Moderator writes to PM about Israel & Gaza

Aug. 5 2014, Toronto: In a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Moderator of The United Church of Canada, the Right Rev. Gary Paterson, has called on the Prime Minister “to do all that you can to convince the governments of both Israel and Gaza to stop the violence.”

Writes Paterson, “Like many Canadians, I expect our government to uphold international law and Canadian values of equality. Israel has every right to demand security, to live without fear of teenagers being kidnapped and killed and of rockets falling on its cities. But how can this invasion of Gaza, so overwhelming, destructive, and so disproportionate, bring real peace and security?”

He also notes that, “your government has built and nurtured a close working relationship with Israel. I ask that your government use this relationship to exert all influence to demand a stop to this invasion and siege.”

The letter ends with the plea, “Concrete steps must be taken toward a just and peaceful end of the conflicts that have ripped this land apart for so many years, so that ordinary people on all sides of every border will know the great gift of peace.”

Full text of letter (PDF)
Moderator’s Blog

For further information:

Mary-Frances Denis
Program Coordinator, Media and Public Relations
The United Church of Canada
Tel: 416-231-7680 ext. 2016
Toll-free: 1-800-268-3781 ext. 2016

Greetings from Toyo Eiwa

Hello Rev. Ian and our friends at Centenary United Church,
Hope all is well with you.
After Chancellor Masanobu Fukamachi and Secretary General Tetsuya Nishida returned from Canada, Toyo Eiwa Kindergarten heard about their awesome Canadian travel stories. (It was a tight schedule and they seemed to be tired though…).
We are glad that our small contribution reached to our friends at Centenary United Church.
Thank you so much for mentioning about the Celebration of the 100th anniversary of Toyo Eiwa Kindergarten in your weekly bulletin and praying for us.
The renovation and extension work of the Kindergarten building begins this summer.
In next January, we are going to hold the 100th anniversary commemorative worship.
We continue to pray for Centenary United Church, and we look forward to seeing you again at Centenary United Church.
Please give our best regards to Mrs. Rule and the people of the Centenary United Church.
Yours truly,
Maki Yamamoto (Toyo Eiwa Kindergarten)
Yuki Yamamoto

Amalgamation Media Release


HAMILTON, ON – July 21, 2014 – Hamilton United Church Presbytery passed a motion to approve the amalgamation of Centenary United Church and St. Giles United Church.

Led by Reverend Dr. Ian Sloan, the new congregation will continue to strengthen their presence in the urban core of Hamilton with a revitalized purpose. “This congregation will build on United Church commitment to urban core ministry and be a nexus for social justice in Hamilton’s downtown,” said Sloan.

The amalgamation was finalized on June 22, 2014 after over two years of congregational efforts. For the past year, the two congregations have participated in joint worship services at both the Centenary and St. Giles United Church sites. As one new congregation, St. Giles the Centenary United Church (a working name) will develop a new identity as an inclusive and affirming ministry that also upholds the traditions and values of their previous congregations.

About St. Giles the Centenary United Church

St. Giles the Centenary United Church will be:

  • A multi-generational congregation, feeding the spiritual needs of the people
  • A church responsible in stewardship, committed to spending energy and dollars on ministry instead of on buildings
  • A congregation with a storied history, honoring the present and embracing the future
  • A socially just congregation, committed to offering social justice and outreach ministry seven days a week

For more information, visit

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Summer Office Hours

With Bev away on vacation between July 6 and July 18, the office at the Centenary site will be closed during that time.

The office will be closed from Tuesday July 8 through Thursday July 17, inclusive. Emails sent to the church addresses will not be monitored.

Custodian Luke has his regular hours during this time so if you need access to the building, he can be reached by cellphone– the number will be posted on the “alley” door.

In an emergency you can call Lloyd at the St. Giles site office: 905-549-3068.


A Great Day for an Anniversary

June 22nd. It’s a great day for an anniversary — looking ahead. June 22nd this year was the birth day of a new congregation of the United Church in Hamilton. Its birth — without a name — brings to mind my son Arthur’s birth and his parents naming him. The short story (always best to keep these stories short!) is that Arthur was born on a Saturday and it seemed reasonable (it always seems reasonable at the time) that I would lead worship in my congregations the next day. But we parents were so tired, that by Sunday we hadn’t settled on his name. I led worship in the three congregations of the pastoral charge I served that day. At each one I told them what all of them (of course) already knew — that Cater had given birth to a healthy baby boy. But then…what else would the new father do but share his son’s name? — except I didn’t, because I couldn’t. I know that surprised many of them, but, there it was. A new congregation without a name is another surprise of the same sort I think. Names are important, and what has begun amongst us is too important for us not to name it at the time when it’s the time to name it. In the meantime, we’re beginning to realize that in some very rich way we are living a dream. We are at the beginning of something which we have worked hard to begin, and which has begun because we depended upon those around us and on God for it to begin. On June 22nd then we had a birthday cake at our lunch after the service and before our meeting in which we elected our first Council, Board of Trustees, and Committees. The cake was inscribed  with “Happy Birthday” and, instead of a name, the phrase, “We’re United!”

Dan and Trisha cut cake
Dan and Trisha cut cake

George MacCuish and Trisha Howard, chairs of the St. Giles Council and the Centenary Board respectively until the two congregations ended and became the new congregation without a name, cut the cake. It is kind of fun to observe that the “dividing up” that happened when they cut the cake is kind of a sign of the differences between us that make us so richly who we are and who God intends us to be. “We’re United!” A birthday. A day in the year that will soon enough be an anniversary day. Congratulations, and thanks to each and everyone, whatever your role in this. Much to come.

Moderator Writes an Open Letter to the LGBTQ Community

Monday, May 12, 2014

Toronto: In an open letter issued today by The United Church of Canada, the church’s Moderator delivers a message he hopes will be heard by the LGBTQ community.

“I am writing today as the spiritual leader of Canada’s largest Protestant denomination, The United Church of Canada. I am also writing as an openly gay man, married to another United Church minister. This introduction may come as a surprise, seeing that so often it is religious leaders who condemn homosexuality, quoting scripture to justify their prejudice,” writes the Right Rev. Gary Paterson.

The letter, which was issued in advance of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia on May 17, emphasizes “that not all Christians think the same way; that the hatred, condemnation, and judgment inflicted upon LGBTQ people by some within the Christian church is wrong and does not reflect the sum total of all Christian understanding of gender identity and sexual orientation.”

The letter goes on to say, “I believe that we are all made in the image of God, wholly good and wholly loved by the Creator. This is why I feel such sadness when I see religious leaders and organizations failing to recognize that reality in every member of the LGBTQ community.”

Paterson explains that although he hasn’t wanted his three-year term of office to be primarily defined by the fact that he is the first openly gay person to be elected Moderator, he has grown increasingly disturbed by the hatred, discrimination, and judgment levelled against the LGBTQ community around the world, particularly by some in the Christian church. That is why he chose to write this open letter to mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.

For further information:

Mary-Frances Denis
Program Coordinator, Media and Public Relations
The United Church of Canada
Tel: 416-231-7680 ext. 2016
Toll-free: 1-800-268-3781 ext. 2016

Tree Planting in honour of Martha Cartmell

Click to view/download
event flyer

Please join us For a special tree planting ceremony in honour of
Martha J. Cartmell

Missionary from Centenary Church and founder of the first Canadian Methodist Church school for girls in Japan, Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 ~ 2:00 p.m.
Centennial Park, 77 Cootes Drive, Dundas

Refreshments to follow

Parking at Hamilton Air Force Association parking lot
128 King Street East, Dundas
Please RSVP to Florence Pirrera 905-546-2424 ext. 5523

Max Blumenthal at Centenary

image of Goliath book coverMax Blumenthal will be at Centenary on the Hamilton leg of his lecture/book promotion tour. The date is Wednesday May 21, 2014. Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, whose most recent book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel has been critically acclaimed by several reputable international journalists and scholars on the Middle East.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014.
Doors 7:00 PM, talk begins at 7:30 PM
$10 advance
$12 at door
Tickets online:

24 Main Street West, Hamilton