This will be the last blast for a while, and I want to express my thanks to everyone who made this unique form of communication possible. Our blast “staff” includes writers, photographers, link-suggesters, announcement providers, and helpful refinement-makers. We went from a rather primitive little blast/site in 2008 to the format you see today. Together, our blast team has kept the congregation informed, inspired, and prepared for Sunday worship. Thank you all, and special thanks to our readers!
Preparing for Sunday with some of the notes shared by the organizing team: The service will be limited to 75 attendees. You will be required to wear your mask, sign in when you arrive, and answer a handful of screening questions. Seating in the sanctuary will be in twos and threes, and larger families are encouraged to follow this guideline as well. After the service, there will be a brief presentation and a metaphorical “toast” to Michael and Carmen. There will also be a book to sign.
Congratulations to Kori and Dan on the birth of baby Jamie, born on Monday night. And congratulations to new grandmother Jenny!
Preparing for August 1 with Weston Presbyterian Church. Dr. Odland has requested that you send your email address directly to him, and he will add you to the list for the remaining summer services (August 1 to September 5). His email is email@example.com
Thanks to our Zoom hosts (Faith, Kathy, Joyce, and Kerri) as well as Jenny and Heather for making our weekly worship by Zoom possible. What seemed a short assignment continued for six months!
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.
We were saddened to learn of the death of Don Lynn, longtime and beloved member of Mount Dennis United Church. While his field was information technology, his real passion was volunteering. Read about him here.
Part of a note we received from Diana Stapleton, Chair of WAES: “We are so appreciative of your generous ongoing donations, and for all the other amazing support we have received from the church. This type of consistent donation certainly helps us plan our purchases. It also show we have people who care about the community, month in and month out. It means a lot to all of us at WAES.”More from the note we received from Diana Stapleton, Chair of WAES:
Our friends at Shakespeare in Action are hosting a weekend of free, outdoor performances featuring Weston Silver Band, Rebanks and Alphonse by Wajdi Mouawad presented by Theaturtle. From July 29 to August 1, there will be free, live performances of music or dance. All safety protocols issued by the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto will be in place. Therefore, they ask that you pre-register for this event and arrive at least 10-15 minutes before the performance begins. Learn more (and register) here.
Worship at Central
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 10 am service by Zoom.
Readings this week:
Psalm 145: “All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your faithful shall bless you.”
Ephesians 3.14-21: “I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit.”
Focus on Reconciliation
This week, a message from the Moderator of the United Church of Canada addressed to Residential School Survivors, Families, and Communities:
I want to acknowledge the pain that you, as survivors of residential schools, families, and communities, are experiencing. We understand that the pain endured at these schools went far beyond their walls and grounds into community and through generations.
The United Church of Canada operated 15 residential schools: Alberni, Ahousaht, Coqualeetza, Kitimaat (Elizabeth Long Memorial Home), and Port Simpson (Crosby Boys’ and Girls’ Home) in BC; Edmonton, McDougall Orphanage/Morley, and Red Deer in Alberta; Cote (formerly Crowstand), File Hills, and Round Lake in Saskatchewan; Brandon, Norway House, and Portage la Prairie in Manitoba; and Mount Elgin in Ontario. We are aware of cemeteries on some of these sites, and we know that there are also unmarked and likely undocumented graves of children.
We acknowledge that our role in the residential school system and colonization is an abuse of power through our Christian faith. We hope that our ongoing work for reconciliation, which has been guided by United Church residential school survivors, more truly reflects what our faith calls us to be and do. We are committed to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, especially those directed to us as perpetrators. These include those related to burial sites and missing children.
In the spirit of truth telling and transparency, we want to share the work that we have done, in consultation with community, on identifying and restoring graveyards. The United Church in southwestern Manitoba has actively supported ongoing work on the identification and preservation of gravesites related to the residential school in Brandon; this includes the 104 graves identified off-site in 2018. In Saskatchewan, we supported the community of Okanese in preserving its graveyard and honouring the children buried there. The United Church of Canada has also been a partner in the preservation of the Regina Industrial School cemetery. (Regina was operated by the Presbyterian church, but the United Church shares responsibility.) United Churches in Red Deer, Alberta, worked to preserve the residential school cemetery in cooperation with the communities whose children were sent to Red Deer. There has also been research into possible graves at the Edmonton Residential School.
This work is just a beginning, and we understand that it must continue. Steps are required to properly locate, identify, and honour these children, and for the truth that Indigenous people have always known to finally be heard. Any work we do to help search grounds of and surrounding United Church residential schools must be done with respect for, the consent of, and with the guidance of Indigenous leadership, communities, survivors, and families. We know that we are not the experts in this work. We will continue to share all the documents and knowledge we have. If anyone in community wishes to share information and expertise with us, we will gratefully accept it and be committed to transparency.
We are committed to meeting with leadership to hear how they wish to proceed, and whether they would like our assistance at any stage. This includes financial assistance for what community leadership deems appropriate.
The United Church of Canada is committed to reconciliation and to transparency in our efforts to support Indigenous leadership, communities, survivors, and families in bringing these children the honour we denied them in life.
The Right Rev. Dr. Richard Bott
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 third [and current] building was opened on December 18, 1887, when the Rev. R. Large was minister. The Christian Guardian reports the special preachers for the occasion being Rev. Dr. Harper, District Chairman, in the morning; Rev. J.W. McCallum, a former pastor, in the afternoon; and in the evening the Rev. R. Boyle of Brampton preached to “an overflowing house.”
The church seated approximately 460. Two entrances off King Street, reached by a dozen fairly wide steps led through the base of each spire up short flights of stairs directly into the main auditorium.
Side aisles sloped down to the south end where the pulpit platform and choir loft were elevated considerably above floor level. A communion rail formed a semicircle in front of the pulpit. The choir accommodation for about 35 was in three rows, two on either side of the organ and one behind it, facing the congregation.
A small pipe organ was replaced in 1911 by a Warren 12-stop organ at a cost of $1,850.00. This instrument had an electric pump but there was a hand pump behind the choir loft which was often called into use when the power failed. Prior to the installation of the electric pump it was manually operated.
Minutes of the October, 1893, meeting of the Trustees record a discussion concerning the appointment of a boy for pumping the church organ and the Church Steward was authorized to appoint one, subject to the approval of the Board. It was later recorded that one was obtained for $12.00 per year! Unfortunately, he was not named.
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 “voice” of someone who has experienced homelessness.
I’m an alcoholic, which could be thought of as a mental illness, but others out here are homeless because they are mentally ill. Many homeless people have untreated schizophrenia, so they hallucinate. They hear voices, often mean ones, I think. I listen to them talking to themselves or the voices in their heads who can tell them to do scary things. Bipolar is another hard one – up one day and down another. I’ve seen them sitting on their beds crying and crying. Lots of us have depression. Who wouldn’t, living the way we do, not knowing if we’ll have food or somewhere to sleep, or the cops will decide to rough you up for loitering? I just want a little dignity shown to me. To be treated like I was when I was the boss. I don’t get why people are nice if they think the person is rich, but not if they are poor. Do you want to help? Treat us with compassion.
About this Blast
Members and friends receive this blast every Thursday. To share an announcement or unsubscribe, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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