The sudden appearance of summer-like weather reminds us that shared summer services are not far off. The year, our time together with friends from Weston Presbyterian Church begins with six Sundays “at” Central (June 20 to July 25) and ends with six Sundays at WPC (August 1 to September 5). All services begin at 10 am. Central’s summer services will follow the now familiar format, with an online service and Zoom worship (with the addition of WPC) at 10 am. There is a slight chance of in-person worship, so we will keep you posted.
Many thanks to Mary Louise and the Outreach Committee for leading worship on Sunday. It is inspiring to learn what a small group can achieve for the sake of the planet and the greater good.
Speaking of the Outreach Service, Dana sent Mary Louise some Humber memories after the service, and gave me permission to share them:
I enjoyed your message in the church service this morning on the Humber River and how it became a designated Canadian Heritage River. I assume the Humber River that flows behind our family farm on Highway 27 just south of Nobleton, starts around Highway 9 and continues south past Kleinburg, and joins up with another tributary of the river just north of Woodbridge. I have many memories of the Humber River. As a child growing up on our family farm, my two brothers and I, plus many other children in the area, swam in the river at the back of our farm. We were quite young then, the water wasn’t very deep so our parents never seemed to worry about us. My brothers and I are really fortunate to still have the farm – its been in the family for over one hundred years. Thanks again for your wonderful message which brings back many great memories.
Save the date! The Church School picnic has gone virtual! We’re planning a Zoom picnic on Sunday, June 13 at 11.30 am. There will be games, and whatever picnic food you wish to eat. More details to follow.
The Christian Education/Picnic Planning Committee will meet on Sunday, May 30 at 12.30 pm (by Zoom).
In March we learned the sad news of the passing of Barry O’Brien, a former member of Central. His obituary appeared in the Guelph Mercury this week, and can be read here. We remember the family in our prayers.
Zoom worship continues! Join us this Sunday (May 23) 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 104: “There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.”
Acts 2.1-8, 12-21 “And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.”
Focus on Water
Barbara Bisgrove shares more material on water, a recent focus for the Outreach Committee.
The earth’s ecosystem neither adds nor takes away water. The total remains the same. But problems arise when water moves around and changes temperatures. Some regions of the earth are becoming arid whereas others are experiencing ever more flooding. Due to water scarcity, some 24 to 700 million people will be displaced from arid and semi-arid regions of the world.
Humans play a large role in the disruption of natural water distribution by building too many dams, by large factories polluting freshwater sources, by the building of ever more paved roads whose surfaces prevent rain being absorbed, by drilling disrupting bedrock and sea water mixing with fresh water, and by privatization of bottled water monopolizing the resource that should be available to people living at its source.
As our population grows the demand for water increases, as does the demand for food. Agriculture accounts for over two-thirds of the world’s water consumption. Three in ten people on earth currently do not have access to safe and clean water. There are over 840 million people without access to a basic water source while 263 million people travel over 30 minutes to access what is often unclean water. One and a half million people die every year from waterborne diseases.
Much of the world’s water supply is largely disproportionate. The average Canadian family uses about 460 litres of water per day while the average African family uses 18 litres per day. If the entire volume of freshwater were to be distributed evenly among all the earth’s inhabitants, each person would receive 13,700 litres of water, each day.
“Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.” – Carl Sagan
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. This excerpt is found in the book “From Methodist Episcopal and Wesleyan Methodist to Central United” (1971) by Stanley Musselwhite:
Classes for the children have probably been held since the first church was erected and possibly prior thereto. Mr. James Lever served as Superintendent for about 40 years and was followed by Mr. William Watson for a period of a little better than 20 years. Succeeding superintendents do not appear to have held this important office for nearly such lengthy periods. We do not have a complete chronological list of all who have served but a large number of them are shown in the addends. Others who gave freely of their time and energy as teachers and officers down through a century and a half must run into a total of hundreds and we wish it were possible to give them individual recognition. Those who read this will no doubt recall many and give silent tribute to their faithfulness.
For some years starting at least early in the 1900’s the highlight of the Sunday School year was an Anniversary Sunday held early in December followed by a supper for the scholars one evening during the following week. Weeks of preparation were spent on special music for the Sunday services, both morning and evening. On the evening concert at which individual children took part and almost every class contributed a drill, skit, tableau or musical offering of some kind. Prizes were handed out to those who had attended Sunday classes regularly or learned a significant number of Bible verses. Of course, Santa Claus (often in the person of Mr. Albert Scythes) made a welcome visit and dispensed candy and fruit to all of the young ones.
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 shares the story of “Pete.”
He was such an active man that resting at home was difficult – lonely and boring. To cope he started drinking alcohol. The cocktail of opiates for pain, lack of sleep and alcohol, was addictive. He had failed to fasten his safety harness, leaving him with no entitlement to the compensation. He vented his rage in violent outbursts toward his family, and ultimately his angry behaviour lost him the community respect.
After six weeks of chaos, he packed a few things, took what money he felt was due to him, and left on a freight plane for Trois-Rivières. There he stayed at the YMCA while exploring the cheapest options to get himself to Toronto – as far away from his current life as he could manage. His English was limited to one school year and he made many mistakes at the beginning. Becoming increasingly discouraged as time went on, Pete found comfort in the taverns and bars. When his pain killers ran out it was easy to find more for sale on the streets. Finding work was much harder, especially without a phone to call people or receive return calls. Even having appropriate clothes for the seasons or the job is an issue for low-income people. Cheap jackets and no socks, gloves or underwear are not enough work outside in the winter He became a day labourer, to be picked up at a bus stop by construction crews needing extras for menial jobs on the site.
Pete found places that offered free meals. He joined the line-ups, taking any handouts on offer. Nearly two million Ontarians live in poverty. Without government investment in a strong workforce, equal pay for equal work, rent relief and so on, life for the poor is not improving. It was expensive to travel around Toronto on the buses or subway, and the physical labour took its toll. Sometimes, after drinking late into the night, Pete found it easier to stay in bed than look for work. Without the support and security of his home or a regular job, he found it difficult to fight off depression. No one seemed to care and dwindling funds brought their own anxiety.
Finally, Pete was evicted from his room for not paying the rent, and now he joined line-ups, not just for food, but for a shelter bed, a shower and the use of a free washer and dryer for his laundry. Some days he felt like crying when a person ahead in the line took the last sandwich or dregs of coffee from the communal urn. Life no longer felt fair, and the sun never seemed to shine. With his head down looking in curbs for dropped change and cigarettes, he failed to notice the sky. He felt anonymous within the much larger numbers of people than he had ever seen at home in Quebec.
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