Yesterday the urban indigenous community held an annual social event in our Music Hall. Celebration of Growth was sponsored by the Professional Aborginal Advocacy and Networking Group of Hamilton. I was moved to be in this space with so many first nations people celebrating our personal growth over the last year. There was catered and free food for all who came out, and a drum circle with dancing and singing.
Next Thursday, May 24, you are invited to come out to Reconciliation through Music and help fundraise for the launch of the Two Spirit(ed) I Am Affected Campaign by the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic. There will be chili and lots of music. Reconciliation Through Music takes place from 6 pm – 9 pm. The I Am Affected Campaign aims to promote understanding among and between first nation and settler peoples that we all suffer intergenerational trauma caused by the implementation of the policy of the Residential Schools. Tickets are $20. They are available at the door or online here. Even if you are not able to attend, purchasing a ticket is a way to contribute to the fundraising campaign.
May 17 each year is The International Day Against Homo-, Bi-, and Transphobia. New Vision’s Affirming Committee offered an opinion piece for consideration to the Hamilton Spectator on the importance of the day and how it relates to New Vision. The Spec published it on Wednesday. Here is Dixon Challoner’s sane and clear explanation of how being an affirming church is a Biblical and Christian witness to God’s love for all.
See you Sunday for Pentecost!
We joined together in worship this past Sunday in a music that was outside of the norm of our worship heritage. Ken Kirkwood got us feeling the rhythm and connecting with our own indigeneity as he brought a message of reconciliation through music with our first nations brothers and sisters. The time reminded me of the earliest use of the psalms in English in regular worship in the 16th Century. The first tunes genuinely were dance tunes. It was only later, as the tradition ossified, that hymnody in the English tradition became four square and stolid.
Ken gave us a great introduction to what to expect at the Reconciliation through Music fundraiser happening in The Music Hall on Thursday May 26 from 6-8 pm. You are invited.
The fundraiser is for the two-spirit element of a campaign led by the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic to help restoration and healing among first nations and settler communities. We have all been affected by the intergeneration trauma of Canada’s residential schools. Hamilton Conference of the United Church of Canada is contributing to the campaign to help make the May 24 event possible in The Music Hall.
This is a reminder that we are taking a special collection for the two spirit campaign ourselves during worship for the next few Sundays.
This Sunday, come enjoy Jazz Vespers for May at 4:30 pm in The Music Hall. Two very talented young women – Jill McKenna on acoustic bass, and singer Avery Raquel join Juno-nominated piano player Adrean Farrugia for a contemplative exploration of spring. I’ll be there with some prayers and practices drawn from the Iona Abbey community in Scotland.
In two Sundays (Sunday May 13) New Vision’s trustees will be reporting to a meeting of the congregation on the redevelopment of the Holton Ave. site (former St. Giles).
See you this Sunday ~
When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Recommendations concerning the Canadian residential schools for first nations came out in 2015, lead commissioner Senator Murray Sinclair said to The Ottawa Citizen, “This is not an aboriginal problem. This is a Canadian problem. Because at the same time that aboriginal people were being demeaned in the schools and their culture and language were being taken away from them and they were being told that they were inferior, they were pagans, that they were heathens and savages and that they were unworthy of being respected — that very same message was being given to the non-aboriginal children in the public schools as well.
This Sunday, April 29, New Vision folks will have an opportunity in worship to work at writing a different image of themselves and first nations persons on their hearts. Ken Kirkwood, a friend of New Vision, joins us. He has committed himself to finding pathways for Canadians to come into right relationship with first nations peoples. He will be joining us on Sunday to engage us in “Reconciliation through Music” a pathway on which we might journey with first nations persons together. Later in May, he will be part of a fundraising event of the same name sponsored by the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic in The Music Hall upstairs at New Vision. Funds raised from the May 24 event will support the Two Spirit component of the Legal Clinic’s I AM AFFECTED campaign for first nations people who suffer from the intergenerational trauma of the residential schools.
Hamilton Conference of the United Church is joining New Vision in partnership to support this May 24th event in The Music Hall.
We’ll learn more about the event on Sunday.
On Monday, April 30, at 7 pm in our church hall, New Vision has an incredible opportunity to learn from Palestinian Christian Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek. He has been inspiring readers for three decades with his ideas about justice and reconciliation in the Holy Land. Rev. Ateek is on a book tour of Canada with his latest book, A Palestinian Theology of Liberation: The Bible, Justice, and the Palestine–Israel Conflict. You can learn more about the event and purchase tickets ($10 each) here.
See you Sunday ~
A short note today – Jazz Vespers at 4:30 this Sunday with a classic jazz piano trio of piano, acoustic bass and drums along with the terrific poetry of Mary Oliver, from her selected poems called Devotions. This one goes without a meal afterward. In the Music Hall.
Sunday morning is 10:30 am as usual. As if. There was. Anything. As Usual. At New Vision.
See you Sunday! Christ is risen ~
We now enter a season of Easter – more than one day; 50 days.
What shall we do for 50 days? That’s a lot of days. It’s interesting to think of time passing not just by the week, or month, or natural season, but by the passing of what in Christian thought is historical time — the 50 days of Easter, the 40 days of Lent, the 12 days of Christmas. One gets a sense of the importance of all those seasons in our lives by their length.
So what shall you do for 50 days? I leave it with you.
See you Sunday ~
Today is World Water Day. You can find out more about World Water Day here. I’m reminded of our water bottles with the New Vision tag, “living water for all.”
Indeed. We can use methods already in nature to reduce floods, droughts and water pollution.
This Sunday we have the New Vision band joining us for Palm and Passion Sunday worship at 10:30 am. Some of us will be heading over to the Wesley Centre in the afternoon to prepare and serve the dinner we provide once a year there.
Others of us will be participating in Jazz Family Vespers at 4:30 pm in the Music Hall. This month it’s a kid’s themed Vespers, with selections from the children’s poetry of contemporary Canadian poet Dennis Lee, and a jazz band of vocalist, piano player, jazz violinist and acoustic bass.
I haven’t got a dollar
I haven’t got a dime
I haven’t got a thing to do
But write these goofy rhymes.
— from “Goofus” in Alligator Pie
It’s in that goofy spirit that I’ve posted this quote from author of Charlotte’s Web EB White to our sign on Main W.
Next week is Holy Week. We’ll be holding our Maundy Thursday worship at 7 pm in the upper Narthex. Maundy Thursday worship remembers Jesus’ last meal where he washed his disciples feet. Then we do a Service of the Shadows — witness as a community to the life-giving passion and death of Jesus.
On Good Friday those who want are invited to gather at 10:30 am for conversation and prayer with me in the Church Hall.
See you Sunday ~
This week is the fourth week of Lent. Our fifth week will be marked by some fifteen or so of us participating in a “week of guided prayer.” Judith Robinson and Deb Peace have organized this week, which will commence with a gathering after worship on Sunday, and the distribution of materials, and conclude the following Sunday, Palm Sunday, in a short time of closure and blessing.
I am sorry to bear the news to you that the Social Justice Good Friday Stations of the Cross Walk has been cancelled this year. This would have been the 17th annual walk. The principal problems were that it needed a succession in leadership of the organizing committee, and that didn’t happen, and that not enough groups came forward to do stations this year.
New Vision will have a gathering for conversation and prayer on Good Friday at 10:30 am. I’ll be part of that circle.
If you can make it, consider coming to the Spring Equinox Gathering for Life next Wednesday, March 21, 6-8 pm in the Music Hall on Wednesday. For more information, and delightful promotional video, click or tap on graphic in this note to go to the page on our website.
See you Sunday, for Lent 5 ~
Difficult week this week with anarchists vandalizing businesses and cars on Locke St. I believe we are all concerned for people who engage in destructiveness like that, thinking that the way to peace and justice is through violence. That’s just not the case, and never will be.
This past week Rev. Mary Hamilton passed away. Mary was long an active participant in the life of Centenary after her retirement, and then New Vision. She regularly conducted communion for the Thursday Outreach Program. She was a trained spiritual director. Late last year she turned 90.
Hers was a gracious and generous spirit.
Her funeral service is Saturday at 1 pm at New Vision in the sanctuary.
If I don’t see you there, then see you Sunday ~
I was at a gathering yesterday where someone in his thirties said to me, “Oh, you are the church with those amazing quotes on your sign.” When I shared this with our custodian Luke he laughed and said he’d been out by the sign one day recently and a woman was taking a photo of it with her smart phone. She wondered if she was in the way or if it was okay to take a photo. Luke assured her she was not in the way and a photo was fine.
I put a new quote up on the sign today. I think is appropriate to Lent for New Vision.
Why is “Growth is an Abstraction” an appropriate sign for Lent at New Vision? Well, part of the reason is the person whom the quote is attributed to – Brian McLaren. Brian McLaren is an evangelical in the United States who is interested in and sees a convergence happening between evangelical and main-line Christians over some pretty fundamentally important things – like the environment, like what Jesus really meant people to understand about God, like the diversity of God’s creation.
From the main-line point of view, a lot of evangelical thinking is based on the notion of “growth.” You’ve always got to be growing. So when you hear an evangelical point out that growth is an “abstraction” you are hearing a pretty distinct and unusual evangelical voice.
So that’s one thing. But the other thing, the more critical thing, is that this pithy phrase “growth is an abstraction” tells it like it is for Christians. The world we live in is one which includes growth and decay, birth, and death, justice, and crucifixions. We don’t need growth. We believe in Christ, crucified. It’s enough to keep ourselves repeating that.
You might say that’s what it is all about.
See you Sunday ~ for second Sunday of Lent worship, potluck lunch, and New Vision’s fourth annual meeting ever.
Jazz Vespers and Black History — Poetry of Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes selected by Rev. Ian Sloan, with jazz band Cara Matthew, vocals, Adrean Farrugia, piano, Bob Brough, sax, and Clark Johnston, bass. In our Music Hall. This Sun Feb 18 4:30 pm. Simple and delicious supper. Pay what you may for music and meal.
In the morning at worship this Sunday more about what God is up to in the neighbourhood, and how we can join in. Plus the usual great stuff.
See you Sunday ~