February 15, 2018

And so it begins. Sunday is Lent 1, and the journey up to Calvary and the empty tomb will soon follow. What's coming up? A luncheon and the annual meeting on March 4, Palm Sunday Communion and Easter Egg decorating on March 25, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday worship at Central (shared with our friends from Weston Presbyterian) and a service to celebrate the Resurrection on April 1. Easter Sunday is also new member Sunday, so speak top Michael if you would like to learn more.

Lent is early! February 18 is the first Sunday of Lent, and becomes the signal to begin our annual Lenten Study. This year, beginning on Thursday, February 22 (6 pm), we will look at preaching in the life of the church. The topics (tentatively) include: 1) Why Preach?/Why Listen?; 2) What’s a Sermon?; 3) Applied Bible; and 4) The Great Canadian Preach-Off. Intrigued? Ask Michael for more details.

Next week! Jubilate Singers will be singing wonderful Latin American music in their Latin American Connections concert at Central United Church on Saturday, February 24 at 7.30 p.m. Tickets $20 at the door. The music of Latin America is a special strength of the Jubilate Singers and includes favourite songs from their repertoire and features well-known Chilean multi-instrumentalists Rodrigo Chavez and Nano Valverde. Please put it in your calendar and bring some friends. Half the proceeds will go to the church.

Look for your charitable receipt this Sunday, and a notice about The Steampipe Fund. As we often say, "See Sue!"

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.

This Sunday's Readings:

Psalm 25: “Lead me in your truth and teach me.“

Genesis 9.8-17: "I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you."

Read last week's sermon


Please mark these dates! The Church Council will meet on Sunday, February 25 following worship. This is a short meeting to review the budget and prepare for the annual meeting, held the following Sunday, March 4.

The annual World Day of Prayer service will be held on Friday, March 2 at Weston Presbyterian Church, 11 Cross Street, beginning at 2 pm. The service was written by the women of Suriname. They ask that you please bring a non-perishable food donation for WAES. Speak to Edna Harding for more information.

The 200th Anniversary Committee will meet after worship on Sunday, March 18. Plans are afoot!

Save the date! Join us for Pub Night on Friday, March 23 at 7 pm. Details to follow.

On the topic of pub night, we are planning to auction off gift baskets. Interested in putting together a themed gift basket? Need tips? Speak to Terry, Kathy or Michael.

Corrected version: Frontlines Annual Dinner will be held on Saturday, April 28 at 6 pm, Weston Golf and Country Club, 50 St. Phillip’s Road. Help them celebrate 30 years of helping Weston. Tickets are $90, and available from Carol Latimer.

Minute for Mission

Our gifts for Mission & Service support global partners in their day-to-day work through long-term change and emergencies.

Our global partner the Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) works on gender justice, microcredit, sustainable agriculture, and programs to address the extreme hunger caused by drought. Listen to this reflection from a participant in the Mission & Service Global Pilgrimage to Kenya on the visit to an area hardest hit by extreme hunger:

“OAIC is working in this arid region to support agriculture and food security, including empowering female small holder farmers to advocate on their behalf to impact legislation. Indicators show that when women are at the centre of projects and decisions there is significant progress toward food security. Dry riverbeds, the plea to ‘help my people,’ the daily water truck, the hope shared by the farmers—these images stay with us. Our gifts for Mission & Service make this hope of a better tomorrow possible.”

Photo by Cathy Leask

An interesting combination

Ottawa is developing its first national poverty-reduction strategy and there are two Toronto residents from north Scarborough, both anti-poverty experts, travelling there this year to join 15 other academics and community leaders from across the country in developing policy to reduce the numbers of poor.

One, John Stapleton, is a recently retired top civil servant who worked for the Ontario Government in the Ministry of Community and Social Services for 28 years in the areas of social assistance policy and operations social services bureaucrat. His more recent government work concerned the implementation of the National Child Benefit. He has volunteered with West Neighbourhood House and Wood Green Community Services of Toronto, he teaches public policy, is a prolific writer and President of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame among many other positions.

The other person, 11 years younger, is Bee Lee Soh. Soh came to Canada from Malaysia to study when she was 19, becoming a citizen in 1993. She has worked for years in low-wage jobs, unaware of any social safety net. She experienced homelessness when she could no longer afford her $700-a-month room on her minimum-wage job. “I knew I needed to stay warm, so I went to Tim Hortons. I didn’t sleep. I couldn’t sleep. I was working full-time with nowhere to live,” she says. But with no sleep, Soh soon lost her job.

Soh has been telling her story since 2015 when she was chosen from more than 350 applicants to advise the City of Toronto on its 20-year poverty reduction strategy. Since then, Soh has joined several community groups to push city council to live up to the plan’s promise to eliminate poverty in Toronto by 2035.

In mid-December, she reminded advocates at a town hall meeting not to forget the plight of single people living in poverty. “The government is always doing things for families, children and seniors,” she says. “But when you are single, everything is more expensive. It’s very hard. Singles are most at risk for homelessness. I know.” The lived experience of Soh is as valuable as the academic experience of Stapleton as people join together to address the important topic of poverty.

Barbara Bisgrove

Community Announcements

All events are free unless otherwise noted.

Jazz Vespers at All Saints Kingsway Anglican Church, 2850 Bloor Street West on Sunday, February 18 at 4 pm. An hour of meditation and reflection featuring Quisha Wint and Songs of Love and Spirit.

Mount Dennis Library presents Arduino for Beginners on Thursday, March 8 at 6 pm. Learn how to use an Arduino micro-controller. This program is for those who know nothing about Arduino, micro-controllers and electronics. A laptop and Arduino kit is provided for use during this workshop.

Humber Community Seniors' Services is looking for volunteers to help with the Meals on Wheels Program. The Program needs drivers to deliver hot, nutritious meals to seniors and adults with disabilities in the Weston-Mount Dennis community. Call 416-249-7946 or visit them at 1167 Weston Road.

In the Library

Jesus' Little Instruction Book: His Words to Your Heart compiled by Thomas Cahill.

Jesus' teachings have reached across two millenia, inspiring, informing, and uplifting people from all walks of life. In this elegant little volume, a noted religious publisher and biblical student has collected Jesus' key messages, selecteded from the Gospels.

Worth a Look

Simon Kelner argues that Lent is the older, religious version of what we now call mindfulness.

2017-18 at Central

See what's coming up in the 2017-18 church year.

About this Blast

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Photo by Mark Bisgrove.