Our Purpose and Mission Statement

Working to build God's dream. Help wanted!

We the people of Glen Rhodes United Church, are determined that our life together will be fully inclusive for people of all ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, differing abilities, ethnic origins and economic circumstances. Therefore, we hope that God will work in us so that we will be a sensitive congregation, willing to share our faith and gifts in language and worship, in the life and work of our church and wherever God calls us to do justice in the wider community, with compassion, fun and laughter

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Welcome back Sunday (September 7): part 2

The Ex is upon us, so that spells back to school for younger people. And a quest for a church in many families.
If you live in the east end and are looking for a community that is inclusive, that cares about peace, the planet and all the people in it where you can add your energy, or introduce children to values such as kindness, openness, justice-seeking, fun-loving, Glen Rhodes may be the place.
Thinking of checking us out? Wear what feels comfortable. Bring the family. Bring your dog (September 21 is Blessing of the Animals but they’re welcome every week). Bring your questions about faith and life. Sing like you mean it: our Director of Music is an amazing accompanist and song leader. Meet people who share your hopes for the neighbourhood and the earth.
Creation Time starts September 14—six weeks of focus on our relationship to Creation. We collect things such as batteries, small electronics and those new light bulbs that can’t go in the garbage as one expression of our commitment, and as a help to those who can’t easily get to the city waste drop-off.
The worship service is at 10:30, as you likely spotted already. Parking on Gerrard is free until 1 o’clock. People are generally on their way around noon, so that shouldn’t be a problem unless you get really involved in a conversation at Coffee Hour!
Posted by Robin Wardlaw

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Welcome back Sunday: September 7

Summer holidays are over soon for students. (Sorry to have to say that!) Churches tend to take a bit of a holiday in July and August, too. People go away, committee work slows down or stops, worship might be somewhat different. Now we’re getting ready to get back into gear.

At Glen Rhodes United, we’re very proud of our new purpose statement, and the renewed energy around the place for “building God’s dream.” We ended on a high note in June with a First Nations focused worship and then our big Pride service and parade participation a week later. There are several ideas under consideration now for new outreach, new activities starting in the fall to bring more peace and justice to the planet. And we want to work on our communications, especially social media, to better share the things we’re up to.
The United Church has been at the forefront of justice-seeking in Canada for a long time. Glen Rhodes has been at the forefront of the United Church, especially in its support of the membership and ministry of LGBTT people, and equal marriage. There are warm smiles here and also people passionate about making a place for everyone, both in church and in our society. Radical hospitality, we call it.
More details to come. Stay tuned.
Posted by Robin Wardlaw

Friday, 1 August 2014

Justice for Grassy Narrows

Hundreds of people joined a demonstration at Queens Park in Toronto the other day. Here are some of them.

I think it's safe to say most of them have not been to Grassy Narrows First Nation (Asabiinyashkosiwagong Nitam-Anishinaabeg), down the Wabigoon and English Rivers from Dryden, Ontario. Yet there they were this week demonstrating for justice for this far away group of people. 
The paper mill in Dryden used the river for a sewer for many years. So did lots of industries across the province. So do some of them still. When I was an occasional visitor to Dryden in the summer of 1971, I noticed the distinctive paper mill smell all over town, and that the foam in the river ran different colours depending what kind of paper was in production: canary, blue, green, salmon. (That last one's a little ironic.) What I couldn't see or smell was the mercury going into the water.
Mercury is a very nasty brain and nerve poison. Science teachers no longer let students roll the stuff around in their hands like we did, I'm sure. The people of Grassy Narrows (and other reserves with the same environmental issue) didn't have a choice, though. They were eating the stuff in the fish from the river, a staple of their diet. Until they began to have problems with balance, vision, pain, speech and so on. (Check out Minimata Disease to find out how dreadful are the symptoms.)
All this time later, things are still not right. Ontario and Canada have done some remarkable things for the sake of right relations over the decades. And there is still much more to do. People need to be able to drink the water and eat the fish. It's a human right. They need to believe that they are not throwaways, that we matter to each other.
Harm done to any of us is harm done to all of us. Congratulations to the people of Asabiinyashkosiwagong for their persistence over two generations. You do matter. Congratulations to all those who turned up to walk with them in a show of solidarity. Congratulations to Members of Provincial Parliament who take the matter seriously and commit to addressing the needs of the victims of the poisoning, and to cleaning up the environment here and everywhere across the province.
Posted by Robin Wardlaw

One life

Jane died earlier in July. She was ninety-three. She has been part of the Glen Rhodes family for a long time. Some of her former Sunday School students are now seniors. She sang in the choir. She was part of the Curtain Call Players (a theatre group operating out of the church) at one time. In other words, her faith and her church meant a great deal to her.
Jane struggled with memory and communication for some time in recent years. Thanks to her caregiver, Sheila, Jane came to church each week in her wheelchair, where her smile continued to grace the gathering.
Jane didn’t get in the papers. There was never a scandal, an arrest, notoriety. In other words, most of the people of the community didn’t know her, even though hundreds of people of all ages were touched by her faith, her humour, her caring at some point in their lives.
Her generation is passing away. Most of them are already gone. What a legacy they leave the rest of us. Her funeral was one of dozens of such services take place across the city every day, every week. The congregation was modest, a little bigger than I had expected. No flags were lowered, no politicians were present, there was no police escort.
No words we could have said that day, no prayers, no gestures would do justice to her long, beautiful life. The service will ended too soon, and then mourners chatted as they shared a bite to eat, remembering her, smiling, sometimes laughing in appreciation of her wit and her contributions.
She let her life by guided by convictions about love, hope, justice, community. Jane McMillen made a difference, made her world better. What more needs to be said?