June 10, 2021

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Read The United Church response to the recent attack in London, Ontario. In addition, our Moderator, the Rt. Rev. Richard Bott shared the following prayer:

Tonight, I join with many across Canada to condemn the act of religiously motivated hatred and violence that took place in London, Ontario, on Sunday – the murder of a Muslim family and an act of terror against Islam. Let us be with all those who mourn. Let us use all that we have and all that we are to stand in the face of the evil that would allow and cause this crime of hatred. Even as one man has been arrested for his actions, let us uncover and work against the beliefs, the worldview, the racism and the hatred that supported his choice. May the Most Compassionate and Most Merciful God dwell with those who have died in paradise, and give patience and blessing to those who mourn through this time of trial.

This Sunday! 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, singing, and a pet show! Plan ahead and gather a pencil and some paper, and food if you wish.

Plan ahead!  Summer services begin with six Sundays “at” Central (June 20 to July 25) and ends with six Sundays at Weston Presbyterian Church (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.

Their cup runneth over! WKNC has paused clothing/other item donations for the time being. Seems lots of generous folks have been spring cleaning.

Speaking of WKNC, there is a vacancy on the Board of Directors for a faith-based nominee. If you are interested, please speak to Michael or Wendy Whiteley.

Celebrate Pride Month! The City of Toronto has created a page dedicated to Pride Month, including a 2021 Pride Month proclamation, milestones, and a section on how to improve 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion. Visit the page here.

Zoom worship continues! Join us this Sunday (June 13) 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 20: “The LORD answer you in the day of trouble! The name of the God of Jacob protect you!”

Mark 4.26-34: “With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it.

Read last week’s sermon. Did you miss a service, or misplace the link? Our services remain online for you to review and enjoy. Click oneking.ca/wp to visit our worship site.

Focus on Reconciliation

Barbara Bisgrove sent along a number of articles related to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. This article provides background on the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Canadian Government set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2008. Its primary purpose is documenting the history and impacts of the Canadian Residential School System. Truth and Reconciliation reveals the long and painful history behind Canada’s treatment of Indigenous peoples.

Before Europeans arrived, First Nations peoples lived on the land we now know as Canada for thousands of years. They hunted for their food and migrated to different areas of land depending on the time of the year. Each group had its own government and traditions and different groups had their own agreements among each other so they could coexist peacefully on the land.

When the Europeans arrived, they began trade relations with the First Nations peoples. The First Nations traded their animal furs for all kinds of materials including tools, cloth, and pottery. Relations between the Europeans and First Nations continued to grow and alliances began to form.

Later, these alliances were solidified through the signing of treaties, which were official agreements between Europeans and certain First Nations.

The Canadian Government set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2008. Its primary purpose is documenting the history and impacts of the Canadian Residential School System. Truth and Reconciliation reveals the long and painful history behind Canada’s treatment of Indigenous peoples.

Although the Europeans and First Nations signed the same documents, both sides had very different views on what the treaties actually meant.

A procession from Weston Presbyterian Church passes Central in 1912. The southeast face (without a chancel) would remain unchanged until 1938. Image from the Weston Historical Society.

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 “The History of Central United Church” (1996) by Eric Lee:

One story built around the personal history of Mr. James Lever (one of our founders) sets 1812 as the year in which that ardent Methodist, an immigrant from Lancashire, England, commenced holding meetings and preaching services somewhat north of what was the northerly limit of the Town of Weston. This would be roughly in the vicinity of Weston Road and Wilson Avenue. However, in the obituary of James Lever in the September 1861 issue of The Christian Guardian, a Methodist publication of some years’ standing at that time, it was stated that Mr. Lever was born in England in 1769, was converted in 1815, and left England in 1817. He lived in Philadelphia for some few months and a son (Roger) was apparently born there in 1818. The Levers moved to Upper Canada that year and settled in “Little York”. Their names appear in Champion’s The Methodist Churches of Toronto (1899), and in Sanderson’s First Century of Methodism in Canada (1908),  in connection with the building of the first chapel on King Street (Toronto) on the site now occupied by the head office building of the Canadian Imperial  Bank of Commerce. 

Champion’s story sets the date of the opening service in this building as November 5th, 1818, at which time the preacher was the Reverend David Culp. He had been appointed to the Yonge Street Circuit in 1817and was also the first regular minister to serve the new Weston church. The first congregation in York was apparently connected with the American Methodist Episcopal Church and soon after the little chapel on King Street was opened, a number of Wesleyan Methodists, including the Levers, left it to hold their own meetings in the Masonic Hall. The Rev. Henry Pope, a Wesleyan Missionary from England, arrived in York in 1820 to minister to this little group but left again the same year. Some members of the Wesleyan Society as it was known, again including the Levers, returned to the King Street Chapel in that year. 

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.”

Pete found himself frequently returning to parking lot bench to dream his dreams of a secure future for himself and others whose lives had collapsed. He showed his plan to people at the drop-in and received encouragement and help with the writing structure and which of a multitude of City departments would look at his plan and find him financial backers. As time passed, his plan’s pages began to get tattered and he spoke of it less frequently. Then, one day, the “For Sale” sign was taken down, and the next time he passed by a large container stood outside, filled with debris from the renovations that were occurring. Eventually, lawyers and their office staff moved in.

Pete dwelt on the feeling of unfairness, that the rich can find backers and raise money, whereas poor people like him, who may have dreams and knowledge, had little chance of starting an enterprise that would make them self-sufficient. There are inspiring stories of immigrants arriving with nothing who end up building commercial empires. But they are easily outnumbered by those who cannot find the means to rise above the poverty line. They face too many barriers.

The loss of his dream brought dark days for Pete, and the drinking and pain killers took over again. Drunk, staggering across a road, Pete was hit by a car and reinjured his shoulder, rendering him useless for casual labour or kitchen work. His liver is slowly failing, and he could see no hope of ever returning to his family. He now hides the bald spot with a buzz cut and has added a trim beard. On good days, he still plies his charm, kissing women’s hands, and using the romantic French accent to his advantage, but he is less exuberant and the twinkle in his eyes has left along with his dreams.

About this Blast

Members and friends receive this blast every Thursday. To share an announcement or unsubscribe, email cuc@bellnet.ca

Territorial Acknowledgement

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.

Contact Us

Central United Church, 1 King Street, Weston, ON M9N 1K8 | Phone: (416) 241-7544

Photo by Mark Bisgrove