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justiceWe seek to be a community of faith that:

  • witnesses publicly as a Christian community
  • takes a stand on issues of social justice, locally and globally
  • deepens our relationship with the arts community, with other faith communities and with our neighbours.

Global Gossips

Latest Gossips

  • The United Church, Interfaith Relations, and Islamophobia – March 19 Global Gossip (4/5/2017) -   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 […]
  • Stories from the Occupied Territories – Jan 29 Global Gossip (1/3/2017) - 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 […]

Global Gossips” at TSP are events after Sunday worship sponsored by the Public Witness Circle to encourage discussion and education on issues of social and ecological justice. In particular, they highlight the work of TSP members and the United Church and its partners.Some participants in the TSP community may wonder about the title “Global Gossip” – a name that originated in about 1981 with Katharine Hockin, a much-loved TSP leader and mentor.

Marion Pope has provided the following history of Global Gossips for the TSP 125th anniversary book put together by Marion and Jim Kirkwood:

 

GLOBAL GOSSIPS: A 31 YEAR OLD ADVENTURE IN GLOBAL, NATIONAL AND LOCAL JUSTICE CONCERNS

 

The first mention of Global Gossips appears in the 1981 Annual Report of the Mission Action and Service (MAS) Committee. Plans at that time included, “to share fortnightly ‘Global gossip’ opportunities.” Although there were earlier reports of after-church discussions, this is the first time the words “Global Gossip” were mentioned.

 

There is a fair consensus among dictionaries about the early and contemporary meanings of “gossip.” My fourth edition (1951) of the Concise Edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Current English says, “n., & v.i. 1. (Arch.) familiar acquaintance, friend, (esp. of women); idle talker, newsmonger, tattler, (esp. of women); idle talk, groundless rumours, tittle-tattle; easy unconstrained talk or writing esp. about persons or social incidents; … n. [earlier senses, sponsor, fellow-sponsor, one’s child’s sponsor, at baptism; OE godsibb person related to one in God (sibb, sib, akin)]”  Both Kay and Bill Fallis think Katharine Hockin’s idea was an easy-going talk with people with experience in the mission of one of the UCC’s Global Church Partners or justice agency around the world, to share the life and work of the people of God with us so that we could know and understand their struggles and joys a little more clearly. I remember her saying that ‘gossip’ had a good meaning and the dictionary suggests that in the senses of ‘friend’, ‘acquaintance,’ ‘easy unconstrained talk or writing esp. about persons or social incidents;’ and in the sense of the sponsor at baptism and therefore, the person related to one in God.

 

It might seem strange to call some of the discussions after the Sunday Service ‘gossip’ when we think only of the ‘idle talk’ sense, but in the sense of easy unconstrained talk about persons or social incidents and in the wonderful sense of persons related to one in God, the Public Witness Circle reaffirmed its use in the Annual Report of 2009. The MAS 1984 report speaks of the MAS Committee organizing monthly Global Gossips, as well as the annual 10 Days for World Development program.

 

In 1986 the committee changed its name to “Global Learning for Living,” and continued to provide after-church educational events. During the centennial year of TSP (1987) the focus was on “Mission Histories,” inviting congregational members with overseas experience to share their stories. Over the years, visitors to the Division of World Outreach Division of General Council were invited to tell how their churches and agencies were trying to be faithful to God’s mission of justice in their contexts. Similarly, members or representatives of other communities in Canada with experience in a struggle for human rights or for justice have opened our minds to the courage and hope of a rich diversity of people concerned for the well being of humanity and all creation.    (from the files of Marion Pope and Marion Kirkwood)

Priorities

The three priorities set for the Public Witness Circle focus our  witness in the areas of indigenous justicepeace making, and climate justice.

Indigenous Justice

Successive federal governments and religious organizations in Canada have tried to interfere with, and even destroy, the cultures of Indigenous peoples and to supplant them with European cultures and values. The Indigenous Rights Solidarity Group (IRSG) of the Bloor/Spadina United Churches (Bathurst Street, Bloor Street and TSP) aims to engage the three congregations in education, advocacy and solidarity in relation to Indigenous justice and right relations; respond to requests for solidarity from Indigenous communities; and find opportunities to build relationships between congregational members and Indigenous peoples.

Peace Making

Peacemaking seeks long term sustainable solutions rather than polite agreements or uneasy and fragile truces to difficult conflicts. Peacemaking seeks to disenfranchise, or confront in a process of controlled escalation, those who seek unfair advantage, who exploit racial or class or gender differences, and who prefer to maintain disparities that favour themselves. The focus on peace making includes initiatives devoted to the Middle East (MEWG), refugees, and restorative justice.

Climate Justice

Our Climate Justice Group comes from the TSP community and we are deeply concerned about the present and future impacts of climate chaos. We worry that keeping more energy within the Earth’s atmosphere will lead to more intense flooding, droughts, and natural disasters. We are mostly concerned because the people facing the greatest threat from climate chaos are least responsible for the historic emissions and least able to adapt due to the unequal distribution of wealth. Avoiding catastrophic climate chaos is our objective.