Taye sent along the following: As you are aware, Michael’s final service is fast approaching. A committee has been busy preparing for a one-time-only face-to-face service on Sunday, July 25 at 10 am, to send him off. However, due to Covid restrictions, attendance is limited. If you are hoping to attend the service in person, we ask that you please complete this form to RSVP: https://forms.gle/Ls6ZSWeAYXK6UHCr6
You will be notified via email to confirm your attendance. The service will also be broadcast via ZOOM as per usual.
The Chair of your Church Council, Kathy Steiner, send along the following update regarding the pastoral search: “The search team has completed the position description for a supply minister and have posted it on the United Church Hub website where potential candidates can apply. We will keep you updated of all changes.” Thank you Kathy and Church Council Executive members.
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 24: “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.”
Luke 14.1-14: “On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.”
Focus on Reconciliation
Barbara Bisgrove sent along a number of articles related to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. This article reviews books Barbara has read to improve her knowledge of Indigenous peoples.
“From the Ashes. My Story of Being Metis, Homeless, and Finding my Way” by Jesse Thistle: Jesse’s story is not a happy one. I did not have good feelings reading it, only sadness about what humans can do to each other. He is Metis-Cree from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, now living in Toronto as assistant professor of Metis Studies at York University.
To quote CBC, George Canyon “From the Ashes is a remarkable memoir about hope and resilience, and a revelatory look into the life of a Métis-Cree man who refused to give up. Abandoned by his parents as a toddler, Jesse Thistle briefly found himself in the foster-care system with his two brothers, cut off from all they had known. Eventually the children landed in the home of their paternal grandparents, whose tough-love attitudes quickly resulted in conflicts. Throughout it all, the ghost of Jesse’s drug-addicted father haunted the halls of the house and the memories of every family member. Struggling with all that had happened, Jesse succumbed to a self-destructive cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and petty crime, spending more than a decade on and off the streets, often homeless. Finally, he realized he would die unless he turned his life around.”
Jesse says “If you look through the book, you’ll see flashes of light every time I was traumatized. The way that my mind works, it’s like looking through a shard of broken glass, with all the different light fragments. I can only capture them in one- and two-page memories because they either score my soul and I bleed too much, or I can’t remember because my mind blocks it out.”
“The Marrow Thieves” by Cherie Dimaline: This is an award-winning book for teens, and I agree with those who recognized it’s power. Cherie Dimaline, the first Aboriginal Writer in Residence for the Toronto Public Library, is a Metis whose fiction has been published world-wide.
I will quote from her forepage: “ The way to kill a man or a nation is to cut off his dreams, the way the whites are taking care of the Indians, killing their dreams, their magic, and their familiar spirits.” William S. Burroughs.
This is a science fiction, survival novel set in a Canada plagued by ecological disasters. Here government recruiters harvest bone marrow from Indigenous people believing they have dreams woven into the marrow and the non-Indigenous population have forgotten how to dream.
The storyteller is a young Metis boy called Frenchie, who is being hunted, and manages to join a group of people also on the run. An older Anishinaabe man takes the leadership role. He is suffering trauma after losing his husband to the recruiters. There are fights, people join the group and others leave, there is hardship with travelling and camping, and Frenchie falls in love with Rose.
Fortunately, it is not a long book – 234 pages – because I could not put it down. The last words are: “And I understood that as long as there were dreamers left, there will never be want for a dream. And I understood just what we would do for each other, just what we would do with the ebb and pull of the dream, the bigger dream that held us all. Anything. Everything.”
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:
Dr. Watson, at the time of his writing, was Professor of Hebrew at Pine Hill Divinity Hall, Halifax, N.S. He states that both his father and his grandfather, Christopher Watson, were buried in the Methodist Cemetery here.
Speaking of this brick building, Dr. Watson comments: “I well remember the Wesleyan Chapel which was in use when I was a boy. It was a plain rectangular building with a basement where the Sunday School was held. It faced on Main Street. A grey stone with the name “Wesleyan Chapel A.D. 1849’ was set into the brick immediately above the door. Steps went up the wall from each side of the door and immediately underneath steps went down into the basement. The basement was partially beneath the ground and in wet weather water often lay upon the floor. The church was plainly furnished but was comfortable and usually well filled with worshippers. The pulpit was high up on the Eastern wall, and approached by steps. In front of the pulpit and beneath it was the Communion Table surrounded by a railing. At the back of the church (the west end) the Choir sat on a slightly raised platform. There was a door on the south side of the pulpit, opening out on the Cemetery, and on a summer day, when this door was open, it was a pleasant sight to look out upon the peaceful scene—the stones, the green grass, the trees and shrubs. Squire Tyrrell and his family used to sit in a side pew near this door.”
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.
Summer is still to come, but now it is spring, so by noon I hope it will have warmed up a bit. It is a long day of survival ahead. Earlier in the week, in the jostling to get off a bus I was able to lift some guy’s wallet. That got me some cash for a bottle of whiskey, and I had a solo party with my memories. Today I’ll stand outside the liquor store and trust someone will take pity on me. Occasionally I’m lucky and meet a guy who is already drunk, out to pick up some more liquor and not thinking straight, so he gives me a ten or a twenty, not realizing what he’s doing.
My joints ache from sleeping on the ground and I need to find someone who will cut my toenails. When you walk about with wet boots and no socks you get foot infections. I could use a haircut too. I look wild which puts people off giving me money. As another guy said to me, his wish would be for people to see him and not look away when they pass him on the street. “They don’t see me; they see that stigma. They think I’m violent, I’m strange, I’m different — I’m just simple. I need someone to help me.”
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