Summer Day Camp 2016

Dear downtown Hamilton family:

New Vision United Church is hosting Surf Shack Summer Day Camp for children ages 5-11 the week of July 25-29, 2016. The camp runs from 8:30 am to noon Monday to Friday. We’ll be holding it in the vast meeting room on our fully accessible second floor at 24 Main St. W. There is no cost for the camp. The freewill donation to the camp’s mission logo2project is pay-as-you-may.

At New Vision United Church’s Surf Shack, your camper will discover an interactive and energizing experience that will give them an opportunity to ride the waves with God. During summer day camp at Surf Shack: Catch the Wave of God’s Amazing Love, campers become surfers and explore how to share God’s love and experience God’s awesome presence in their lives and the world around them.

After a high-energy Opening Assembly at the Surf Shack, surfers make their way to the Story Deck to catch Bible waves. Interactive lessons where water is a basic part of the Bible story are highlighted by Wave Words to help surfers recognize where God is inviting them to participate in God’s ongoing creation.

The students will expand on what they’ve discovered by participating in a variety of activities: making their own art projects at the Craft Hut, singing new music at Tidal Tunes, participating in recreational activities at the Recreation Station, exploring science activities at Discovery Dunes, and enjoying tasty Shack Snacks. Along the way, the Surfers will hear about our Victory Garden mission project and have an opportunity to give time or a donation and enjoy being active!

Surf’s up! To register, download, print, and fill out this registration form:

Surf Shack Registration Form

Good Friday Stations of the Cross Walk

A social justice faith walk in downtown Hamilton

Good Friday Stations of the Cross Walk



“Break the Silence– Name the Gap”
Click here to view or download the event poster as a pdf
meet at 2:00 pm at New Vision United Church (former Centenary Church) 24 Main St. West, at MacNab

Winding through the downtown core, we will stop at various points for reflect on the gap between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the vulnerable. The walk ends with soup and rolls at Christ Church Cathedral, 252 James Street North

Sponsored by the Ecumenical Stations of the Cross Committee of Hamilton


Wesley’s Christmas Store at Holton Site

christmas-store-tree-230x300 Wesley Urban Ministries 2015 Christmas Store is located at New Vision’s Holton Street site. Dates/times are as follows:

Tues. Nov. 24 to Fri. Nov. 27 (daily, 10 am to 4 pm)
Tues. Dec. 1 to Fri. Dec. 4 (daily 10 am to 4 pm)

closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday

Here’s the link to the event information on Wesley’s site. There are links to the event poster, registration information (for shoppers) and information on how to donate gifts.

How should United Church members respond to accusations of anti-semitism?

The following is the text of an article and video from the National Educational Committee on Israel-Palestine. It quotes Jeff Halper who spoke at an event at New Vision United Church as part of his cross-country tour.

Canada Talks Israel Palestine       Feb. 15, 2015

How should United Church members respond to accusations of anti-Semitism?
Halper: “They know you are not anti-Semitic. Don’t allow them to use that argument to keep a serious discussion of Israel’s human rights record off the table. You should demand that they engage on this issue.”

United Church members should not allow themselves to be intimidated by unfair charges of anti-Semitism, argues Jeff Halper, in a short video interview while he was here in Ottawa a few weeks ago. Halper, who is Jewish, lives in Jerusalem. He was on a cross Canada tour talking about the Israel/Palestine issue.

Halper’s comments were in response to concerns raised by several leading members of the United Church of Canada (UCC) frustrated by the fact that explicit or implicit accusations of anti-Semitism are frequently invoked every time Israel enters the discussion. This has become a serious challenge since the UCC adopted a resolution in 2012 recommending that its members stop buying goods produced in Palestinian territories illegally occupied by Israel since 1967.

“The echoes of the past history of Church-sanctioned anti-Semitism continue to grow stronger,” said Avi Benlolo, president of the Toronto based Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre after the resolution. His statement went on to accuse the 500,000 strong church of giving “tacit support for the hatred and terror” against the Jewish state.

The charge of “anti-Semitism” is a very sensitive one for the UCC (and for other Canadian churches) because it is based in historical reality. For over a thousand years, Jews were the objects of repression and discrimination in Christian countries all around the world – from Portugal to Russia, culminating in the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust. However, as church members explained to Halper, the “anti-Semitism card” is frequently used by members of the organized Jewish Community in Canada to protect Israel from any criticism about human rights violations.

“We work alongside our Jewish counterparts in Canada on a variety of human rights issues from homelessness to aboriginals. But whenever any criticism of Israel is raised, the Jewish organizations are quick to invoke anti-Semitism as a way to deflect discussion.” In Halper’s view, this should be challenged. “They know you are not anti-Semitic in any way”, he argues, but this is a convenient tool to keep honest discussion of Israel and its policies off the table. “You need to be true to your own Christian values, and not allow yourselves to be intimidated.”

Robbie Burns Supper 2015

Robert Burns, from engraving
Robert Burns, from engraving

All are invited to a traditional Robbie Burns Supper on:

Friday January 23, 2015 at New Vision United Church, 24 Main Street West (at MacNab) Hamilton

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for browsing and bidding at the silent auction. The Address to the Haggis starts at 6:45, with dinner following. Afterwards enjoy musical entertainment with members and friends of our talent-laden New Vision Choir.

Tickets are $20 each, and must be purchased in advance. Call the office at 905-522-6843 or email onemainstreetchurchh@bellnet.cato reserve. No tickets will be available at the door.

Dinner includes wine, roast beef, traditional haggis, neeps (sweet turnips), potatoes, vegetables, and dessert. There will be scotch tasting at the cash bar.

view or download robbie_burns supper poster (open pdf in new tab)

RHLI Band Concert Dec. 6

RHLIbandbannerAll are invited to the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Band Concert on Saturday December 6 at St. Giles Church, Main at Holton. The doors open at 6:30 pm (for the craft table and bake sale) and the concert begins at 7:00. There will be time during the intermission to shop. Proceeds from the concert go to St. Matthews House.

Gateway to Christmas Concert

Sunday December 7th at 3 pm, at Centenary, enjoy Gateway to Christmas, with the combined choirs of New Vision United and Tempus Choral Society, led by Music Director Brian Turnbull. The program will include carols, hymns, readings and, of course, wonderful choral music, solos, and ensembles. All are welcome to attend. A free will offering will be taken.

Joey Coleman weighs in on future of Centenary building

Appeared Thursday August 27 on Joey Coleman’s web site:
As Centenary Church Looks Towards Demolition, We Need To Talk About the Future of Church Buildings

Another one of Hamilton’s downtown churches is in financial distress, and the 19th century landmark structure could be heading towards sale or even demolition.

Centenary United Church – on the corner of Main and MacNab – wants to be removed from the City’s registry of buildings of heritage interest.

There’s only one reason to ask for removal from the registry – to make it easier to demolition a building.

There isn’t much being listed does to a building, and it’s different from designation. Being listed only delays the issuance of a demolition permit by 60 days (Ontario Heritage Act 27.3), and provides access to some limited City grants.

Without listing, a demolition permit would be granted as a right with no public notice. ‘Permit one day, gone the next’.

Centenary United Church is not a designated building, meaning the “minor alteration” loophole used to demolish James Street Baptist Church cannot be used.

60 Day Delay Allows for Designation Consideration

Recently, a set of listed buildings were facing demolition, and public attention ultimately lead to the buildings being saved from the wrecking ball.

In December 2012, the community was surprised by a demolition request for the pre-Confederation building fronting onto Gore Park at 18-28 King Street East.

There was public outcry, and Council tried to save the building by offering the building owner – Wilson-Blanchard – incentives to preserve the building facades.

The demolition permit was issued in early 2013, as a formality, even as the developer negotiated with Councillors. Even when the developer brought the wrecking ball to the building in July 2013, Council didn’t revoke the demolition permit by designating the building.

There were repeated outcries from the City’s heritage advocates asking Council to revoke the demolition permit.

They were ignored until suddenly, Council voted to designate in December 2013.

If they had not been listed, the wrecking ball would’ve finished the job before anyone noticed.

Centenary United Church – Future Sale?

This brings us back to Centenary United Church, which recently merged with St. Giles United Church to create a new entity called “One Main Street United Church”.

Obviously, any attempt to seek a demolition permit as a condition of sale will result in a similar public outcry by heritage advocates and the neighbourhood association.

Meaning to successfully get a demolition permit, One Main Street United Church must first get the building removed from the heritage interest registry.

On August 21, Helen Bradley, chair of the merged church council, spoke in front of the Hamilton Municipal Heritage Committee asking for the removal. link to video on YouTube

Numerous times, Bradley spoke of a need to look at disposition of the building now that they’ve merged with St. Giles Church.

As she noted, the listing impacts the value of the building as an asset for sale.

“The property—if you need to sell the property— would be worth less if the new purchaser could not tear down the building?”, committee member Paul Wilson (yes, the writer) asked Bradley.

“Potentially, it would certainly narrow down our possibilities of building disposition”, responded Bradley.

The Municipal Heritage Committee received the church’s delegation and kept the building listed.

They voted to schedule a full designation review for the building in 2021.

The church building’s cornerstone was laid on May 28th, 1866 – its a prime candidate for designation.

Church Properties, Heritage, and Cost of Maintenance

“The Churches are not the villains here,” said Paul Wilson. “You have known property we all enjoy driving past— and meanwhile you have to pay the bills.”

This summarizes the dilemma facing churches across Canada, the United States, and Western Europe.

The buildings are pillars of the culture heritage and character of cities—especially downtown cores—but unaffordable for shrinking church congregations responsible for their maintenance and upkeep.

Large churches – especially those built during the 19th century – are expensive to heat, commonly difficult to retrofit for modern accessibility requirements, and many require costly capital repairs that will cost their shrinking congregations millions of dollars to perform.

They are purpose built for a limited role, the Sunday worship, that society no longer demands.

They are relics, but relics many – likely the vast majority – want to keep.

Adaptive Reuses of Churches

Churches are being converted to other uses. Some uses keep the community hub role of the building such as a frat house in upstate New York, coffee shops (while remaining a church on Sunday), conversion to a mosque, breweries, and even an indoor skateboard park:
Lucky Scooters
More commonly, churches are converted into housing, mostly into condominiums, with a few even becoming private mansions. (Check out this extensive slideshow of a converted church in Annapolis)

One Main Street United is receiving assistance from the United Church of Canada to explore future options for their downtown church.

The United Church is familiar with selling former churches for adaptive reuse into housing. (Here’s a 2011 article from the church newspaper)

Demolition of Centenary United?

While adaptive reuse is common to other post-industrial urban centres, it’s still a rarity in Hamilton.

The land Centenary United owns at Main and MacNab is likely more attractive (and lucrative) to a developer for a new residential tower than it is as a candidate for adaptive reuse.

As noted earlier, there are two obstacles to demolition.

Council’s shown in the case of the Gore buildings they’ll designated a listed building facing the wrecking ball, and because it’s not designated, it can’t be demolished as a “minor alteration”.

What’s Next

What’s next?, this is the question that must be answered in part by society.

Do we increase the tax incentives for adaptive reuse of designated heritage buildings, do we leave it to the market to determine how this church eventually gets reused, or even buy the building as a City?

What’s clear: We need to start discussing what we plan to do with heritage churches that no longer have the congregations to support the buildings that, as Paul Wilson put it so well. “we all enjoy driving past”.

In absence of the conversation, we should be prepared to write new chapters of Vanished Hamilton.

Personally, I see it as a candidate for a great mixed-income partially affordable housing project.

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