Islington in the News

Interfaith Lectures

Islington United Church
Hosts Interfaith Lectures

January 29, 2019 by Tamara Shepard Toronto.com

Moderator James Aitchison encourages people not to be afraid of 'other'

A cold, unseasonably rainy winter night didn’t discourage approximately 130 people last week from hearing perspectives on how Hindu and Buddhist spiritual traditions engage with Christianity.

This month,
Islington United Church hosted its second interfaith lecture series, Eastern Traditions: Pathways to Spirituality, as part of its interfaith work.

“Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors” is Islington United Church’s mission.

The panel discussion, the final session of the Etobicoke church’s three-week interfaith lecture series, heard from Swamini Shivapriyananda on Hinduism, Rev. Dr. Bhante Saranapala, known as the Urban Buddhist Monk, and
Michelle Voss Roberts on Christianity.

Earlier this month, Shivapriyananda, with Chinmaya Vedanta Heritage Centre
in Brampton, and Saranapala, with West-End Buddhist Cultural Centre in Mississauga, each lectured on their own faiths.

Last week, each lecturer shared the practices and principles important to their own spiritual traditions.

Voss Roberts, the first female principal of
Emmanuel College, a theological college associated with the United Church of Canada at the University of Toronto, spoke of Christian practices of “attention to the movement of God’s spirit."

"Where is that spirit moving in the self, moving in the community and moving in the world? Prayer is important, song, meditation on scripture or an icon, walking a labyrinth, poetry. Those things attend to God’s motion in ourselves and in the world,” Voss Roberts said. 

Buddhism is focused on the internal life and the understanding that “all problems, whatever they are, are in the mind,” Saranapala said.

“We learn how to fix our own mind,” Saranapala said. “All the problems and suffering that arise in our lives come from our words, our actions and our mind. We learn a major paradigm shift to right understanding, right thinking, right actions, right effort, right concentration. When you train your mind to concentrate on the right things, there is a huge positive change in your life.”

Hinduism teaches “we are all divine beings,” Shivapriyananda said. “The purpose is to live as a divine being, with all your practices directed toward unveiling the divinity within. You avoid selfish actions by purifying the mind.”

Voss Roberts noted both Hindu and Buddhist traditions teach the “gentle practice of non-attachment.”

“Society needs this coming together,” attendee Candace Brown said of the interfaith lecture series.

“They’re talking about love, loving kindness, compassion. I think that’s the basis of humanity regardless of religion. There’s so much truth in that,” she said.
Moderator James Aitchison, a student minister and master of divinity student at Emmanuel College, said he “wants to encourage people not to be afraid of 'other.'"
During a decade of travel, Aitchison practised yoga and meditation at a Buddhist retreat in India.

“I found I was able to stand in my own tradition more because of these engagements with Eastern traditions. I think it gives us a great capacity to find our unity.”

Jack Grady moderated Islington United’s interfaith series last year, which explored Christianity, Judaism and Islam’s common roots in seeking peace and justice.

“We don’t have the one true Word. There are many pathways to God,” Grady said. “The value of interfaith work is to think more deeply about our own faith background and faith traditions. Interfaith is important; learning about another religion is important.”
Linda Gershuny, previously Jewish and now Baha’i, has attended all of Islington United’s interfaith lectures.

“The only way to get out of our troubled state is moving toward unity. I believe it will happen,” Gershuny said. “Eastern traditions resonate a lot with North Americans because of their focus on peacefulness.”

Islington in the News

Faith Communities

Faith communities look different these days -
and Islington United Church is no exception
Dec 29, 2018 by Barbara Sheffield in Toronto.com

'We learn to live unconditionally, to heal a broken world,' writes Barbara Sheffield

Faith communities look different these days. Some have even gone so far as to say, “This is not your grandmother’s church; come and discover us.” In addition to worship, education and study, congregations and parishes are reaching out to the community, inviting more engagement and connection.

Networks, circles, collaborative projects are all part of church life today. And, Islington United Church is no exception. One of our newest initiatives is our Interfaith Circle, established to build ecumenical and interfaith relationships. We discover, celebrate and demonstrate respect for all faith traditions through relationship.

But, what does that look like? — Conversations, lectures, sharing meals, music and cosponsoring youth programs like summer camp and a weekly basketball and arts program.

It begins by seeing each other with new eyes and hearing each other with new hearts so that we can trust each other in new ways. It is more than words or talk. It includes welcoming the stranger, working collaboratively and demonstrating empathy. It involves not just knowledge, but entering into a relationship with others to find what we share in common.

New relationships show us how to share our values, address racism, learn more about each other and to seek justice and peace in our communities. We have participated with our Muslim neighbours in an Iftar, a meal that ends a dawn-to-dusk fasting, that is part of Ramadan in partnership with the Arab Community Centre. We knitted prayer shawls to send to the Quebec City Mosque to grieving families after the terrible attack there in 2016. We invited a Muslim imam, Jewish rabbi and Christian minister to lead us in worship. In 2018, we became involved with the Ribbons of Peace project, a community art installation, with Arts Etobicoke, Montgomery’s Inn and Creative Village Studio, that was supported by the Islington Business Improvement Association, to create public messages of peace, hope and love in Islington Village. A year ago, we also offered a lecture series to the community to help us all learn more about our Abrahamic roots where Judaism, Christianity and Islam connect.

Join us this month on Wednesday evenings — Jan. 9, 16 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. at a second lecture series with a focus on Eastern Traditions: Pathways to Spirituality, where we will learn more about Hinduism and Buddhism and how they engage with Christianity. Lecturers include Swamini Shivapriyananda, Chinmaya Heritage Centre, Brampton; Rev. Dr. Bhante Saranapala, 'The Urban Monk', West End Buddhist Temple, Mississauga; and Michelle Voss Roberts, principal, Emmanuel College, University of Toronto. Our lecturers will explore connection and spiritual practice.

Interfaith activity leads to discovering where God is already at work and joining in that workthrough partnerships and collaborative relationships that build peace in community. Engaging with others of different faiths leads to friendship and dialogue. We learn to love unconditionally, to heal a broken world.

Islington United Church sees interfaith activity as a fulfilment of our mission — Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors. - Barbara Sheffield is Islington United Church’s Interfaith Circle co-chair.


Islington in the News

Consider God's Gifts

Christmas is a Time to Consider God's Gifts
December 20, 2018 by Rev. Maya Landell in Etobicoke Gardian
Rev. Moya Landell Invites All to Celebrate Gifts You Can’t Buy


For the last few weeks, Islington United has been marking the season of Advent, the time for getting ready to enter into the mystery of Christmas. It is a busy time of year: All the emotions of this season, the memories, the in­vitations, the joys, the challenges, the expectations, the plans, the tastes, the temptations and the gifts.

And yet in the midst of it all, there are moments where the Holy comes so close that we have to pause and notice. An unexpected visit or card full of gratitude, a creative gift that means the world, the early morning calm in the city after a snow, music that gives life to what we feel, an article or book that calls us into hope, or traditions that remind us who we are and whose we are. That's what we prepare for at Islington United Church this Christmas: Space for the holy and sacred in the midst of our lives.

The church has been so carefully decorated and lit to make room for the mystery and the sanctuary is open each day as a quiet space for people to pause and pray. On Sundays, we celebrate the "unbuyable" gifts of hope, peace, joy and love. Hope when others want us to believe all is lost. Peace that passes all understanding in the face of anxiety and fear. Joy that is contagious and carries us through tears and laughter. Love that makes room for second chances, healing, for­giveness, grace and the freedom to be fully known and accepted as you are. These are part of the gift of Christmas, made known to us through the birth of Emmanuel (God with Us). Jesus is an inbreaking of God's love into the world.
These are the gifts that go on. These are the gifts we hope to share with our families, our community and our neighbourhood. These are the gifts that cross boundaries of belief, judgment and isolation. These are the gifts that make our lives matter and call us to make a difference in the world. Gifts that provide the foundation for us to live into the call to open hearts, open minds, open doors.

As you make your plans for Christmas Eve, know that there is a place for you at Islington United. We are celebrating the mystery of Christmas with our 5 p.m. family service where all children participate in retelling this ancient story. At 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., the same service twice, we tell the story through familiar carols and words that welcome the Christ light. The 11 p.m. service wraps up the mystery, as the string players and choristers call us to candle­light communion.

And if you can't be with us in person, we will be live-streaming on our website www.islingtonunited.org. Services and sermons are always archived for re-engaging. I know one place where my family and I will be to come close to the mystery of Christmas. I hope to see you there. Islington United Church - sharing inspiration and hope for more than 200 years. Rev. Maya Landell is lead minister at Islington United Church.

 

Islington in the News

Making Music at Islington

Making Music at Islington
"A Long and Rich History"
Opinion Nov. 9, 2018 by Jason Locke in Toronto.com

 
'We have a long and rich history of music making in the community,' - Jason Locke


As Islington United Church celebrates 200 years of work and ministry in Etobicoke, we find ourselves offering gratitude for all the ways the church’s music program has touched the community. As the new Minister of Music, I find myself asking this question: how do we continually honour the legacy of excellent music-making here at Islington United Church and at the same time offer innovative music programs which will connect with, and enrich the lives of, those in our church and in the wider community of Etobicoke.

Eighteen months ago, when I started working as the Minister of Music, it was apparent almost immediately that I was stepping into a program which was committed to honouring the church’s long-standing tradition of creating beautiful music both for our worship services and for the community to enjoy.

Barry Gosse, who died too early in his career, worked diligently with us from 1968-1988 to support the worship life of the church and to foster the talent of youth in the community. He was well known both in the church and in public education circles where he gave many dedicated years of service. I often hear stories today of the ways that Barry supported and inspired people in their youth to hone their musical talents.

A short time after Barry’s sudden passing, Dr. John Derksen joined the Islington staff team. John continued the legacy of developing a rich and diverse choral program but also brought leadership and finesse to the organ bench. It was under his leadership that the church saw the installation of the new Schoenstein organ in 1994.

We have a long and rich history of music making in the community.

There are lots of opportunities for children, youth and adults to participate in our programs whether it is our Junior Choir (grades 1-6), our Youth Choir (grades 7-12) or our senior choir. In addition, we have a Handbell Choir and a roster of keyboardists, guitarists, string, woodwind, brass and percussion players who offer their gifts to the community. These musicians participate in the weekly worship services and offer special concerts throughout the year.

We are always welcoming children and youth from the neighbourhood into our choirs and offer a meal after school on Thursdays at 5 p.m. before rehearsals begin at 5:45 p.m.
December always brings special music presentations and concerts to celebrate Advent and Christmas. Check out our annual Christmas concert, Christmas at Islington on December 16 at 3 p.m. You won’t want to miss our full-fledged children’s musical production of In a Galilee Far, Far Away on December 23 at 3 p.m. Each Sunday in December, our choirs will be surrounding us with sounds of the season.

You can always check out the church’s website for other events and more information about our music programs at www.islingtonunited.org. Or, you can contact me at jason@islingtonunited.org with specific questions about participation or, as musicians in the community, to collaborate with us. We are always looking at ways to offer new programs.
 
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors is central to our music making. Everyone is welcome. Jason Locke is Minister of Music at Islington United Church in Etobicoke.

 

Islington In The News

Rummage Sale Tradition

Rummage Sales a Fine Tradition
Embraced by Islington United Church
Opinion Oct. 11, 2018 by Val Greenfield in Toronto.com

 
Event helps make affordable, high-quality goods available to community while supporting work of church, writes Val Greenfield

Rummage sales, often organized by churches and community groups as a fundraiser, are a mainstay of life in small towns, the suburbs and large cities. Many of us have found that special treasure at one of these sales.

Originating in port cities, such sales got their name from a nautical term pertaining to the arrangement of goods in the hold of a ship. Unclaimed or damaged cargo would be sold at the dock once the ship arrived in port.

My first experience with a rummage sale was in 1958 at Queensway United Church. Money was tight for families in my neighbourhood, including my own. Our church sale provided gently used, reasonably priced goods at a fraction of the cost of new. My first purchase? A pair of red leather high-heeled shoes, which I wore to play “dress up.”

Islington United Church has had a history of rummage sales spanning decades. Our sale format includes nine themed areas, each staffed by volunteers who display and price goods during the week before the sale. All is ready for opening day!

The areas include: Clothing, Christmas, arts and crafts, books, toys and games, linens, housewares, treasures and men’s den. And, we host a food stand where volunteers and shoppers can take a break while they work and shop.

Shoppers will find a variety of quality, inexpensive clothing and household items.
Our volunteers are congregation members, friends and family, as well as youth from our church and students at Etobicoke Collegiate. It’s a great opportunity to socialize, meet new people, work hard and have some fun.

Islington in the News

Church Youth Programs

Church Youth Programs
Guide and Support
Opinion Sep 18, 2018 by Rev. Karen Eade in Toronto.com

'When youth have a safe space to come together with caring and consistent adults, they are set up to succeed,' writes Rev. Karen Eade

There’s no better time than September to think about the children and young people in our midst.

At Islington United Church, we know that, each year, as they grow, kids have new interests and are hungry for opportunities to spend time together and in a community that feels authentic. This year, like other faith communities in our neighbourhood, we will continue to offer opportunities for children and youth to help them grow and thrive.
 
With guidance, support, and responsibility, children and young people in the village of Islington can discover their potential and thrive through church programs. At Islington United Church, that means not only education, but also expanding our Thursday evening youth drop-in programs to include dinner, basketball, and a new creative arts program to convey God’s love to the world in authentic and creative ways. This new arts program will provide children and youth an opportunity to learn about who they are as they create and express themselves through printmaking, acrylics, collage and photography with a local artist.

Our music program invites young people who like to sing to practise Thursday evening with our dynamic youth choir conductor, who, last year, took the choir to Cuba for a week to learn about another culture and offer shared performances. The experience provided choir members an opportunity to share their faith with others.

Everyone who participates in these youth programs calls the church their place to be on a regular basis. When youth have a safe space to come together with caring and consistent adults, they are set up to succeed.

And, of course, Islington offers Christian education programs suitable for all children and youth — "Godly Play" for preschoolers and children to Grade 8, as well as youth-group programming for grades 5 to 8 in "Rise" and grades 9 to 12 in "Seekers." There is also a Sunday morning youth class that focuses on faith and current events. These programs nurture faith and ensure that church is a welcoming and meaningful place to be.

Sometimes it is a challenge for young people in the daily school system; everything changes once they reach middle school and again in high school. It can feel like getting thrown into the deep end of the pool: more freedom, new friends, new fashions and social times. Issues of bullying, as well as gender issues, and pressures around addressing new behaviours are part of everyday life. We know that to explore and grow is as much about finding who we are, as who we are not.

May this fall be one where we celebrate our children and youth, offer them enjoyable and healthy ways to spend time together, hold them responsible for their choices, and offer them the respect and support they need and deserve. With this vision, the children and youth in our village will continue to thrive and grow into the wonderful young adults they were created to be.

You are welcome to explore any of these programs at Islington United Church and will find more information on our website, www.islingtonunited.org, or contact me at karen@islingtonunited.org.

Islington in the News

Green Magic in Etobicoke

Green Magic in the Heart of Etobicoke
Giving Garden provides fresh produce to neighbours in need
Opinion Aug. 14, 2018 by Steve Towers in Toronto.com

Islington United Church is located in a diverse neighbourhood — culturally and economically.


People from all over the world have found a home in the Islington Village: a mix of prosperous and disadvantaged areas. To help meet the needs of some of its neighbours, 12 years ago Islington United Church expanded from providing food from its emergency pantry in the church to partnering with Daily Bread Food Bank. Bi-weekly and year-round, Daily Bread and Islington United provide a two- to three-day supply of food to more than 100 families through the Mabelle food program. The area is known as a “food desert” because many residents have to walk an hour, a four-kilometre round trip, to find an affordable grocery store.

A combination of soil and willing neighbours are producing local food for local people — some green magic, right in the heart of Etobicoke.

Since 2012, the church’s Green Team has been cultivating an organic garden on church property to solve the most persistent challenge facing this ongoing food program — a decent selection of fresh produce. Although bi-weekly food deliveries and donations are reliable, the quality, volume and consistency of the fresh produce is not. The Green Team’s mission is to grow vegetables on an open, south-facing lawn with a focus on ecologically friendly practices — producing a level of quality that anyone would be proud to put on their own dinner table.

The Giving Garden, as it is now known, has grown from a six-square-metre carrot patch to a 42-square-metre mixed garden that produces 20 deliveries of fresh vegetables, May through October. This includes lettuce, chard, kale, beans, cabbage, tomatoes and herbs. The garden is nurtured and cared for by dozens of volunteers, including church members, neighbours, Cub Scouts, ESL students, day-campers, and people who don’t mind getting their hands a bit dirty. With the 28 raised garden boxes, two potato barrels and three trellises, along with a handful of backyard satellite gardens, the operation now has the capacity to produce 300 kilograms of produce and 1,500 food packages annually.
Growing according to healthy principles, the garden incorporates chemical-free soil, organic seeds and seedlings, and rainwater, whenever possible. Four on-site composters, a double-rain barrel system, an indoor 1,200 seedling nursery, and a bee yard on the roof operated by Toronto Honeys support this expanding ecosystem. To maximize food value, taste and appearance, all vegetables are delivered within two hours of being picked to the Mabelle food program and other local food banks.

Prior to the sea of highrise buildings and houses, farms and market gardens dominated the Etobicoke landscape. Earlier still, pioneering settlers tilled soil in the surrounding area around Montgomery’s Inn to serve the community, travellers and the military. Before then, Indigenous people cultivated the “three sisters” of corn, beans and squash in camps on the banks of nearby creeks and rivers. With the Giving Garden, we again place our hands in the soil for the sake of healthy sustenance. (Steve Tower is the Green Team Lead at Islington United Church.)


 

Islington in the News

Residential Schools

Islington United Church
Remembers Victims of Residential Schools
Etobicoke Guardian - Thursday, June 21, 2018

 

Since the release of the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report, Canadian settler descendants and newcomers have been challenged to change Canada's relationship with our Indigenous peoples. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 calls to action touch many aspects of Canadian life, pointing the way to a transformed relationship whether it involves church, school, business or community.

Islington United Church has embarked on a journey to learn more about Canada's dark history and explore ways to embrace the reconciliation that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) advocates.

We have had opportunities to learn about and reflect on the real experiences of children taken from their families and thrust into the strange, often abusive, world of residential schools: Children like John who reported "when I left the ... school, I could no longer speak Algonquin, and my parents could not speak ... the language that I had been taught in the school. It was almost impossible to communicate with them about the abuse I experienced at the school. I tried to talk with my parents, but, no, it didn't work ..."

In response, a Heart Garden was established in a quiet part of the church's grounds to remember and honour the children, their families, and the communities affected by the tragedy of residential schools.

The
KAIROS Blanket Exercise is another way that children, youth, and adults of the congregation have learned about Canada's history from the Indigenous perspective. Blankets are spread on the floor depicting the land mass of northern Turtle Island (Canada). The participants represent the First Peoples of the land, moving freely about the entire territory. As facilitators describe events of the past 500 years, participants gradually drop out signifying the impact of disease, death, and confiscation of land. Participants consistently comment on the profound impact the exercise has on their understanding of the Indigenous/non-Indigenous relationship.

Islington United is also pursuing ways to support Indigenous people in their call for policy change to restore the balance between our nations, due to the huge gaps in services offered. Every Valentine's Day, the congregation mails dozens of "Have a Heart Day" postcards to the prime minister of Canada calling for Indigenous children to have the same chance "to grow up safely at home, get a good education, be healthy, and proud of their culture." Carole Bennett is a co-lead of the Right Relations Circle at Islington United Church


Islington in the News

Supporting New Lives

Islington Refugee-Support Ministry
Supports Those Starting a New Life in Canada
Etobicoke Guardian - Thursday May 24, 2018
 
Caring, sharing and love are the hallmarks of Islington United Church's refugee-support ministry, which has served newcomers to Canada for almost 40 years. As sponsors, the church makes a one-year commitment to be responsible in every way for a family's needs as they settle in a new homeland and face the challenges of Canadian living and culture. Since it began this work in 1979, Islington has sponsored 97 people, representing 32 groups from 13 countries, to come here to safety and a new life.

The procedure could be compared to an adoption process, making applications, planning, waiting, final preparations and welcoming with joy upon arrival. The work is supported by the entire congregation and a very busy ministry committee of some 20 people, who meet regularly, raise funds and acquire household goods and personal items so that everything can be ready for new arrivals.

Once a family arrives, our keen and motivated committee moves into high gear, helping to get children into school, parents into ESL courses, finding doctors and dentists for the family, working with the family to create an employment strategy, and making sure they get to know the community and all its services. And we celebrate achievements with them, working toward Month 13, when they will be financially independent and ready to move into Canadian life to start their new story.

Wonderful friendships are made as we go through daily living experiences.

Newcomers say that they are amazed with such a wonderful welcome and grateful to people who want to help them, but especially for the love shown. They appreciate the friendships, the family support, invitations to homes for dinner, tours of the city and special outings, and even the support by committee members to new mothers through labour. Children even created relationships with church members who acted as "grandparents."

All are proud to become Canadian citizens within three to five years; many own their own homes and now have children attending university. They have found employment as administrators, service industry workers, as well as skilled tradespeople and as teachers and engineers.

Since the arrival of Syrian refugees in 2015, the ministry committee has established the Etobicoke Network of Refugee Sponsors, to offer training to first-time refugee sponsors in best practices, through a variety of workshops and information sharing.
Visit our refugee photo gallery at the church on any Sunday morning after worship - Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors.

Laurie-Beth Page was the first chair of the Refugee Support Ministry committee at Islington United Church in 1979; she continues this work as a committee member today.

Islington in the News

Opening Our Doors Wider

Islington United Church
Commits to National Affirm Program

Islington Opens Doors to Diversity and Inclusivity
Opinion Apr 26, 2018 by Carrie Chenier Toronto.com

 

Islington United Church has always been a “welcoming” church, but over the past year has worked toward a new understanding of what welcoming means. It has been preparing to become committed to Affirm, a national program of the United Church of Canada. Affirming is to be on a journey for greater justice and compassion, to be more loving. And we made that commitment earlier this month.

Affirm is the conscious commitment to inclusion and justice for people of all sexual orientation and gender identities. Affirming ministries and congregations challenge bias and discrimination based on appearance, culture, class and age. They work to end racism, promote economic justice, increase accessibility and care for Mother Earth.

Becoming an affirming congregation does not happen once a year; it’s not a flash in the pan. You just don’t hold a vote and move on to other things. It is quite the opposite, in fact. A vote to become an affirming congregation is a lifetime commitment to follow Jesus’ last and greatest commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Not as easy as it may seem — for we all come with baggage, hidden or open, scars from past missteps and wounds inflicted either on purpose or inadvertently.

God has not invested congregations with the power to judge who they let in, but rather God calls us to be inclusive, making for a richer, kinder and gentler world. Voices of condemnation, exclusion and hatred blare from our varied media outlets every day — yet we can make a difference. Affirming ministries make a public statement about who they are and what they believe.

What will Affirm look like at Islington? We shall be public, intentional and explicit in our commitment to diversity and inclusivity; we have a goal to end discrimination against all peoples; we seek to make a safe space that is inclusive; we will offer study, education and dialogue such as workshops and partnerships. And, all of that means we will continue to grow in celebrating God’s gift of love.

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors, a commitment to Affirm, a journey of compassion. Come and join us on June 3, at 9:30 a.m. or 11:15 a.m., when we officially celebrate our joining the Affirm United Network as we share and live into our faith so that no one needs to fear they are separated from God’s love. -  Carrie Chenier is the lead on the Affirming process at Islington United Church.
 

Islington in the News

Wrapped in Ribbons

Toronto's Islington Village
Gets wrapped in Ribbons of Peace
Message is to be welcoming, highlight diversity and inclusivity
News Apr 17, 2018 by Tamara Shephard Toronto.com
 
Islington United Church children and youth minister Rev. Karen Eade, last Thursday at the church, asked 10 children and youth to answer the question, ‘when I think of peace, I think of …’   Dario Ciddio, 9, and Krystal Zia, 7, and the others wrote those words and more in indelible black ink on white satin ribbons of peace.

“It was amazing. I wrote seven words,” Dario
said.

Starting this Friday, dozens of the white satin ribbons with words including love, forgiveness and caring, will be tied to trees and poles along Dundas Street West between Kipling and Islington avenues.

The inspiration for the community art collaboration between Islington United Church, Arts Etobicoke, Mabellearts, Creative Village Studio and Montgomery’s Inn — a Roncesvalles church that tied ribbons of peace along Roncesvalles Avenue following last year’s Quebec mosque shooting that killed six and injured 19 others.

“The church held a vigil after the Quebec mosque shooting then tied ribbons of peace all along Roncesvalles Avenue to support the mosque on their street,” recalled Barbara Sheffield, a facilitator on the project. “They wanted to send a message to the community, ‘we are protecting the community.’”

The intention of the community-building project, using art as a catalyst, is to “build a strong sense of belonging,” Sheffield said.

“We wanted to involve kids because they are our future if we’re going to have a world of peace.”

Those who attend Montgomery’s Inn Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays in April may also create a ribbon.

The project’s message – to be welcoming – also highlights the values of inclusivity and diversity, said Wendy Rading, Arts Etobicoke’s program manager and Ribbons of Peace facilitator.

Rading expressed excitement at the community groups’ collaboration, and hoped for more in the future.

“It’s very visually impactful. It could be the start of really integrating community projects,” Rading said of Ribbons of Peace.

“It’s such a neat neighbourhood with a mixture of people who’ve lived a long time in Etobicoke and those new to Canada. There is so much potential to work together.”
Sheffield said she hopes the ribbons remain on the trees and poles until Canada Day.
 

Islington In The News

Celebrating 200 Years

Islington United Church:
A Strong Sense of Mission for 200 years

Opinion Mar 29, 2018 by Carole Bennett in Toronto.com


Islington United Church is celebrating 200 years of serving the people of central Etobicoke. By 1818, British settlers who were known to be Methodists had taken up land surrendered by the Mississaugas First Nation in Crown Treaty 13.

These early Methodists met for worship in their homes and by 1823 joined the Toronto circuit of the Methodist Episcopal Church as the “Mimico Charge.” Two circuit pastors travelling on horseback (“saddlebag preachers”) would make the circuit of 30 preaching points covering 300 miles in nine townships every three to four months. 

By 1843, there were enough members to build a small church on the east side of the Islington Burying Grounds on Dundas Street (inside what is now the Fox and Fiddle restaurant). One pastor of the 1870s was James Woodsworth who married Miss Esther Josephine Shaver of the congregation. Their oldest son, James Shaver Woodsworth, was born on Applewood Farm in Etobicoke. He went on to become an ordained Methodist minister and later the first leader of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), the forerunner of the New Democratic Party.

By 1885, the congregation had grown large enough to leave the circuit to call its own minister and construct a larger building. A red brick church complete with bell tower was dedicated in 1887 and a manse (residence) for the minister followed in 1889. Both were located on the south side of Dundas Street, east of Cordova Avenue. As the village (and Toronto) grew so did the church and after the Second World War construction began on the modern Gothic cathedral that is the congregation’s current home where dynamic worship, wonderful music, and programs for every age and stage of life abound.

Islington United has always had a strong sense of mission — helping in the community and beyond. A missionary report of 1849 provides the first record of donations to mission by the 42 donors in the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel at Mimico (Islington) — £14, 9s, 6½d (about $2,400 today). During the Great Depression, church members collected and shipped bundles of clothing and food along with money to help people in Saskatchewan.

Today, Islington United continues to serve the community with the Mabelle Food Program, Out of the Cold meals, interfaith activities, and 40 years of refugee sponsorship. Come and visit us during Doors Open Toronto, presented by Great Gulf, on May 26 and 27, or any Sunday morning for worship — Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors. - Carole Bennett is lead, social justice network, Islington United Church.

 


Web Development and Support by AdelphaTech | Site Powered by Kentico CMS for ASP.NET