Fri Nov 27 2020
- A protest against the Hamilton Police Services budget and the City housing policy began on Monday in the City Hall forecourt and continues. I have attended and offered a worship service several times, with help from several New Vision threshold partners and other Hamilton area ministers. I see a strong connection between the Scriptural call to solidarity with the marginalized and this symbolic action that makes its point through an encampment that can include people who are sleeping rough. As such I see it as a religious meeting, and when I am present I declare it such. I believe it would be folly on the part of the City to take the tents down. They are part of a prophetic sign-act, as much a sign-act as any of the prophetic sign-acts found in the Hebrew Scriptures – for example, Jeremiah shattering an earthenware pot before the people to symbolize the destruction of Jerusalem. The prophets were primarily concerned with ethics.
- In light of this, it is interesting that the Criminal Code of Canada prohibits obstruction of religious services and “certain meetings” — meetings that serve a benevolent, moral or social purpose. It would seem it would be counter-indicated for the municipality to take any action against the protest outside the realm of addressing reasonable safety concerns during a pandemic. I do not believe the Criminal Code can be so narrowly interpreted as to exclude this protest.
- We might ask, “Is this protest always a meeting for benevolent, moral or social purpose, 24 hours a day?” Our ethical prophetic tradition says that the answer is clearly yes. Prophetic sign-acts always break the norms or the conventions in order to draw attention to the ethical concern.
- But our ethical prophetic tradition implies something in the outrage it is prepared to countenance: there is a conversation that has to take place in this society – it is the only way adaptive change can occur that brings more equity, and inclusion across a diverse population. Such conversations must and do start at the grass roots – from the bottom up. Or, more precisely, in the friction between the civic authority and the prophetic action taking place on the forecourt of City Hall.
- The other night I took a photo of the Ghandi sculpture at City Hall. You can see the protest in the distance and the City Hall Christmas tree. It’s a journey.
- The New Vision Resting and Hygiene Centre for People Sleeping Rough will be winding up by December 11. We are so very grateful to the volunteer coordinators who have made it possible, and to Luke, Steve and Willis who have done well by all of us through providing building services to the centre 7 days a week since late April. Guests will be directed over the next few weeks to available services that they can access when the centre at New Vision is wound up.
- We begin a new church year this Sunday with the first Sunday of Advent. To get into the spirit, let me encourage you to send me a photo of your Christmas tree – present or past – and we’ll put it in our opening slide in our worship gathering. You can send to this email address.
- The slide deck we drew on in our second Threshold Partner meeting last Sunday to begin our New Vision intercultural relational currency design project can be found here. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Dq2uFRaNjGJMtEV-F4FHio_tOn4olJlG/view?usp=sharing.
- Here are the motions passed by the Threshold Partners at the meeting: a) That the Threshold Partners of New Vision United Church engage in “The Relationship Currency Project” in the calendar year 2021 as discussed in this meeting and the meeting on November 1 2020, based on our successful Mission Support Grant Application “Just Intercultural Consultation with Diverse Communities,” b) That the Threshold Partners of New Vision United Church create a 5 member (including the minister) Steering Group to coordinate Threshold Partners in achieving the objectives of the Project accountable to the Threshold Partners through the Church Council, and c) That the Threshold Partners of New Vision United Church appoint a diverse group that is reflective of the goals of the intercultural relationship currency project to the steering group. Through the Church Council the group can add members in order to achieve the desired diversity stated above.
- Several Threshold Partners are considering nominations made at the meeting that they join the steering group. Please hold them in your prayers.
- New Vision folks without access to Zoom are continuing to attend our Zoom worship gathering in person at 24 Main W. Because attendees are at a religious gathering, pandemic health orders allow us to have 10 people together, when at present in all other circumstances in-door gatherings are limited to 5 people.
- If you are interested in attending the in-person gathering, please be in touch with New Vision by emailing email@example.com. The gathering will observe all the best practices for hygiene, screening, and sanitation.
- Christmas is right around the corner! As you might have already heard, Wesley Urban Ministries’ Christmas & Holiday Store will not operate like a store this year. Instead, it will provide hampers for people who participate in Wesley programs and through some of its community partners. For more information on how to get involved, please visit the website https://wesley.ca/holiday-assistance-program/.
- Purchase donations and do a curbside drop off at 1974 King St E (Pioneer Church), December 6 – 22, 1 – 4 pm. Calendar is here: https://wesley.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/christmas-holiday-hamper-calendar-2020.pdf
- Wesley Donation Wish List:
Plastic or re-usable bags
Any non-perishable food in individual or family sizes
New gifts: toys, hygiene items, small kitchen appliances, towel & linens
Gift Certificates for Walmart, Giant Tiger, Canadian Tire, Toys ‘R’ Us
New or gently used hats, mitts, socks, winter boots and coats (No clothing)
- For those looking to volunteer at Wesley, their new volunteer roles and pandemic protocols are available online at the above link. There will be a limited number of on-site volunteers this year, however, you can also help from home by making pre packed hampers or volunteer as a driver to take the hampers to Wesley programs and community partners.
- New Vision Virtual Worship is experiential, participatory, image-rich and collective, just like worship in person at New Vision! Join us on Sunday mornings 10:30 am week to week during the Covid-19 emergency by clicking here. If you want to put the link someplace easy to find each week, here it is:?https://us02web.zoom.us/j/782292511. Please share it with others and invite them to a “different” kind of time on Zoom from the usual.
- You can also call in to the gathering on the telephone toll free. Call 1 855 703 8985, then, when prompted, input the Meeting ID 782 292 511 followed by the # sign. Ignore the prompts for Participant ID and Password. You are in when the recorded voice says, “You are in the meeting.” If you can only connect by video on your computer with no audio, you can use the phone connection for audio and the computer connection for visual.
- For updates on New Vision plans in the post Covid-19 emergency recovery, please visit http://newvisionunited.org/new-vision-covid-19-updates/.
Hope to see you on Sunday – again, or for the first time.