It is a sign of the busyness of the season that I find myself putting this note together on Saturday afternoon of the week, rather than the customary Thursday (and sometime Friday).
Our preparations for the celebration of Christmas are almost complete. Last Sunday we threw the New Vision Christmas party in the Music Hall for the first time. The Jazz Vespers that preceded had the musicians improvising on some seasonal tunes and on the carol “Hark the Herald Angels.” Mary Oliver’s poems resonated with and deepened our awareness of the season’s beauty and transitoriness.
Tomorrow is the Fourth Sunday of Advent; the theme, divine love.
Tomorrow evening JR DiGS throws his 10th annual Acoustic Christmas Party in the Music Hall. In some parts of the Christian world there is a tradition of a funky party the evening before Christmas Eve. This concert may be it in Hamilton. There are probably tickets still available – check out Bruha ticketing. Proceeds from the concert are going to Indwell and YWCA efforts to end homelessness.
Monday evening we join together in early evening worship to focus in wonder once again on the gift of a vulnerable new-born in a vulnerable place with vulnerable parents. We will meet for worship in the Lower Hall at 7 pm for Christmas Eve worship.
Blessings at Christmas.
See you Sunday ~
This Sunday coming is the Third Sunday of Advent – only two more Sundays to Christmas!
This Sunday, we are holding the first of our Jazz Vespers series at 4:30 pm in the Music Hall. Graham Rockingham wrote a great story about jazz vespers, and about ours, in the Hamilton Spectator yesterday. Rockingham’s story complements the opinion piece I wrote about jazz as an aspect of New Vision’s Affirming ministry that the Spec published last week.
After the Vespers on Sunday, we have our annual New Vision Christmas Party. Santa will not be appearing! There will be a pay as you may meal, some carols to sing, and a little entertainment to send you off cheerfully into the night. It too will take place in the Music Hall, immediately after the Vespers..
Regular Sunday worship this Sunday (Dec 16) is the last opportunity to bring white gifts in for the Wesley Christmas store. We’ll gather everything that has been brought in and take it to the Christmas Store next week.
Our Blue Christmas Service of Remembrance and Hope takes place next Wednesday evening (Dec 19) at 7 pm, in the Lower Hall. As we prepare once again for the celebration of the birth of our Redeemer and Saviour, such a service helps us to remember those whom we have lost.
See you Sunday ~
We are in the entirety of December now. Longer nights, and colder ones. The challenges of compassion come clearer as we remember what it is like to have a place, and people with us in it.
In such a spirit I wrote a piece for The Hamilton Spectator published in today’s paper on jazz, Affirming ministry, our Music Hall and New Vision. I hope you might take a few minutes to read it.
This Sunday is the second Sunday of Advent. We are continuing to gather gifts together for Wesley’s Christmas Store. Bring gifts to the church and place them under our Christmas tree. We’ll take them over to the store on Dec 16.
A week Sunday (Dec 16) is our Threshold Partner Christmas Party in The Music Hall. Bring anyone you like, and invite as many as you come across. The party begins with our Jazz Vespers at Christmas with Darcy Hepner and the Adrean Farrugia Trio at 4:30 pm. It continues with a pay as you may meal. There will be a collection for music and the meal. Hope you can make it.
On Wednesday evening of that week, Dec 19, we will hold our annual Blue Christmas Service of Remembrance and Hope at 7 pm in the lower hall.
See you Sunday ~
It is getting difficult to avoid Christmas in the air. This is not a bad thing. If you are following the Christian year you are also aware that apocalypse is in the air. The revelation here is not to be found in some bad zombie flic, but in the reign of the One so totally marginalized that really the question comes to mind, “who’d have thought?”
So, it is Reign of Christ Sunday this Sunday, the last Sunday of the year. We begin Advent on Dec 2. After worship and a light lunch this Sunday we will formally begin the capacity building work we have been setting ourselves up to do with redeveloping 24 Main W as a New Vision social enterprise. Jeremy Frieburger of Cobalt Connects will join us to lead this introductory workshop.
We’re sharing our Music Hall with the Park Street Gasworks while they renovate. One of their programs is the monthly Family Jam run by An Instrument for Every Child. Family Jam was noticed this week in the Hamilton Magazine, with a great shot in the Music Hall. The next Family Jam is this Saturday. Come on out if you like.
See you Sunday ~
Mexico’s Día de los Muertos celebration – the Day of the Dead — is a mash-up of pre-Hispanic religious rites and Christian feasts. It takes place today and tomorrow—All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on the Catholic calendar— in the time of the Mexican fall maize harvest. Day of the Dead festivities unfold over these two days in an explosion of colour and life-affirming joy. Sure, the theme is death, but the point is to demonstrate love and respect for deceased family members.
I wonder, as Latin America flows north and gets met by soldiers and border walls at the Mexico/USA border, whether or not we are beginning to see the cultural influence of the Day of the Dead even as far north as Canada. Halloween is not what it used to be; who knows what it will become? An explosion of colour and life-affirming joy?
We left our sign on Main St. protesting the cancellation of the basic income pilot project up for almost two and a half months. The reason was to remind ourselves that this decision affects a lot of people, every day, and not just during the news cycle in which it was featured prominently. In the meantime the provincial government has gone on to other things worthy of a protest sign. We are not going to allow ourselves to be exhausted by such outrages. A new sign has gone up, one that I hope helps us keep balance and offer balance to those caught in the current political tempests.
See you Sunday ~
The next New Vision note you will receive will come on All Saints Day, if I manage it.
The week ahead includes the first Jazz Vespers of the 2018/19 series. Enjoy a late afternoon offering this coming Sunday of the poetry of late 20thcentury/21st century Irish poet Seamus Heaney and cool jazz from the Adrean Farrugia Trio with guest vocalist Juno award winning Sophia Perlman. We gather at 4:30 pm in The Music Hall.
Heaney had a gift for word portraits of Irish life. We’ll be hearing mostly from that element of his work rather than the more painful parts that speak from the darkness of the Irish troubles. As sharp and tough as Irish life and landscape can be, and aching in their truth-telling.
We gather at our usual time on Sunday morning for worship at 10:30 am. It’s a season where it feels like there is only a thin membrane between this life and that beyond. We’ll be reflecting on the miracle of blind Bartemaeus seeing what he had never seen before.
See you Sunday ~
We are blessing pets and such other animals as any one of us may find important in our lives this Sunday at our 10:30 am worship. This is the last Sunday of our Season of Creation celebrations.
In the afternoon this Sunday at 3 pm New Vision celebrates the ministry of the former St. Giles congregation in worship under a tent in the 85 Holton Ave. S. parking lot. We’ll have a reception afterwards at the HARRRP Centre at St. Clair Blvd and Main St. E., a couple of blocks over. The former St. Giles is not available to us on any account because the water has been shut off and much of it is a construction site. We are blessed however that the carillon continues to be operable. It will be played as part of our celebration on Sunday.
This evening New Vision is joining a fun rally to promote positive LGBTQ+2S identities at the forecourt of City Hall from 6-8 pm. At the same time across the street a group of local churches and Redeemer University College are putting on an event at First Ontario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place) in which negative and inadequate conceptions of gender identity and expression and minority sexual orientation will be offered to Christians as a scripturally sound understanding. Please come and enjoy the rally. New Vision is bringing the popcorn and a popcorn maker!
See you Sunday ~
On the evening of September 28th, First Ontario Concert Hall, a city-owned commercial performance venue across from City Hall, will host an event titled “Confident, or Confused? The Truth About Identity”, featuring Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias and Sam Allberry, a UK-based minister and “same-sex attracted” Christian. This event is brought to Hamilton by Redeemer University College, New City Church, West Highland Fellowship Baptist Church, Hughson Street Baptist Church, and Philpott Memorial Church.
The types of messages these speakers deliver are harmful to 2SLGBTQ+ people, and to 2SLGBTQ+ youth in particular. They are messages of conversion/reparative therapy. The speakers might tell you that they don’t support conversion therapy, but the harmful effect of their arguments are the same. The 2200 seat hall is sold out.
New Vision is joining a protest celebration of LGBTQ+2S identities at City Hall from 6-8 pm Friday evening. Can you come help us hand out popcorn from the popcorn maker we will be setting up and running? Just look for Dixon or me or someone else in a rainbow “cat-in-the-hat” hat. Again 6 – 8 pm, Friday, City Hall. I hope you can join me.
For reporting on the presentation at First Ontario Concert Hall (formerly called Hamilton Place), see The Spec’s article today, “We are Not Confused…”
On Sunday Sept 30 at 3 pm we will be holding a celebration of the ministry of the former St. Giles in the parking lot at 85 Holton Ave under a tent. This is a New Vision service to recognize one of the two pioneering congregations out of which New Vision was formed. On some other day yet to be determined we will also celebrate the ministry of the former Centenary at 24 Main W.
We cannot go into the St. Giles building because it is a construction site – hence the tent. St. Giles started in a tent, so our venue fits our occasion. Significantly given the circumstances, the Greek for “The Word became flesh and dwelt among you,” is “The Word became flesh and tented among you.”
I look forward to this time together with you and with others.
This Sunday is Mountain Sunday in our Season of Creation celebrations. We will worship with the mountains, their passes, and their valleys. After worship and a potluck lunch, the congregation will receive a report from the Social Enterprise Development Team with 5 recommendations that the Church Council wants the congregation to approve. The Social Enterprise Development Team was tasked with developing a plan for New Vision to be a partner in a live music venue in its former sanctuary at 24 Main W.
We are blessing the animals at worship the following Sunday, Sept 30 at our 10:30 am worship Bring a pet, or a photo, or a sound clip of an animal you want New Vision to bless, as we conclude the Season of Creation.
See you Sunday ~
This Sunday is Sky Sunday in our Season of Creation celebrations. We conclude our Season of Creation on Sunday Sept 30 with the blessing the animals at our morning worship. Sunday Sept 30 bring a pet, or a photo or sound clip of an animal that you would like blessed by New Vision!
Our celebration of the ministry of St. Giles also takes place on Sunday, September 30 at 3 pm. In light of our redevelopment plans for the Holton Ave. site we are taking time to remember and celebrate the significant acts of ministry by the former congregation that once called 85 Holton Ave home.
The celebration will take place in a tent we’ll raise in the parking lot for the occasion. Some of you will remember that St. Giles began worship in a tent. We’re holding the celebration in a tent because the former St. Giles building is now a construction site.
Are you interested in a role during the celebration? If you are, there will be a sign-up sheet at our regular worship services the next two Sundays. You could read scripture, lead a prayer, etc. There will also be a sign up to bring sweets for the reception after the celebration. The reception will be held at HARRRP at the former St. Peter’s church down the street on Main E.
Our plan includes the ringing of the carillon bells and recollections of important St. Giles’ ministries like initiating the STARS program.
In other news, the congregation meets after worship on Sunday September 23 to receive a report and recommendations from the Social Enterprise Development Team regarding redevelopment of our MacNab site. We’ll have a lunch first, so please consider bringing something for the lunch to share.
See you Sunday ~