Chronicles at the Soulpepper Theatre Company. Mary’s Wedding (The Blyth Festival), Intimate Apparel (The Grand Theatre) and nine seasons at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. She played Salima in the Dora-winning production of Ruined (Obsidian/Nightwood) and Menelaus and Kerthia in the Dora-winning The Penelopiad (Nightwood Theatre). She also has extensive film and television credits and has won Mary Savidge, Michael Mawson and Jean A. Chalmers and Dora Awards.

John Cleland (Cleon)Cleland

John has been a working actor since 1995.  He has worked at theatres around Canada but has been fortunate to be able to work primarily in Toronto since the birth of his children 12 years ago.  He has worked with David (and Roseneath Theatre) on two pieces prior to Lysistrata – Wrecked  and Tough Case.  John is excited to embark on this new ride with such an accomplished group.

For more about John please check out his website at johnnycleland.com.

Anand Rajaram (Pietr)Rajaram

Anand has worked extensively with VideoCabaret, CORPUS, Second City, Stratford Festival, CanStage and others. He created Hys Unauthoryzed Lyfe & Tymes, Communist ‘Til Payday, Cowboys & Indians, and Stories From The Mountaintop. Recently, he was in Mustard at the Tarragon Theatre. Upcoming, at Soulpepper, he’ll be part of the Asian Bamboo Cabaret and in The 39 Steps. He is a regular panelist on CBC Radio’s Because News.

Paolo Santalucia (Theo)Santalucia

A graduate of the University of Toronto and Sheridan College’s Theatre and Drama Studies Program Paolo Santalucia is a Dora award-winning Toronto-based theatre artist. Paolo has worked in multiple productions for Soulpepper Theatre, the Tarragon Theatre Theatre Passe Muraille,  Driftwood Theatre, YPT  and The Howland Company. Paolo is the recipient of two Dora awards for his work in the Ensemble of Of Human Bondage and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and is also the recipient of a MyTorotontoTheatre Award for his work in Hamlet.

Cliff Saunders  (“G” & Gaia’s Familiar)Saunders

Cliff has appeared in The Heir Apparent (Chicago Shakespeare). Les Miserables (Broadway/ Toronto), The 39 Steps (Broadway/Boston), and David S. Craig’s Danny King of the Basement (Roseneath). Cliff has also performed in other roles for the Stratford Festival, Canstage, Mirvish, Tarragon, Soulpepper, Citadel, Aquarius, Grand, YPT, and Blyth among other companies.

Jenny Young (“H” & Gaia)Young

Jenny has extensive theatre experience including Waiting Room (Tarragon);  Christina, The Girl King and  Alice Through the Looking Glass (Stratford Festival); A Moon for the Misbegotten, Age of Arousal (Shaw Festival); Innocence Lost (Centaur, NAC); The Penelopiad (Royal Shakespeare Company, NAC); The Anger in Ernest And Ernestine (Theatre Columbus); and The Shape of a Girl (National Tour).

Mayko Nguyen (Cassandra)Nguyen

Dora Award nominee Mayko has performed in  LULU v.2 (Rhubarb estival), Helen Lawrence (Canadian Stage), Passion Play (OtM/Convergence Theatre/Sheep No Wool), Carried away on the crest of a wave (Tarragon Theatre), Offensive Fouls (Hustle N’ Bustle Theatre). Mayko has also appeared in numerious television and film productions.

 

Natalia Gracious (Pandora)Gracious

A graduate of Sheridan Institute’s Musical Theatre program, Natalia’s past credits include Anjali in Beneath the Banyan Tree (Theatre Direct), Marcy Park in The 25th Annual…Spelling Bee (The Grand Theatre), Pepper in Annie (YPT) and two years as Sister Mary Leo in Nunsense (Harbourfront Theatre). A fan of David S. Craig, Natalia is excited to be here! Natalia can be seen at nofunbiz.com.


David S. Craig (Playwright)Craig

David S. Craig is a Toronto based playwright, actor, and producer. He has written twenty-eight professionally produced plays including Having Hope at Home, The Neverending Story and Danny, King of the Basement which have been produced across Canada, The United States, and Europe.  Mr. Craig has won The Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Production (three times), the Chalmers New Play Award (three times), the Rideau Award, The Canada Council Prize, The Writer’s Guild Prize for Radio Drama and a Harold. In 2014 he was awarded the Barbara Hamilton Award for Artistic Excellence from the City of Toronto.

Leah Cherniak (Director)Cherniak

Leah Cherniak is the Co-Founder with Martha Ross of Theatre Columbus (now Common Boots Theatre) in Toronto. The company created over 30 new plays and has an excellent reputation for innovative productions of classics. Leah studied theatre at École Jacques Lecoq in Paris after graduating from U of T with a theatre degree from the University College Drama Program. She is an Associate Artist with the Soulpepper Theatre Company in Toronto.

Krista MacIsaac (Stage Manager)Krista

Krista has been worshipping Gaia off and on since high school. She has stage managed North American tours for Roseneath Theatre, concerts and events for Roy Thomson Hall, Massey Hall, TIFF and Tapestry Opera. Other credits include Common Boots, Odyssey Theatre, YPT, Luminato, and Mirvish.

 

Talking Lysistrata with Director Leah Cherniak

Talking Lysistrata with Director Leah Cherniak

Leah Cherniak is the Co-Founder with Martha Ross of Theatre Columbus (now Common Boots Theatre) in Toronto. The company created over 30 new plays and has an excellent reputation for innovative productions of classics. Leah studied theatre at École Jacques Lecoq in Paris after graduating from U of T with a theatre degree from the University College Drama Program. She is an Associate Artist with Soulpepper Theatre Company. We caught up with her in early April as she was starting to get ready for rehearsals.

Q. Are you excited to be bringing this new play to an audience for the first time?

A. I’m always excited to be doing something new with David – even though it is just a single performance. He’s a fantastic talent and I’m really enjoying working with him on putting this reading together.

Q. Is this play a modern classic or a classicly modern one?

A. It is definitely modern and contemporary but I think of it more as a complete reinvention of a classic play. The main characters are there but the situation, dialogue and the struggle are completely reimagined for today’s audiences.

Q. What has intrigued you the most about reading the play so far?

A. I directed another version of this play about 15 years ago so it is really fun to read something you are already familiar with and then see how the playwright has adapted and changed the source material. I also love the fact that the women in this play are the strong characters that move the action and are counteracting the actions of the men’s agenda. It’s also really funny.

Q. Lysistrata is a dramatic reading rather than a full-on play – how does that make your job as Director more difficult?

A. As a Director I can only prepare so much because we have very limited rehearsal time. This makes the project more fun but also more challenging. We will need to really focus on the essential parts to activate the audience’s imagination and bring the world of Lysistrata to life.

Q. I understand that there will be some Greek Chorusing going on – how will you be using that?

A. Lysistrata is not a musical but the Greek chorus will bring some music and song that will help to play up the comedic aspects. The songs have a lovely cabaret style vibe that sets the comedy going from the beginning and sustains it throughout as the they keep coming back with “new and improved” messages for the cast and audience.

Q. How do you feel about the issue at hand – is climate change affecting your life today?

A. Experiencing Lysistrata & the Temple of Gaia is a great reminder to everyone that we need to keep focused on this issue – we need to get on with fixing things and stop talking about it. The play is not prescriptive but still very forceful. Comedy is a great way to get a point across to a broad audience.

Q. What do you think the audience should know about Lysistrata before seeing the show?

A. This is not some kind of fusty old Greek classic. David has done an amazing job of making this play really contemporary and witty. It will be a delightful afternoon.