Thur Jan 7 2021
1. Happy new year!
2. You may have noticed that New Vision Notes took a break during the season of Christmas. The last edition came out Dec 23rd last year. The Sloan Christmas tree came down and went out on the front yard yesterday, Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas.
3. As I mentioned in the Dec 23 New Vision Notes, the Church Council has let me know that our Designing New Vision’s Relationship Currency Project now has a Steering Group. Members of the Steering Group are Joda Kuk, Joey Ruiz, Dennis Sendyowa, Miriam Spies, Bernie Thompson and me. The Group’s mandate is to coordinate the New Vision Threshold Partners in achieving the objectives of the Project. The group is meeting early next week for its initial meeting.
4. I am delighted that this first New Vision Notes of 2021 features short bios of each of the members of the group saying a bit about why they said yes to joining the group and introducing themselves to you and the wider community.
5. Joda Kuk (he, his). I bring the perspective of a second generation Chinese-Canadian, whose parents are both immigrants from Hong Kong. I was born in Brampton, Ontario. I have lived in Hamilton for the past 21 years. I studied Medical Physics, Medicine, and specialized in Radiation Oncology through Mcmaster University. As someone who is a visible minority, who values their identity as a Chinese person growing up and living in the GTHA, I have thought about interculturalism every day of my life. I am excited to explore with New Vision how our community can become more intercultural step by step.
6. Joey Ruiz (she, her). I see my role as an equalizer, providing opportunities for individuals/groups to achieve equality, self-determination, respect and empowerment. My perspective was shaped by growing-up under martial law and being part of the socio-political movement that led to the end of 21-years of a one-man repressive regime. As a mental health provider/case manager/educator/trainer for 20 plus years for Latino, LGBTQ, Asian, Black, Indigenous, and White communities in North America and Manila, I understand families are held back due to lack of documentation/status, LGBTQ2S identities, stigma, lack of healthcare/basic necessities, migration, discrimination, intergenerational trauma, poverty, etc. I bring an affirming perspective, an ability to listen, facilitate, develop a consensus, collaborate, and organize. In the past, I was a board member of Centenary United Church of Canada in 2010-2012. For the past 3 years, I co-led the Affirming Spirituality Group that: a) deepens one’s spirituality and faith to achieve internal balance, recharge one’s spiritual battery and deal more effectively with life’s demands; b) explores social justice, and oppression, develops a personal understanding for those who are marginalized and learns ways to proactively deal with injustice as an ally and/or marginalized individual; c) builds a spiritual/relationship-focused community; and d) provides a confidential, accountable/safe space.
7. I am Dennis Sendyowa, 23 yrs old and Ugandan. Pronoun He. When I was asked to be a part of the intercultural workgroup, I saw it was my opportunity to share my gift I got from God by helping not only LGBTI people but everyone because I believe that everything on this planet wants to be treated equally. I promise to work with everyone so that we can bring everyone to our chest. I worked with some LGBTI refugee organizations in Kenya. Nature network as an Events Manager and also as a photographer, Team no sleep foundation as a volunteer and peer educator, Youth Uplift Uganda as a peer educator and mobilizer. I was trained as a paralegal by National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and also got training from Global Platforms Network Network for Youth Led activisim (act!on aid ) in movement building, holistic security, leadership and advocacy and campaigns.
8. Miriam Spies (she/her) is an ordained minister currently doing PhD studies at Emmanuel College. Her work surrounds how the church can support the gifts of disabled leadership. She has encountered Eric Law’s Holy Currencies in a workshop and has been involved in conversations around intercultural commitments at the national office.
9. Bernie Lee Thompson (he/they/them) is a member of the GLBTQ+ community, who recently transitioned from female to non-binary. Over the years they’ve sat on a number of church and community committees, in positions such as the Chair of Women’s Housing Planning Collaborative (WHPC) Advisory Committee, and volunteering at the AIDS Network. They bring a willingness to be part of a group, an ability to exist outside of their comfort zone, active listening, and an ability to multi-task. As a member of the Intergenerational Kitchen for the GLBTQ+ community, and a member of church and community choirs, they are quite active in the community, also taking part in a small discussion group on senior women, aging, and accessibility. They like to maintain an active lifestyle with Steps to Health, HOMES program, and racing groups. They love walking and running and have participated in over 20 races during 2020! They love animals, but cats hold a special place in their heart.
10. Rev Ian Sloan (he, him). I began my intercultural journey as a graduate student at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. I joined a self-described “intercultural” congregation of the United Church of Christ in suburban Ann Arbor in late 1991, The Church of the Good Shepherd. The congregation was (and is) an authentic effort in the post civil-rights era of the United States to live toward justice and peace in the discomfort of the fraught relationship between whites and blacks. At that time I was a candidate for ordered ministry in the United Church of Canada and was given the privilege by the Church of the Good Shepherd to serve in a lay capacity on their Church Council. My role in the New Vision Steering Group thirty years later is to provide support to the group’s work of coordinating the work of the project with New Vision’s Threshold Partners and friends.
11. There’s your Steering Group! Please hold them in your prayers. You will hear from them soon.
12. Because of the lock-down New Vision folks without access to Zoom have to suspend in-person participation at 24 Main W in our Zoom worship gathering on Sundays. We continue to connect with many who do not have the ability to connect to our Zoom gatherings by phone.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. For updates on New Vision plans in the post Covid-19 emergency recovery, please visit http://newvisionunited.org/new-vision-covid-19-updates/.
See you Sunday – again, or for the first time ~