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T H E
N E W S L E T T E R
B L O O R
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U N I T E D
C H U R C H
AN INCLUSIVE C O N G R E G AT I O N MINISTERING TO MULTICULTURAL TORONTO
Inside Minister’s Message page 3 Across the Atlantic pages 4 Visit to Taiwan page 6
Runners of the Morning by David Allan, Minister Emeritus
Full of our own fretting, preoccupied by our own thoughts, we are separate islands in a misted landscape like a runner in the early morning wreathed in his own breath. Like a runner in the still dark morning rising suddenly up in the street, a word catches us, or a gesture out of nowhere, some unexpected grace gathers us, gives us a central stance in the breaking day. You have seen us, O God, through our fallen days, heard our ragged breathing, our tired prayers, and, like a morning runner, You have moved silently through the silence to raise us up, to wipe our weary faces, to quench our sharp thirst, to restore our strength, to call us forth out of our shrouded lives to be runners of the morning. From: Crosswalks: prayers from a city church by David R. Allan (The United Church Publishing House, 1993)
Solitary Leaf: Photo by Harold Durnford
b loor p eo p le David Passmore, our Director of Music, has won the 1st
Conference. Although, sadly, I was unable to attend the Craddock
International Composer Competition within the Musica Religiosa
environment and spirituality event this year, I felt somehow keenly
Olomouc Festival (2010) in the Czech Republic. The requirements
connected to BSUC while I was in Tokyo.” (Randi Helmers) Welcome to Sheryl Johnson our new YouthonBloor
were to set three given Latin texts from the Book of Psalms for mixed choir. As David had never before set Latin text to music,
coordinator. This past summer Sheryl won first prize for her essay
he decided to give it a try. He discovered he had won on the
One in Hope and Doctrine, One in Charity: Ecumenism in the Context of Social Justice and Social Outreach Ministry. The essay contest was offered by the North American Academy of Ecumenists. Sheryl receives a cash award and was also invited to attend the annual NAAE conference which was held in Montreal in September. Sheryl gave a summary of the research presented in her winning essay during the conference. Sheryl is in the second year of the Master of Divinity/MPS programme at Emmanuel College.
same day his father died, and plans to dedicate the music to his memory. Along with a cash prize for 2nd place (no 1st place prize was awarded) the composition will be published and offered for performance to the choirs participating in the festival in the historic Moravian city of Olomouc. Congratulations to Lada Darewych & Kieren MacMillan, proud parents of Marianna Olivia MacMillan, born at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, July 14.
Congratulations to Shannon Neufeldt & Jay Thiessen on the arrival of a little brother for Matthew. Lucas Karl Neufeldt Thiessen, was born on August 9. Congratulations to Sarah Ward & Robert O’Halloran who were married in an old stone barn near Guelph on August 28. Rev. Warren McDougall, who was Christian Development minister at our church when Sarah was a teenager, officiated. Randi Helmers, was part of an entourage of singers/actors/ readers and directors who convened in Tokyo from Sept. 24 – Oct. 1 to present a dramatic reading of excepts from Margaret Atwood’s recent novel The Year of The Flood. “Our work coincided with the 76th International PEN Congress, a gathering of PEN delegates which lasted for a week, in Tokyo and Kyoto. Ms Atwood, in addition to her role as narrator in our presentation, was one of the keynote speakers at the congress. Undaunted by her demanding schedule not to mention the jet lag, Ms Atwood was full of her famous sharp intellect and humour, and was wonderfully energetic when it came to our performances. We four singers, three Japanese actors, Ms Atwood, and a translator, gave two performances; one hosted by Meiji Gakuin University, in conjunction with their Canadian Literature program, and the other at the Canadian Embassy, in the Oscar Peterson Theatre. The singers, known as God’s Gardeners, sang our songs in English, while the actors, among Japan’s finest, spoke their texts in Japanese. The week flew by as our generous hosts guided us around Tokyo, and welcomed us to several exciting, and delicious receptions for the remarkably diverse gathering of PEN writers from around the world. The Environment
Catherine Elsdon is in her second year of a Master of Divinity at Emmanuel College. As one of the College’s Student Worship Facilitators, she is pursuing her interest in liturgy and communal worship practices. She is also particularly enjoying her class on theology of religions, which explores major approaches to the relationship between the Christian faith and other world religions. Catherine loves to play recreational soccer and has taken on the role of secretary of our Church Council. Devin Fischer is now in her third year of studies at the Univ. of Guelph. Her specialty is wildlife biology. Jennifer Gordon is in her fifth and final year at Univ. of Toronto Scarborough completing a degree in Environmental Science. Her courses include a independent research project studying interesting bacterial communities from the bottom of Lake Superior. Outside of class, she is in U of T Scarborough concert choir and a student run a capella choir, as well as the residence art and environment clubs. She also volunteers at an ecoliteracy after school program for children, which is organized through Frontier College. Rob Gordon is continuing his studies at Univ. of Ont. Institute of Technology doing his degree in computer game programming and entrepreneurship. He is in third year. Last summer he was again Lead Stick for the Fort York Fife & Drum Corps. He has been in the Corps every summer since grade 7. He began in a volunteer position which eventually became a real summer job. He is also one of the artillery men who fires the cannon.
and Literature – What can words do? was the theme for the 2
continues on page 3
Very Happy to be Back by Martha ter Kuile
his lovely fall has flown past in a blur of colours and events. Coming back to Bloor Street after nearly a year away has been a delightful mixture of familiarity and novelty, combining the great pleasure of reconnecting with the people of the congregation, and catching up on what I’ve missed. Thanks to so many who offered moral support and prayers during the time I was on unpaid leave from Bloor Street. It was a wonderful, quiet time to read, and think, and write. I did get my doctoral dissertation (on Christian Realist Virtue Ethics) written and submitted. It is now in the hands of Saint Paul University and the University of Ottawa. I hope to be invited to defend it in the next few months. The rhythm now is very different from that of a graduate student! Last year at this time I spent many hours a day in
solitude, focused on one task. Now it is meetings, phone calls, lectionary, visits, planning for services and events – the fun of trying not to drop too many balls, as we launch forward into a busy church year at Bloor Street. Having Stephen Scharper to give our Craddock Lecture on environment and spirituality, and then Patti Talbot for Holy Land Awareness Sunday set a new pace for theological and ethical engagement. The follow-up, through the study group on Israel/Palestine, and the ‘Health, Faith and the Environment’ series with the Climate Action Network allows us to put insight into action. Before we know it, Advent will be upon us, with its deep reminders that our busy-ness is not the whole story, and its call to return to our source. As season follows season, the rhythm of faith will carry us forward. And for this, we thank God.
Thanksgiving Displays in Bloor St. Sanctuary Photos by Harold Durnford
b loor p eo p l E continued from page 2
Ian McCauley graduated with a degree in Global Studies &
She is finishing her last comprehensive exam and will be starting
Political Science from Wilfrid Laurier Univ. last June. He has a
on her thesis proposal and thesis. Her thesis will work with the
full-time job working at the West End YMCA where he has
concept of the foreigner in the Dead Sea Scrolls. She is also
worked since he was 16. He is also studying for the law exams as
instructing the introduction to Biblical Hebrew language class
he is planning on entering law school next September.
at Emmanuel College.
Lauren McCauley is in her fourth year of Theatre and Film
Congratulations to Amy Rand who passed her oral
Studies at McMaster Univ. and expects to finish her degree in
comprehensive exam for her Ph.D. in environmental chemistry.
December 2011. She is also active as President of the McMaster
Her research circles around fluorinated materials that are used for
Thespian Society. She is hoping to get into a special theatre
a wide range of applications including food packaging, carpets
program at the Banff Centre this summer.
and textiles, as oil and water repellents. Amy is our Sylvester Kirby
Carmen Palmer is currently in her fourth year of the Doctor
of Theology in Hebrew Bible at the Toronto School of Theology.
Across the Atlantic by Emily Gordon he young man stood by the edge of the large stone-lined
Another ferry. Then a ten
pool of water in rough work clothes intended to represent
minute walk ending in dinner,
the garments of a tribe on the British Isles during the Roman
greeted by a plate of vegetable
occupation. Nearby was a bench draped in fur skins next to a
stirfry and people happy to
low stone table with craftsmen’s tools, and a tabula and stylus.
begin to learn who I was. On Iona we went on a day’s
“Where have you journeyed from?” he asked. “Canada.”
pilgrimage, periods of walking
“Never heard of it. That’s not in the Roman Empire. Have
along narrow trails through
you come to the sacred springs to ask for something from
the heather broken by times
the goddess?” The question caught me off guard, suddenly
for reflection and bible verses
examining once again why I stood in the Roman Baths, far
to consider. The day was
from home, and on my own. “Yes, in a sense.”
incredibly clear, the water as it
Outside Iona Abbey, looking toward the Isle of Mull, early evening around June 18.
“When you pray to her, don’t follow the Romans who
beat gently against pebbly shores
look up at the empty sky. Look where she is – down into the
looking in places almost tropical.
waters.” Then he moved on, to feign wonder at the cameras
We removed layers, appreciating the dryness and beauty of a
of another set of tourists. His question lingered along with the
place so often shrouded in mist. Iona is beautiful and always changing. I tried taking a picture
metallic taste of Bath’s famous water. People say that travel is a chance for self-discovery, but was I on a pilgrimage? If so, what
of the same view on different days at different times, and it’s
did I seek?
hard to believe they are not only the same place but taken during the same week. It is a simple beauty. Not the white cliffs of Dover or the incredible panorama from Montserrat. Not the regal beauty of Stirling or the complex beauty of London washed with rain. I saw these places during my seven weeks of travel last May and June (and could tell you about Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona or Scara Brae on Orkney), but Iona has a beauty that bends you inward onto yourself even as you look out at the world. It gives space to listen and pray, as well as to work and share meals. I went to Iona hoping for that space, the chance to reflect on my life and its series of unexpected twists over the past year, leaving almost everything unrecognizable. I went to Iona (and
View of Iona taken from the departing ferry June 18. Iona Abbey is on the right.
Scotland, England and Spain generally) for space to ask, “what now?” And I found the space for questions. As I traveled I met
Almost a month later, I was headed for Iona on a coach with a class from a Mennonite seminary. I listened as one woman
strangers, learned about history, walked in stunning churches,
explained the format for their journal, each person getting the
encountered unexpected kindness. I left, returning to the
book for one day to write accounts and reflections – to help
shores of Lake Ontario, without answers. But with a handful of
think of their Celtic Spirituality course and travels to Scotland
stories of other people who traveled without answers. I returned
and Ireland as pilgrimage. It was hard not to think of the
hoping that I might remember that feeling – the feeling of
journey to Iona as a pilgrimage; just the trip from Glasgow was
existing in the moment, with each step. That feeling that comes
the better part of a day’s travel. Coach. Ferry. Another coach.
with travel, with pilgrimage. Photos by Emily Gordon 4
News from Alydia
lydia is excited that she is in her final year of studies for her Master of Divinity! She is doing a Clinical Pastoral Education unit at Victoria General Hospital in
Halifax, where she is currently stationed on the general surgery ward. (She’s also learning a lot of medical terms). Outside of course work and clinical time at the hospital, a large chunk of her time is spent working on her thesis (which she loves). Her thesis is on the effect that pop music has on ‘twentysomethings’ understanding of God. Thanks to the work of Emerging Spirit and Wondercafe we as a church know a little bit more about the culture of ‘thirtysomethings’. This study attempts to provide the church with a deeper understanding of ‘twentysomethings’. It may also help the church better use pop culture, in this case pop music,
in its worship and ministry. Alydia sends her blessings, prayers and warm wishes.
Top: Alydia at McClure Hall farewell. Photo by Bob Hilliard Bottom: Alydia and friends. Photo by Don Payne Middle: Randi Helmers serenading Alydia. Photo by Don Payne
Craddock Lecture 2010: Befriending Creation by Skip Shand rofessor Stephen Scharper’s 2010 Craddock Lecture
care for the rest of God’s creatures exactly as we do our own
was the eloquent and inspirational centrepiece of a
household pets. In a time of devastating oil spills and crass
wonderfully-integrated service, for which Martha ter Kuile
commodification, water was seen as paramount, biologically
and David Passmore deserve great credit. Invoking, among
and biblically. Scharper’s own love for the pristine waters and
others, Aldo Leopold, Thomas Berry, Gustavo Gutierrez,
shores of the northern Bruce Peninsula became a touchstone
W. B. Yeats and Robert Frost, Scharper addressed the terms
for his assertion that: “When we move from respect to love
of our Creed, not to critique them but to develop and expand.
and befriend Creation, we are in reality befriending ourselves.”
He preached a powerful and timely message about our ability
More than 50 people, engaged by his words and his topic,
to apply the brakes to climate change and environmental
joined him afterward in a colloquy that was as inspirational
degradation if only we will let our respect for Creation
and informative as the lecture itself ... a morning to remember,
blossom into active personal righteousness and love. Speaking
and a message to act upon.
earlier to the children, he proposed that we might love and 5
Joyce Kelly & Bruce McLeod visit Taiwan
or ten days in October, Joyce and Bruce were the guests of the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan (PCT). For 40
years under harsh martial law imposed by Chiang Kai-Shek, the PCT was a beacon for human rights as the movement for democracy slowly took root in that (literally) “beautiful island”, and began to flower amazingly without any violent revolt. Only 3% of the population is Christian. The PCT has exerted influence far beyond its numbers. There was a price to pay. In 1980, General Secretary (later Moderator), Dr. C.M. Kao was in solitary confinement for over four years. At his trial, the Bible was his only and eloquent defense. That same year, the twin daughters and mother of an imprisoned Human Rights lawyer were murdered in their home. The PCT purchased the unwanted home, and turned it into The Light of Justice Presbyterian Church. Joyce and Bruce have long been close to Toronto’s Taiwanese United Church (TUC). Bruce first visited the country in 1966 when he met noted political science professor Peng Ming-Min who was under house arrest. In 1990, Bruce carried a General Council petition to Taipei, with 500 signatures calling for the release of Canadian Citizen and TUC member Y.S. Leo, an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience. Two years later, he was an observer at the first free elections for the national legislature in which, amazingly, prisoners once sentenced to life were finally elected to public office. During their visit, Joyce and Bruce visited three different seminaries (including an aboriginal one), spoke with faculty, students, local pastors and national staff, preached at The Light of Justice Church, as well as at an outdoor church beside Chiang Kai Shek’s old Palace. They met Dr. Kao and Professor Peng again. They took greetings of friendship and wonder from BSUC, and the United Church of Canada. They saluted the courageous and faithful witness of a church which has been tested in ways never known in “pleasant places” where we live, and which has stood firm. (Joyce Kelly)
Our sanctuary on quilting Sunday last June Photo by Harold Durnford
Joyce Kelly with the Bloor St. Quilters last June (from left – Joyce, Isabel Ward, Dawn Lee, Irene Hunter, Bridget Hough, Mary Louise Work, Heather Hilliard & Velma Davis) Photo by Harold Durnford
The Quilters’ famous tie quilt in the sanctuary Photo by Don Payne
Quick Sketches Church School. Our hard-working church school teachers this year include Marion Davies, who is teaching the Primary Class, ages 4-9. Evangeline Albuerne teaches the Junior Class, which is ages 10-grade seven. Evangeline is completing grade 12 this year while Marion is in grade 11. Joan Irwin cares for the youngest children in our nursery and Sheryl Johnson is our YouthonBloor coordinator. The next Giant Book Sale at Bloor St. church will be held next spring. The organizers felt there were not enough books for a good sale this fall. Security cameras will soon be installed in the basement in hopes of preventing another theft of books. A major theft of books occurred just before last June’s book sale. Book Club. The Bloor Street Book Club meets at 1:30 PM on the first Tuesday of each month in the Board Room. We welcome everyone who has read the book we are discussing. Our book for December is The Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardam. January’s selection is Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brook. For more information please contact Bob Farquharson, [email protected]
Check out the Bloor Street Church website for a brief summary of the books we have discussed in past months. Bob & Anne Farquharson attended the Burma Reunion in Ottawa in August, commemorating the 65th Anniversary of the Victory in the Far East (V-J Day) and the end of the Second World War. Veterans Affairs Canada hosted veterans of the war against Japan, in particular those Canadians who fought in Burma. Bob Farquharson speaks of the event: “The highlight was a gala banquet Saturday evening where I (and four others) were presented with the Minister’s Commendation (a wall plaque and a golden bar to be worn with my medals). Anne and I sat at the head table with the Minister and the Chief of the Defence Staff. When I said to General Natynczyk: “You help me with your name and I’ll help you with mine,” he said: “Just call me Walt.” In my case, the commendation recognized, among other things, the book I have written For Your Tomorrow: Canadians and the Burma Campaign, 1941-1945 (published 2004). Unfortunately a monsoon deluge on Sunday morning required that the colorful Ceremony of Remembrance planned for the National War Memorial be moved indoors. All in all, it was for us, the Burma vets, an unforgettable occasion.”
Ann Morwood combined her love of history and travel on a river cruise in Russia during July. The cruise, from Moscow to St. Petersburg, followed the Volga and Neva rivers, areas rich in Russia’s 1,000 years of history. She found the stories of Russia’s past and its cultures fascinating: The Kremlin and Red Square of revolutionary Moscow; Yaraslava, a heritage city of churches and onion domes and St.Petersburg, a beautiful city with its canals, palaces and museums. Ann enjoyed the music of men’s choirs, singing religious and folk music, concerts and ballet performances. She visited churches which survived the Soviet era almost by accident. Some were used to store felted boots which absorbed moisture, thus preserving important church interiors and religious art. The contrast of Russia of today with many centuries of its history and politics made this a unique travel adventure. Redecoration of McClure Hall. Most people will have noticed by now a brighter, cheerier McClure Hall. It was thoroughly cleaned and painted this summer. The painting was a massive job, the total wall area being as extensive as all the walls in a medium sized house! The pale yellow colour was kept on the upper walls, but the institutional green on the lower walls was changed to a more modern, and more neutral light brown. The coat rack was moved to the south wall, just beside the door, opening up the east wall for the Information Table on Sunday morning. The bookcase in the alcove near the courtyard windows has been removed, so that the coat rack will be able to expand around the corner during the winter when more space is needed for coats. While the ceiling was being painted, all the light bulbs were replaced with compact fluorescents. The badly worn vertical blinds were removed, and have been replaced with new blinds, which will be more functional and easier to clean. Everything is scheduled to be completed in time for our anniversary banquet on November 6. (Christine Mosser, on behalf of the Property Committee) Mary Sanderson is working on a remote Native reserve – the Nekaneet Reserve – in the southwest corner of Saskatchewan for several weeks from Nov. 17 to Dec. 8. She was invited to do Art Therapy with The Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge, a medium security federal penitentiary for native women outside Maple Creek. She welcomes your prayers. 7
New Children, Families & Outreach Ministry Co-ordinator Emily Gordon has been appointed our new Children, Families & Outreach Ministry Co-ordinator. Emily is a long-time member of Bloor Street and attended Bloor Street until 2003. Seven years ago she left for New Brunswick and then British Columbia, where she obtained degrees from Mount Allison University and Simon Fraser University. While in New Brunswick she taught Sunday School at Sackville United Church. At Ellesmere United Church in Burnaby, BC she initiated a young adults’ group with a social justice focus and was involved in planning the future of the church congregation. As Co-ordinator of our Children, Families and Outreach Ministry, Emily will be focused on the co-ordination of Bloor Street’s growing children’s ministry programs and support for its broad range of social justice initiatives and programs. This position starting November 1, runs for eight months. We are all looking forward to Emily’s time with us and to her contribution to the Bloor Street ministry team. (Doug Welwood)
coming events Sunday, November 21 Joint service with Alpha Korean United Church Wednesday, November 24 Bible for Busy People 6:30pm Sunday, November 28 Advent 1 Social Justice speaker after the service Sunday, December 5 Advent 2 Congregational lunch following the service Sunday, December 12 Advent 3 – Carols with children & youth Friday, December 10 Reel Activism 7:00pm Wednesday, December 15 Carols in a Minor Key 7:00pm Saturday, December 18 Refugee Outreach Project Cookies and Carols Party
Welcome to Emily and to Catherine Elsdon who, as part of her Master of Divinity course work, will be doing a placement focusing on Pastoral Care at Bloor St. She will be working eight hours per week from Nov. to April. Please see the Student Updates’ column on page 2 of this newsletter for more information about Catherine.
Sunday, December 19 Advent 4 – C hristmas Sunday
Church Council, 2010-2011
Friday, December 24 Family Service at 7:00pm Christmas Communion at 10:00pm
Chair.............................................. Doug Welwood Past-Chair...................................... Nenke Jongkind Secretary......................................... Catherine Elsdon Christian Development & Community Life..................... Bob Hilliard Communications............................ Stephen Milton Finance & Admin........................... Nenke Jongkind Investment..................................... Don Cooper Ministry & Personnel..................... Lisa Walter Property......................................... Ron Kentner Redevelopment............................... Michael Hilliard Social Justice.................................. Liz Tinker Stewardship.................................... Tom McCauley Volunteer Coordinators.................. Mary Sanderson & Pat McPhee Worship......................................... Heather Hilliard Pastoral Care.................................. Anne Farquharson Presbytery Reps.............................. Michael Hilliard ....................................................... Liz Tinker ....................................................... Dan Benson ....................................................... George Bartlett Members at Large........................... Sandra Cruickshanks ....................................................... Don Payne
Sunday, December 26 The Story of the Fourth Wise Man Sunday, January 2, 2011 Congregational lunch following the service Sunday, February 6 Congregational lunch following the service
is edited and published 4 times a year by the Communications Committee of Bloor St. United Church. All articles are copyright and may not be used without permission of the author. 250 words is the standard length for unsolicited articles. Articles should be single spaced, in 12 point type, without paragraph indentations. All articles may be edited. Photos will only be used if space permits and if suitable for publication.
Editor: Isabel Ward: [email protected]
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Deadline for the Winter Issue: Sunday, January 9, 2011 Layout: JANICEKRANGLE (416) 513.1396
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