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.

Say “Enough” to 50 Years of Occupation | The United Church of Canada

Say “Enough” to 50 Years of Occupation | The United Church of Canada

We are called to unity in action and costly solidarity for a just peace.


The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because [God] has annointed me
to bring good news to the poor…
to proclaim release to the captives…
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
(Luke 4:18–19 / Isaiah 61:1–2)

 

Imagine living in your own homeland with no real status. Your movements are controlled by an occupying army, your homes and crops threatened with demolition. Palestinians live under this constant pressure every day, and seek a just peace for a free and abundant future.

June 2017 marks 50 years since the end of the Six-Day War and the beginning of Israeli military occupation in the West Bank. The occupation continues to stifle the aspirations of Palestinians for freedom, dignity, and independence, and to threaten hopes for peace with justice for all people in the region.

In this place where Jesus walked on the earth, walls now separate families, imprisoning those within in a deepening cycle of violence and despair. The occupation has already stolen two generations’ lives, and subsequent generations continue to feel hopelessness and rage.

Luke 4:18–19 describes the year of Jubilee, during which God expects and demands justice to be done. In this Jubilee year, the prophetic voice of the church must not be weaker, but rather stronger. United Church partner Kairos Palestine asks us: “Are you able to help us get our freedom back, for this is the only way you can help the two peoples attain justice, peace, security and love?”

Take Action

Fifty years of occupation is enough. We are called to unity in action and costly solidarity for a just peace.

  1. Mark 50 years of occupation and pray for peace with justice in June.
  2. Write to The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and your member of Parliament. Ask that the Canadian government
    • live out its stated policy on Palestine and Israel, including pressuring the Israeli government to cease all settlement activity
    • intensify diplomatic efforts for a just and lasting peace based on UN resolutions and international law
  3. Share this Take Action on your social media networks. Use the hashtags #UCCan, #50years, #Israel, #Palestine, #SpiritOfPeace.
  4. Participate in a “Come and See” tour of the region. Future opportunities will be posted on the UCC website.

Background

The United Church of Canada has a long history of working with others to seek peace with justice in Israel and Palestine. This work is rooted in the gospel mandate to be peacemakers and in response to the calls of Palestinian and Israeli partners. Violent acts such as the killing of both Palestinian and Israeli civilians, use of excessive force by Israeli police and army against protesters, extrajudicial killings, and collective punishment are obstacles to a just and lasting peace.

The United Church continues to ask the federal government to live out its stated policy on Palestine and Israel, including recognizing

  • the illegality of Israeli settlements
  • violations posed by the route of the Separation Wall
  • the importance of a negotiated resolution to the conflict

Canada should call on Israeli to adhere, without exception, to international law—especially ceasing demolitions and forcible transfers of Palestinian communities such as Susiya and Khan Al Ahmar.

For more information about current activities, see Unsettling Goods: Choose Peace in Palestine and Israel.

Send your letters and e-mails to:

The Hon. Chrystia Freeland
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
E-mail: chrystia.freeland@international.gc.ca

Peter Kent
The Conservative Party
E-mail: peter.kent@parl.gc.ca

Hélène Laverdière
New Democratic Party
E-mail: helene.laverdiere@parl.gc.ca

Elizabeth May
Green Party of Canada
E-mail: elizabeth.may@parl.gc.ca

Luc Thériault
Bloc Québécois
E-mail: luc.theriault@parl.gc.ca

Your member of Parliament—you can find your MP’s email or postal address by entering your postal code on the Parliament of Canada website.

Send copies of your letters and e-mails to:

Christie Neufeldt
Program Coordinator, Public Witness
416-231-7680 ext. 4078
1-800-268-3781 ext. 4078
cneufeldt@united-church.ca

For more information, contact:

Patti Talbot
Team Leader, Church in Partnership
416-231-7680 ext. 4018
1-800-268-3781 ext. 4018
ptalbot@united-church.ca

Source: Say “Enough” to 50 Years of Occupation | The United Church of Canada

United Church Responds to Khadr Apology | The United Church of Canada

United Church Responds to Khadr Apology | The United Church of Canada

The United Church respects the decision of the federal government to apologize to Omar Khadr.

The United Church of Canada respects the decision of the federal government to apologize to Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen, for its role in his ordeal that began with his detention by the United States in Afghanistan.

Since 2008, the United Church has written to the federal government on several occasions regarding the miscarriage of justice in the treatment of Omar Khadr, who was 15 years old when he was detained and considered a child soldier under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Canada is a signatory. At that time, the church requested that an independent review of the Canadian government’s involvement in Khadr’s detention be implemented.

In a unanimous ruling in 2010, the Supreme Court found Khadr’s human rights were being violated at Guantanamo Bay:

“The deprivation of [Khadr’s] right to liberty and security of the person is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice,” the court ruled.

“The interrogation of a youth detained without access to counsel, to elicit statements about serious criminal charges while knowing that the youth had been subjected to sleep deprivation and while knowing that the fruits of the interrogations would be shared with the prosecutors, offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects.”

There is much brokenness in this story. However, as followers of Christ, we find our hope in the power of restorative justice to mend deep divisions between individuals, peoples, and nations.

Source: United Church Responds to Khadr Apology | The United Church of Canada

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:

Climate Change | The United Church of Canada

Climate Change | The United Church of Canada

The Earth is a sacred trust. We recognize God’s call…to draw on the Earth’s sustenance responsibly, and to care for it that all may benefit equitably now and in the future.

—from One Earth Community (1992)

What We Believe

A New Creed calls us “to live with respect in Creation.” Creation is a gift of God, and caring for Creation is a spiritual commitment. We cherish Creation’s rich diversity and respect its inherent value and right to protection.

Climate change impacts us, the local eco-systems of which we are part, and partners the United Church is connected with around the globe. The greatest burden of climate change is falling on people in the Far North and global South—those who have contributed least to the problem.

Indigenous voices in the church remind us that we are called upon to look after Creator’s gifts and to pass along these gifts to our children. We can be part of a just transition to a renewable energy economy by pressuring governments and industries, ending unsustainable overconsumption through lifestyle choices, and working with United Church ministries and partners engaged in climate justice.

What You Can Do

  1. Celebrate Creation in worship, while committing to action for its well-being, with the use of these resources:
  2. Advocate for change to climate change policy with the Canadian government and other decision-makers. Visit Act Now for timely opportunities to take action.
  3. Fast for the Climate. By choosing not to eat on the first day of every month, a growing movement of youth, environmentalists, and people of faith is standing in solidarity with those who are most affected climate change and calling for world leaders to act to stop global warming.
  4. Reduce the environmental impact of your faith community. Faith and the Common Good’s Greening Sacred Spaces initiative offers excellent resources for building sustainable communities.
  5. Learn more about the role people of faith play in climate justice:

Religious leaders in ecumenical celebration for Creation at Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris, during COP21 climate talks, 2015.
Credit: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/LWF

The Work of Our Networks and Partners

For more information, contact:

Christie Neufeldt

Program Coordinator, Public Witness

416-231-7680 ext. 4078

1-800-268-3781 ext. 4078

cneufeldt@united-church.ca

Beth Baskin

Program Coordinator, Social Analysis & Congregational Engagement

416-231-7680 ext. 4196

1-800-268-3781 ext. 4196

bbaskin@united-church.ca
Source: Climate Change | The United Church of Canada

Canada 150, through the Lens of Reconciliation | The United Church of Canada

Canada 150, through the Lens of Reconciliation | The United Church of Canada

Thoughts, feelings, and prayers from Indigenous leaders as Canada Day approaches.

Canada Day is coming. Canada 150 celebrations are intensifying. I wonder how Indigenous people are feeling about it all. I asked a few Indigenous friends and leaders in our church: “If someone from one of our non-Indigenous communities of faith asked you about the 150th year of Confederation, what would say? What thoughts or feelings or prayers would you want to share with us?” Here are their responses…

 

Ray Jones

Credit: The United Church of Canada

“One of our Gitxsan metaphors on life is ‘Dim amma gaadinqu mel.’ When your canoe runs aground or flips over, you have to right your canoe and continue the journey. The Canadian society has to right its societal canoe as a big step in reconciliation! Canada 150 is a good place to begin the journey together with us, the Aboriginals. Our churches have to blow the horn on reconciliation, just like Gabriel. This will go a long way in bringing down the walls of racism.”

—Ray Jones,

Hereditary Chief Niis Noolth of the Fireweed/Grouse clan in Gitsegukla, BC

 

Pastor Lawrence V. Sankey

Credit: Kelly Buehler

“Heavenly Father, I thank you for the 150 years you have given Canada… I pray that you continue to watch over and protect our land and to continue to unite the people of the lands so that they can flourish and grow as one nation in body and spirit throughout the land…”

—Pastor Lawrence V. Sankey

Co-chair, Aboriginal Ministries Council, The United Church of Canada

 

Martha Pedoniquotte

Credit: The United Church of Canada

“I would just like to include the words of the Ontario Regional Chief. It is a true sentiment of how I feel as a First Nations person on Canada’s 150 celebration:

AFN Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, chair of the national Chiefs Committee on Health, stated: ‘Canada is celebrating the 150th year of Confederation but far too many of our children and youth cannot even celebrate their own lives. This National Circle of Ceremony and Healing for Our Spirits [held on March 17, 2017] is a reminder that much work needs to be done to end poverty and despair. When our youth are able to see hope for the future then all Canadians will be able to celebrate. This will be true reconciliation.’”

—Martha Pedoniquotte,

Chippewas of Nawash Band Councillor; member of United Church Committee on Indigenous Justice and Residential Schools

 

Maggie McLeod, Executive Minister, Aboriginal Ministries and Indigenous Justice, The United Church of Canada, offers some suggestions to the church:

Maggie McLeod

Credit: Richard C. Choe

“Reconciliation begins with recognizing the need to act in new and life-giving ways. Here are three ways in which your community of faith can recognize Canada’s 150th anniversary with the lens of reconciliation:

  • Recognize and give thanks for the abundance that come from this land and all of its peoples.

  • Recognize that Indigenous Peoples are the original peoples, and were the founding peoples of Canada; and that many cultures make up the fabric of the Canadian identity.

  • Recognize the need to reflect and make plans for how we will, over the course of the next 150 years, act to make this country a place of that honours the dignity and well-being of all.”

 

Finally, Adrian Jacobs, Ganosono, Turtle Clan, Cayuga Nation, Six Nations Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Keeper of the Circle, Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre, offers the following Twitter feed:

 

These are some thoughts, feelings, and prayers Indigenous friends and relations want our whole church to hear. As we mark Canada 150, we need to contemplate them, share them in our networks, and lift them up in worship on July 2, the Sunday closest to Canada Day. As Henry David Thoreau wrote, “It takes two to speak the truth—one to speak and another to hear.”

—David Giuliano, Community Capacity Development Coordinator, Aboriginal Ministries, The United Church of Canada

 

The views contained within these blogs are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of The United Church of Canada.

Source: Canada 150, through the Lens of Reconciliation | The United Church of Canada

Gardening at TSP

Gardening at TSP

Susan Craig, Vera Callaghan and Carolyn Barber lead our intrepid TSP garden team in the distribution of 40 bags of sheep poop this spring. It was fun! You are welcome to join our team of pooper scoopers and weed pullers throughout the summer and will be rewarded with fresh cinnamon coated apples, courtesy of Susan Craig.
 
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/

Posted in Faith
Book Launch – Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life

Book Launch – Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life