January 11, 2019

This week (January 13) is Baptism of Jesus Sunday, that unlikely moment when John the Baptist baptized Jesus. It's an occasion to remember our baptism, and give thanks!

Many thanks to Kerri, Ida and Co. for the delicious meal this past Sunday. Next month: Mount Dennis Mac 'n Cheese!

The Outreach Committee will meet next Sunday (January 20) beginning at 9.30 am.

Plan ahead: Sunday, January 27, we will share the Sacrament of Communion, 11 am. Also on January 27, the Spiritual and Worship Committee will led worship at West Park Hospital, 9 am. Speak to Joan for more information.

The deadline for emailing you annual report is January 27. Speak to Taye to learn more.

Pulled pork including free smiles!

Worship at Central

We call it traditional worship with a twist. The service unfolds with the usual scripture-sermon-prayer format, but the added dimension of congregational participation and lots of interaction. We honour the children with their own place in the service, and prepare them for Church School. We have both Junior and Senior Choirs, an occasional Jazz ensemble and regular solo performances.

We follow the Revised Common Lectionary, which is available here.

This Sunday's Readings:

Psalm 29: "Ascribe due honour to God's holy name."

Luke 3.15-17, 21-22: "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

Read last week's sermon


Your Church Council Executive is busy planning a 'vendor sale' or 'maker's market' for the beginning of June, and we need your help. This large and somewhat complex endeavour will require numerous helpers and planners, beginning next week (January 13) when we meet for the first time, around 12.15 pm. Speak to Kathy for more information.

Why is it called the Kid’s Klub Sleepover when no one really sleeps? February 9 & 10. Speak to Jenny for details.

A note of thanks was received from Diana Stapleton, writing on behalf of Weston Area Emergency Support. She writes: "The volunteers ar WAES were thrilled to receive your generous White Gift support this Christmas. Your monthly support for WAES is also appreciated, and these additional gifts at Christmas really make us smile. We were able to provide hampers to 344 households, representing 900 people. We also handed out just over 300 gifts. The families that come to WAES spend about 74% of their income on rent (including utilities). The result to 58% of adults and 31% of children go hungry at least once per week. The volunteers at WAES appreciate that you walk with us as we continue to help our neighbours in Weston-Mount Dennis."

Minute for Mission

Our gifts for Mission & Service offer students an opportunity to gather for a meal in a multi-faith, safe space at places like the large Halifax campus of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. If you visit Dalhousie’s Multifaith Centre on Monday night, you will be greeted with a free hot meal provided by United Church chaplain the Rev. Robyn Brown-Hewitt, and so much more!

Proposed Changes to the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)

On November 22, 2018 the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services announced proposed changes to the social assistance system in Ontario – changes to be introduced over the next 18 months. If passed in to legislation these changes will affect not only people using the drop-in services, but family and friends of congregation members.

One change brings the ODSP definition of disability closer to the federal benefit programs. Changing the definitions would mean many low-income people with disabilities in Ontario who qualify for ODSP today would no longer be eligible. Instead they could be put into the Ontario Works (OW) program, which provides a lot less money in benefits and has stricter rules around work requirements. A single person on OW currently gets only $733 / month, while a single person on ODSP gets $1169. That represents a 37% cut in benefits.

This proposed change could include people with a number of different disabilities, like multiple sclerosis, mental health disabilities, rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis C, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain, migraine, and some forms of cancer. These conditions are considered “episodic” disabilities, and the ability to function can improve or worsen depending on individual circumstances.

The Minister talks about a difference between people who “can” work and those who “can’t” work. Moving to a more restrictive definition of disability appears to be an effort to redefine people on ODSP as being unable to work. It is unknown whether the new ODSP program will continue to provide access to employment and other related support like job training, childcare, housing and life skills.

Providing support to people on OW recognizes that those currently on OW face multiple barriers to employment, and need specific life-stabilizing supports before they can think about looking for work. The new model of support for people on OW seems to presume that it is a straight line from crisis to employment as long as good supports are provided, and that once a person gets a job, they will not return to social assistance. Which is not necessarily what we see with people using the drop-in services.

Information for this article has been taken from an Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC) media release December 2018.

Barbara Bisgrove

Community Announcements

All events are free unless otherwise noted.

Visit the Sleeping Skeletons of High Park on Saturday, January 12 from 1.30 to 3 pm. Come explore High Park’s “Sleeping Skeletons” such as majestic Oaks, hardy Maples and whimsical Willows. Learn how to ID trees during their winter dormancy by studying their buds, twigs and bark. Suggested donation of $2 to $5 per person. 375 Colborne Lodge Drive.

Cooking Talk with Luciana Longo, Mount Dennis Library, on Saturday, January 19 from 2 to 3 pm. Author Luciana Longo shares her tips, memories, and love of cooking with a reading from her book, ?Si Mangia! Memories, Lessons and Recipes from Italian Immigrant Life?. A cooking demonstration on how to make tiramisu will be provided. Register by calling 416-394-1008.

2018-19 at Central

See what's coming up in the 2018-19 church year.

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Photo by Mark Bisgrove.