Central

UNITED CHURCH

Summer 2018

Next Sunday (June 17) we begin our annual pattern of shared worship with Weston Presbyterian Church. The first six weeks will be held at WPC (11 Cross Street), returning to Central (1 King St.) on July 29. Please note, all summer services begin at 10 am.

Bring Your Talent was a great success! Thanks to everyone who helped at Weston Farmers Market on June 23. We raised nearly $1,200 for COPs (Community Outreach Projects). It went so well, we're planning to do another in October. Please speak to Cathy Leask or Sylvia Keyes to learn more.

C'mon, Kevin!

Worship at Central

We call it traditional worship with a twist. The service unfolds with the usual scripture-sermon-prayer format, but the added dimension of congregational participation and lots of interaction. We honour the children with their own place in the service, and prepare them for Church School. We have both Junior and Senior Choirs, an occasional Jazz ensemble and regular solo performances.

We follow the Revised Common Lectionary, which is available here.

Join us in worship to hear the readings!

Read a recent sermon

Announcements

A note from Diana Stapleton, Chair of Weston Area Emergency Support: "Every day the volunteers at WEAS meet new people that come for help. We all do our best to make them feel welcome. Your support helps us to do this valuable work, and we truly appreciate your contribution. Thank you for walking with us and caring for our community."

The Steampipe Fund is accepting donations. Please consider a separate donation to help us deal with this on-going issue and subsequent water damage. Speak to Terry, Sue, or Kathy for more information. Work has begun on the repairs, and it will be a big project!

Do you have photos or mementos for Central's yesteryear? We have a dedicated team of historically-minded people who are gathering and copying material from the past, and will be sharing in the lead up to our 200th anniversary. All items will be returned. Speak to Barb Putnam or Mary Lou Ashbourne.

Expenses never take a holiday. Can you help? Joining PAR is the best solution (see Sue!) but being intentional about making up missed givings is really helpful too. Thanks!

Minute for Mission

Mission & Service supports microcredit programs like the one created by the Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network in Kenya. Small loans allow women to run small businesses—but even more, they create opportunities for women to improve their families’ lives by providing the means for shelter, food, clothing, and an education for their children.

I'm Learning as I Go

In the late 90’s, when Central first started to welcome our community to share a weekly meal, I was introduced to the term “Harm Reduction.” It seemed to me a whole separate, rather undercover department of social services. It involve closed doors and anonymous packages—and the people who went behind the doors were a different kind of “poor” but definitely “marginalized”—a word that has become more frequently used.

The marginalized were drug addicts and sex workers and often dealing with alcohol issues too. In the hierarchy of the drop-in population they sat below the low income and those coping with poverty and mental illness. “Harm reduction” meant helping them to stay healthy by providing condoms, needle exchange and safe crack use kits and people with whom they felt safe for counselling. We offered anonymous testing for Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS and while not condemning their practices offered help to change their life styles. All good and necessary work; but not something I felt I should not mention in church when talking about the drop-in!

Today, we recognize that everything we do in the drop-in is about “harm reduction.” The social integration, the nutritious food, the activities, and the safety of the place all contribute to reducing stress and improving health. The workshops on topics such as sexual health, Hepatitis C and diabetes are offered to everyone and are intended to keep us all healthy. The showers and laundry facilities, the clothing, bedding and toiletries offered not only reduces harm from fleas and bedbugs, but a toothbrush and toothpaste prevents cavities.

The safe crack kits are still available but in discrete brown paper sandwich bags and we’ve added kits for safe piercings. Like many things from government, the City of Toronto now requires a far more detailed account recorded of the person who receives a package. We have trained “peer workers” who take the materials to bars and barber shops and can also encourage their peers use safely and reduce the potential harm.

The condoms now sit openly like a colourful dish of candy on the coffee table in the lounge since we recognize many individuals have sexual relationships and need protection. Posters warn people of dangerous drugs being circulated and the Bad Date Coalition prints a monthly newsletter where sex workers publicize descriptions of people, places and vehicles where they have encountered danger. We encourage visiting older teens to volunteer with breaking apart the condoms which come in strips, so they can talk with the trained workers about prevention of sexual diseases.

And I am finally talking about harm reduction openly in a church newsletter!

Barbara Bisgrove

Thank you Habitat volunteers!

In the Library

The One Year Bible by Various Authors (and the Holy Spirit)

The best-selling One Year Bible, which helps you read the entire Bible in as little as 15 minutes a day, has been updated in a new look. The One Year Bible divides God's Word into daily readings from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs, creating an achievable and unforgettable devotional experience.

2018-19 at Central

See what's coming up in the 2018-19 church year.

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Photo by Liz Rodgerson