New Vision Notes Thursday Sept 20 2018

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 ~

Rev. Ian

New Vision Notes Thursday Sept 13 2018

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 ~

Rev Ian

New Vision Notes Friday Aug 3 2018

It looks like some kind of mid-summer spell  came over me since I have not written one of these notes for two or three weeks.

It is also true that New Vision is enjoying the summer. Sometimes, there isn’t much news.

This past week’s decision by the provincial government, however, to cancel the Basic Income Pilot Project and halve the increase to ODSP and OW reminds us that we must be vigilant about democracy. The party that won the election and formed the government explicitly said it would keep the Basic Income Pilot Project running to completion.

I invite you to join together and come up with a way to sustain yourselves in resistance to unscrupulous government, and to support those hurt by such government.

I think of banding together in this way to be as old as Christianity.

See you Sunday ~

I am taking a break from writing New Vision Notes now until September.

Rev Ian

New Vision Notes Thursday July 12 2018

This has been an emotional week for some of us about the former St. Giles building, but in the big picture, there are many many things that affect each one of us in so many ways. So it’s important to bring some perspective to bear on the decision of Hamilton’s City Council’s Planning Committee not to recommend heritage designation for our 85 Holton Ave. S. site to the full City Council at Friday’s Council meeting.

New Vision asked them not to designate the building because it just doesn’t have what it takes to continue on, and New Vision and the United Church don’t have what it takes in us either. The decisive moment at the Planning Committee meeting on Tuesday shed more light on the passing dominance of main-line Protestant spirituality in Canadian culture. We can’t afford these buildings as they are, and no one else can either. They don’t work. We are looking to replace it with mid-range purpose built rental housing to support our ministry and bring much needed rental housing to central Hamilton.

There has been local neighbourhood concern for the World War 1 memorial cairn at the corner of Main E and Holton S. We will attend to that cairn respectfully, just as we respectfully attended to the war medals from the Great War which came into St. Giles’ possession. Those have been passed on to the RHLI Regiment.

New Vision has also committed to memorializing in a fitting way the love and freedom expressed by all those who made the St. Giles’ building hum in its hey-day. It served well, and it won’t be remembered in its decline and diminishment, but in the acts of love and freedom of those who carry on its commitments.

The Affirming Spirituality Group is holding a potluck picnic at Gage Park this Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm. Everyone is invited! Look for the balloons, close to the bandshell.

See you Sunday ~

Rev. Ian

New Vision Notes Friday June 22 2018

This was an “octave” here at New Vision this week. Last Sunday we celebrated Pride in both worship and in the Park – Gage Park, that is. This Sunday is our fourth anniversary celebration in worship. Leo Johnson is our guest speaker.

“Octave” is known by most as a term in music – but it is also a temporal concept in the church. An “octave” is 8 days. So, from Sunday June 17 to Sunday June 24 is an octave. Usually there are important worship events at each end of an “octave.” The best example of an Octave is the Octave between Palm/Passion Sunday and Easter Sunday.

So we might make the week that includes Pride Sunday and New Vision Anniversary Sunday the “New Vision octave” each year.

Just a thought.

We were busy at Pride in the Park. Thanks to everyone who personed our booth with St. Andrew’s United Church.  We also participated to the degree that Pride in the Park organizers wanted us to in standing up to the hateful protesters of the day’s festivities. Imagine me in my Pride “cat in the hat” hat with my Bible in hand suggesting to the protesters that they ought to read the Bible. The whole Bible. In the Spirit.

Sunday Leo Johnson of Empowerment Squared joins us as our guest speaker. Leo founded Empowerment Squared in 2008 to effect sustainable change through the development of educational pathways and social skills for youth.  Leo came to Canada as a Liberian refugee from Ghana on his own as a teenager. He attended McMaster and earned his B.A. there. He is a powerful speaker, and a most appropriate choice for New Vision to mark our fourth anniversary, since just two days ago, June 20, was World Refugee Day.

See you Sunday ~

Rev. Ian

New Vision Notes Thursday June 14 2018

Pride week is coming up and New Vision, as usual, is fully invested. We’ll be at the Pride in the Park festival in Gage Park on the afternoon of Sunday June 17 – joined there by St. Andrew’s United Church. St. Andrew’s wanted to be present to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the United Church’s decision that all members of the United Church of Canada, regardless of sexual orientation, were eligible for ordination and commissioning by the United Church.  We’re glad for the company!

A new feature this year at our booth will be some kind of “The Minister is In” concept, in which I’ll be specifically available for an identified hour to engage in conversation about anything to do with Christianity, New Vision, and the LGBTQ2S community. I’m going to work a Bible into the set-up. Hope to see you there.

Many of you will know of the disruptive agitators who have been turning up at Pride festivities in rural and small municipalities in Southern Ontario these past few weeks. If you read this CBC Hamilton article, you’ll learn how Pride Hamilton plans to attend to any of these agitators if they show up at Gage Park. I believe you can be confident of your safety and well-being at the festival and the morning rally, if you choose to go there rather than come to New Vision’s Pride Service.

Sunday morning is our annual Pride Service at our regular hour in our regular place. We offered to hold our service at Gage Park but were strongly encouraged by the organizers to carry on in our usual spot, so that the diversity of Pride could be witnessed to. Our theme on Sunday will be Two Spirit people and traditional indigenous understandings of Two Spirit.

See you Sunday ~ Happy Pride!

Rev Ian

New Vision Notes Thursday May 31 2018

A couple of events in the next two days that connect New Vision with the wider community…

Tomorrow evening is the launch of the Two Spirit(ed) I Am Affected Campaign by the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic. The launch takes place in Council Chambers at City Hall from 6:30 pm to 9 pm.

The campaign is being coordinated by the Aboriginal justice coordinator of the Legal Clinic. Our connection is that we proudly hosted their fundraising event “Reconciliation through Music” along with Hamilton Conference on May 24 and that we raised $400 as a faith community to help launch the campaign.

On Saturday evening, “sexy and sultry” Hamilton’s own Laura Cole launches her new album “Piece of Paradise” in the Music Hall. Laura and her partner Chris Chiarcos describe the sound as “Hawaiian soul.” Here’s a description of her first album: “Laura’s vocals take complete control over you, almost like a magic spell.”

It sounds like I am promoting the event. I am. Laura is an unabashed fan of the Music Hall, and she is donating the proceeds of her launch to our efforts to develop it. Doors open at 7:30 pm. There are a variety of ticket options and you can purchase tickets on-line here.

See you Sunday ~

Rev Ian

New Vision Notes Thursday May 24 2018

This weekend is Hamilton Conference’s Annual Meeting. I’ll be attending, as will our presbytery representative Linda Waugh.  The worship committee is taking the lead on providing worship leadership.

There are some great things to consider participating in over the next few days at New Vision.

This evening is the Reconciliation through Music event. It is fundraising for the Two Spirit I Am Affected campaign. At $20/ticket, enjoy a chili dinner and a great music show. Dinner is at 6 pm and the show begins at 7 pm.

On Saturday evening the Hamilton Children’s Choir is joined by the Toronto Children’s Chorus in the Music Hall. These are two great choirs. It will be a lovely concert. Tickets may be purchased here.

I want to highlight a critical gathering that is taking place on Saturday morning beginning at 11 am and going over the lunch hour. The LGBTQ+ and Allies Spirituality Group is holding a potluck planning session for the year ahead.  The meeting is in the NGen Youth Centre Lounge. Entrance is through the NGen doors on the west side of the MacNab Street addition. From 11 am to about 2:30 pm.

Blessings ~

Rev. Ian

New Vision Notes Friday May 18 2018

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!

Rev. Ian

New Vision Notes Thursday May 3 2018

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 ~

Rev. Ian