Last Monday night we were honoured to host a gathering for prayer with three neighbourhood congregations—Grace Church on the Hill, Congregation Beth Tzedec, and Holy Blossom Temple. This sanctuary was full, with some 600 of the 800 people here our Jewish neighbours. It seemed every one of them thanked us, often with tears: ‘it’s been lonely. Thank you for your kindness.’ What we did was not hard: my sermon was short, Elaine’s conducting and Stephen’s playing were simple compared to a normal Sunday.
Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Friends, I am glad to tell you about a new partner sharing space in our building.
City High School in Toronto is a college preparatory program for Chinese-speaking secondary school students. They are using classrooms on our third floor, down the hall from my office, and office space off our East Chapel. I’m bumping into high school kids when I head down the hall to the water cooler or to the kitchen. And I love it.
Wednesday, November 01, 2023
As many of you know, TEMC is proud to have recently amalgamated with a Welsh United Church. Wales has more than 1500 years of church history. But if you're like me, you're relatively unaware of that history. So I've planned a pilgrimage to Wales, devoted to learning about Christ's work through the church in Wales, past and present. Wales inherited a unique strand of the Christian tradition called Celtic Christianity. The Celts, called the Galatians in the Bible, were a people with a vast territorial expanse north of the Roman Empire.
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
There are three other places in town that I’ve preached at most often besides TEMC. One is Upper Canada College for its chapel service. The second is Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto. The third is Christie Gardens, where a number of our elderly members live and worship in chapel once a week. I got to preach there again recently and was struck how much I learned.
Friday, October 13, 2023
Friends I’m glad to tell you about some of our upcoming preachers. The fact that there are guest preachers upcoming is unfortunate for me—I love preaching to you. But it’s fortunate for you. These folks are extraordinary. A word about each.
Tuesday, October 10, 2023
Events on the news can seem faraway. Tragic, but someone else’s problem.
That is not so with events in Israel and Gaza this week. These are not just tragedies. They are existential. Our Jewish neighbours and friends know and love folks who have been killed or kidnapped. They await news on hostage infants, elderly, youth, and they fear the worst.
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
An opinion piece made the rounds among us pastor types recently. Its author was saying goodbye not just to a congregation, but to pastoral ministry. It’s an old and creaky narrative that congregations are stuck in their ways. We clergy fancy ourselves more forward-thinking than our timid flocks.
Wednesday, September 06, 2023
Friends, I want to invite (nay—beg!) you to come to two events in the next two weeks as we start our church year.
Institutions like ours are good at starting out the year with dramatic statements. With bold plans and spreadsheets. With five-year plans and stirring announcements of ambitious goals. We need these. In fact, we will be doing some longer-range planning this fall. But these two events start us out in a different key. They are the work before the work.
Wednesday, August 02, 2023
Friends, I’d like to ask you to mark your calendars for an event early in the fall. It’ll take some doing to get to for some of our non-retirees especially, but it’s worth it.
Monday, July 17, 2023
“How long’s it been since you’ve sat in this office?”
“I was last here when mom died. Before that it was when I got married.”
She has been at our church her whole life. Her mom died more than a decade ago. She was married some 30 years ago. I joke that she should come by more often at less momentous occasions. She graces my poor humour with a half-second’s smile.