Carol’s picnic basket! Congratulations to Kerri, winner of the picnic basket quiz, with seven correct answers! Second place goes to Cathy! Thanks for guessing and keeping the spirit of picnic alive a while longer.
Summer services continue with six Sundays “at” Central (June 20 to July 25). We then shift to Weston Presbyterian Church for the remaining six Sundays (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.
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 130: “Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD.”
Mark 5.21-43: “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.”
Focus on Reconciliation
Barbara Bisgrove sent along a number of articles related to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. This article confronts the question “Why can’t they just get over it?”
They are still dealing with the effects of colonization. For example, the Indian Act still controls many aspects of their lives and places limits on Indigenous peoples, and new developments happen in Indigenous communities and cultures every day.
Colonization has had a lasting effect on Indigenous communities. This has resulted in challenges including poverty, depression, intergenerational trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. There are many social and economic barriers the communities and their youth must overcome in order to break this harmful cycle.
Many Indigenous people continue to experience racism, sometimes direct and intentional, and sometimes in the form of uninformed misunderstandings.
Residential schools are not “ancient history.” It may seem as though they belong to a dark and ancient history due to the horrific conditions the 150,000 children (of which 6,000 died or disappeared) were subjected to but the last one closed in 1996. That’s not ancient history.
The mandate of the schools was to assimilate the children into settler society. The actions taken to fulfil the mandate of assimilation were labelled “cultural genocide” by Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin in 2015. Genocide is not a term most people associate with Canada.
Children as young as six were forcibly removed from their homes. From the moment they crossed the threshold of the school they were thrust into a harsh, unforgiving, linguistically and culturally alien world. Punishment was often severe, sexual, physical and psychological abuse common. The legacy of the trauma those children suffered is carried forth through the generations.
Senator Murray Sinclair, former head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, made these comments in regard to a fellow senator who posed the question “Why can’t they get over it?”:
“My answer has always been: Why can’t you always remember this? Because this is about memorializing those people who have been the victims of a great wrong. Why don’t you tell the United States to ‘get over’ 9/11? Why don’t you tell this country to ‘get over’ all the veterans who died in the Second World War, instead of honouring them once a year? . . . We should never forget, even once we have learned from it because it’s part of who we are. It’s not just a part of who we are as survivors and children of survivors and relatives of survivors, it’s part of who we are as a nation. And this nation must never forget what it once did to its most vulnerable people.”
Information taken from: “Indigenous Workforce Participation Initiative,” Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 1998, with updates from Statistics Canada, and from “Indigenous Strong, Manitoba Strong: Indigenous contributions to the Manitoba Economy” (2019).
Weston & Mount Dennis Community Renaissance Project invites you to an artist talk with Star Nahwegahbo. She is an Anishinaabe and Scottish settler from Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation, Ontario, currently living in Tkaronto. Star is a mother, interdisciplinary artist, former Social Service Worker of 12 years, grassroots community organizer, and expressive arts facilitator and she lives and works in the Mount Dennis Neighborhood. Star’s work explores the parallels of motherhood and land, the impact of colonial violence on families, grief and medicine, and the art of braiding ourselves back into our rightful place in creation. She acknowledges that her work is guided and co-created with ancestral and land-based intelligence. To register, click this link.
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:
The story then traces Lever’s move from the mouth of the river to a place about two miles north of Denison’s farm, which would put it in the vicinity of the present Weston Road and Wilson Avenue. Here he is reported to have built a log home and a log meeting house where services were held. This may have been so, but our more recent and fairly authenticated information rules out the possibility of such meetings being held as early as 1812.
We have in our possession an uncertified (typewritten) copy of a “Memorial” bearing two dates: “20th March, 1821” and “11th June,1821”, which appears to be a trust deed by which Elizabeth Davis and John Davis Porter granted to seven trustees an acre of land at the corner of what later became King Street and Weston Road “in trust that they shall erect a house for public worship for the use of the Episcopal Church in the Province of Upper Canada”. The trustees were Michael Miller, Thomas Hill, Caleb Peck, James Farr, Erastus Howard, Nathan Martin and Robert Farr.
Provision was made that as any one or more of these trustees died or ceased to be a member of the said church, the Minister or Preacher should call a meeting to elect one or more persons to fill the vacancy or vacancies in order to keep the number of trustees at seven. (The number of trustees of the present congregation is 15).
Elizabeth Davis was the widow of Benjamin Davis, and John Davis Porter appears to have been a ward or an employee of Benjamin at the time he executed his last will and testament dated October 15, 1818. John Porter married Louisa Longstaff on April 21, 1825, and one of their nine children, Mary Porter, born on October 29, 1837, married Robert S. Brown on October 1, 1856. Direct descendants of this union are among the present members of this congregation.
Copies of other deeds in our possession indicate that further lands were deeded to the Trustees of the Methodist Church in Weston; all by the same John Davis Porter:
Jan. 6, 1844 “Eleven Perches” for 12 pounds, 10 shillings
Nov. 11, 1852 ”One Rood four Perches”
Jan. 1, 1858 Area not mentioned, for 40 pounds.
It is interesting to note that the transaction in 1844 was not registered at the time. Subsequently, in order to clear up the estate of John Davis Porter who “departed this life” on May 25,1874, the Trustees and the widow, the surviving children and other interested parties, executed an Indenture dated Nov. 1, 1876, releasing the property to the Trustees. This indenture was duly registered at 11:35 o’clock of the third day of July, A.D. 1877.
More of Our History
Last week we had a coffee hour discussion following the Toronto Star article about the 1911 discovery of bones during the construction of the old Westminster Sunday School. The article references a photo of the discovery (warning: photo shows human remains).
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 firsthand experience of someone who has experienced homelessness.
I thought about how it was before I was homeless. People don’t believe me when I tell them I worked all over the world, had 20 men working for me, and was making $250,000 a year. I had a beautiful wife and kids. All I have left is a crumpled photograph of them all sitting on the deck of our yacht taken eight years ago, so I imagine the children are grown now. My wife kicked me out in the end, and I don’t blame her. I was drinking continuously and acting stupidly. I couldn’t hold the business together and eventually had to fire all my staff.
At first, when you start drinking a few glasses, you feel fantastic. I feel I am capable of so much, even if I’m not sure where my keys and phone are! I feel it’s perfectly acceptable to start talking to random people. I love everyone and anyone and tell people loudly how much I love them. I have a lot of conversations about nothing at all. I listen to their life stories and I tell them mine. I sing and dance with unknown people, I buy drinks for everyone, I’m super compassionate. Somehow, worrying thoughts are banished from my mind and I find space for hope. But I needed more and more alcohol to feel good thoughts and avoid feeling melancholy and sorry for myself. At first, the booze took away the pain in my back from a drunk motorcycle crash. But later it didn’t even do that. I just feel tired of the world, and I must pee a lot.
It feels good when you’ve got just the right amount of alcohol in you and you can forget what a failure you are. I’d rather drink than eat. My face looks much older than my age and I’ve lost a few teeth since I stopped going to the dentist. I have an unkempt beard and my clothes hang on me because I have lost so much weight. When I do buy food, it isn’t always the healthiest because I just want to feel full. I should be smart like the raccoons I see in the parks. They gain so much weight in the fall to keep them warm through the winter, that they look like hairy puff balls. As I emerge from my sleeping bag, I nod to a few other fellows who are doing the same thing. One guy shares a tent with a woman friend, but mostly we’re guys down here. I run my hands through my hair and straighten my clothes, take a pee in the bushes off to the side, and that’s my toiletries done for the start of my day.
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