Happy Earth Day! Read the press release that describes Earth Day activities in Toronto, including a message from the Mayor John Tory, details of a virtual celebration (with the Women4Climate Mentorship Programme) and a look at PollinateTO Community Grant recipients.
The latest Upper Room has arrived. If you would like a copy, give Terry a call at 416-417-1224.
The Outreach Committee will meet (by Zoom) on Thursday, May 6 at 7 pm.
Zoom worship continues! Join us this Sunday (April 18) beginning at 11 am. You will still receive the now traditional 8 am service by email. However, you can now watch a live version of the same service on your computer or device, followed by a time of fellowship. Like this past Sunday, you will be greeted by a host as you arrive (we recommend five or so minutes early) and have the opportunity to remain on the call for “coffee time” after the service.
Will all Zoom invitations, there is an option to join by telephone. Here are some instructions:
1. To join by phone, choose a local number from the “Dial by your location” section of the Zoom invitation.
2. Dial one of the 647 numbers and key in the Meeting ID when prompted, followed by the # key.
3. Ignore the request for a Participant ID and press # again.
4. Add the meeting Passcode and press # (once in the meeting, press *6 to mute and unmute)
Thanks to our Zoom hosts (Faith, Kathy, Joyce, and Kerri) as well as Jenny and Heather for making our weekly worship by Zoom possible.
The Church Council Executive continues to monitor the financial picture at Central. PAR is a blessing for us, along with those who have mailed in their offering or made a contribution online. We encourage you to help in any way you can, and we will even send someone to pick up your donation if you can’t get out to the mailbox. We thank you for your continued support. The mailing address is 1 King Street, Weston, Ontario, M9N 1K8 or you can give to Central online with CanadaHelps.
Worship at Central
Worship is currently online only. If you receive this blast, you will also receive an online service, around 8 am on Sunday. The email will include a link to the 11 am service by Zoom.
Readings this week:
Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me.”
John 10.11-18: “I am the good shepherd.”
Central at 200
Part of our celebration is to catalog the history of Central and the congregations woven into our fabric. Earlier this year, Marlene, Sylvia, Kerri, and Kevin assisted in transcribing and digitizing our existing history books, from 1971 and 1996. Today we begin presenting highlights. This excerpt is found in the book “From Methodist Episcopal and Wesleyan Methodist to Central United” (1971) by Stanley Musselwhite:
We were honoured for some years in having in our congregation the late Rev. Olivia Lindsay, a retired missionary of the church in Japan, and at the time one of the few ordained women in the United Church. She was an Honourary Elder. Another beloved worshipper with us when his official duties permitted his spending the weekend in Weston was the late Rev. Dr. D. I. Forsyth, for many years Secretary of the United Church Board of Christian Education. He was also an Honourary Elder and after his passing in 1967, a memorial in the form of a beautiful bound copy of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible was placed in the Pulpit. At this point it might be mentioned that previous Pulpit Bibles (King James Version) were donated by Mrs. Andrew Kaake in 1887 to mark the opening of the new church in that year, and by Dr. and Mrs. E. F. Burton in 1938 on the re-opening of the church after alterations at that time.
Many other ministers, retired from active service, made their church home with us. Some names come to mind: the Revs. John Morgan, W. Rodwell, R. H. Rodgers, George Kitching, D. Williams, W. N. Chantler and A. Thomson. If there were others whose names escape us, we apologize to their families and friends.
In June, 1963, Central Church shared with its Minister, the Rev. R. E. Spencer, the honour of his election as Chairman of Toronto West Presbytery. The occasion was marked by the presentation of a new Emmanuel College Hood, the Session having heard through the grapevine that the one in service for over 25 years was in need of replacement. We have no record of a Central Minister having been elected to an administrative office such as head of Presbytery or Conference prior to that time. A year later Mr. Spencer was elected as Commissioner to General Council which met in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in September. In 1966, Dr. Godfrey Gale was chosen as a lay delegate to General Council which met that year in Waterloo, Ont. In 1968, Mr. Clifford Mertens was elected as a delegate from Toronto Conference to General Council Meeting in Kingston, Ont. This Spring (1970) the Rev. Paul. B. Field was chosen to be a Commissioner to General Council to meet in Niagara Falls, Ont. Concurrently with the meeting of the Synod of the Anglican Church. It is a signal honour for laymen to be named Commissioners to General Council, and it must be something of a record for one church of medium size such as Central to be officially represented at the Council four times in succession.
In spite of the fact that the majority of our pastors have come to us in middle age or later, there is no record of one having passed on to higher service while minister to this congregation. In 1938 we shared with our Westminster friends their grief in the passing of the Rev. G. Ernest Forbes who had been their minister for 14 years and a one-time Chairman of Toronto West Presbytery.
One of our long time active and fervent laymen, Mr. John Lennox, achieved the ripe old age of 103 before passing on in 1937. The Board had recognized his birthday the previous year with a sheaf of roses.
While there were undoubtedly many other occasions on which the congregation paid special tribute to its ministers, one more comes to mind. During the pastorate of the Rev. Harry Pawson, he and Mrs. Pawson celebrated their 25th Wedding Anniversary, and a social gathering with an appropriate presentation marked the event.
An Element of Truth
Barbara Bisgrove has graciously allowed us to share excepts of her publication “An Element of Truth: Stories Based on What Was Heard and Learned at the Drop-in.” In this section, Barbara describes how her involvement in the drop-in began:
In 1993, I heard volunteers were needed at Central United Church to help with a weekly evening meal offered to the community. Joining the group as a volunteer dishwasher and meeting the people who come into the church lower hall began a growth journey for me. Over the years I have developed a respect and love for many of these people and have cared deeply about their setbacks and successes.
The numbers of diners – and eventually of dishes to be washed – increased until we were preparing for 80 each week. The meals evolved from sandwiches to a full-cooked meal. In 1999, a young man named Seth, contacted the church. He knew we had a population of low-income, marginalized people with more needs than just hunger, and offered to open a satellite of his agency on our premises.
As Seth was a trained drop-in worker from the UK, he told us – people from the church – how to apply to the City of Toronto for funding. Soon I wrote the first of many funding applications. The first to hire Seth and build a lower floor kitchen, a wheelchair ramp and buy equipment to serve food. Seth brought in staff from Public Health and The Works – a harm reduction agency that did needle exchange and provided safe crack use kits for drug users and condoms for sex workers.
About this Blast
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Our location on the historic Carrying Place Trail (Weston Road) reminds us that we meet on the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat, Petun, Seneca and, most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit. We hope this ancient path will be a symbol of our desire to walk with Indigenous peoples in a spirit of reconciliation and respect.
Central United Church, 1 King Street, Weston, ON M9N 1K8 | Phone: (416) 241-7544