I have run in the intense heat of Ontario summers and the deep cold of Arctic winters, but if I am ever asked about the perfect day for running, what will come to mind is this past weekend in Toronto. Cool but not cold, with the sky deep blue and yellow and orange leaves on the ground and still clinging to tree branches.
On these glorious late fall days, the words from Isaiah 65 in this week’s lectionary passage feel so right.
…. Be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.
We - Grandma and two of the grandsons - were rushing towards Safeco Field to see the Toronto Blue Jays play the Seattle Mariners. The delay at the border had been long, traffic had been heavy, the shuttle was overbooked and the hotel was a distance from the ballpark.
We were scurrying. All hope of seeing batting practice had been abandoned; the goal now was simply not to miss the first pitch.
A United Church in Winnipeg has found a unique way to reach out to and engage the surrounding community: through art. For 11 weeks, from late February to mid-May, Crescent Fort Rouge United Church (CFRUC) held art-related activities at the church, complemented by a three-day art show in April.
The important work of Canadian missionaries in China in the years from 1892 to 1950 comes alive through hundreds of historical photos in the Canadians in China: Old Photos from Sichuan exhibit at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, from Oct. 14 to 18.
If you want to see how The United Church of Canada is building bridges to specific groups in Canada, look no further than College Street United in Toronto. For the past 18 months, this downtown church has been home to Pontes de Graça, a lively ministry aimed at Portuguese speaking people in the city.
For a United Church chaplain on his first naval posting, it was a “real baptism by fire.”
So says Padre (Major) Mike Gibbons, 37, recounting the evening of February 27, 2014, aboard HMCS Protecteur. The supply ship was 600 kilometres out of Pearl Harbor when a large fire suddenly engulfed its engine room, crippling its power supply, as four-metre waves tossed the darkened, disabled ship around.
I spent the first part of this week as an ecumenical guest at the annual gathering of the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops. There are some things about their meetings that are very different from ours in the United Church, (no lineups at the women’s washroom is one of them), but as with any Christian group, the things we hold in common are greater than the differences.