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Join us for worship on Sundays at 10:00
- Please join us after the service in the Van Roon Community Hall for the HeBrews Café, refreshments and fellowship before continuing on with your day.
- Mission and Social Action Committee invites us to share in a collecting boxes of cereal and jars of peanut butter for Westgrove Family Resource Centre. Details in Life and Work Westgrove Resource Centre Food Drive
- Mark your calendars for a Spaghetti Dinner and Dance Saturday, October 21 in the Van Roon Community Hall. Tickets are $17/person and will be available from the church office beginning next Sunday, October 1. Please join us for an evening of fun, food, and fellowship.
- Members of the Girl Guides from our congregation will be selling cookies at church this week. Please bring cash in case there is any left after Michael goes shopping!!
Welcome to worship for Sunday, September 24, 2023.
In a polarized world it seems to me most important to strive for the middle ground whenever possible. This isn’t easy. It often ends up feeling like that old saying that when you try to please everybody you end up pleasing nobody.
But I remain committed to the middle. The Bible tells me so. The middle is where we are reminded that loving the neighbour is a commandment and not a suggestion. As this week’s Gospel lesson so clearly illustrates, God’s love has no boundaries. It is extravagant. It is generous. It is gracious.
Being in the middle this week was exceedingly difficult. The protests and counter protests across the country on Wednesday, nominally framed as parents’ rights and LBGT rights, came across as a classic example of everyone ignoring the wisdom of the letter of James, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger”. Maybe the time of listening to one another has passed. Perhaps it is a lost skill.
I have sympathy for the concerns of those who question the sexualization of children. It is an issue we have addressed here for many years. I also find myself concerned for the trivialization of the issue and the accusation of hatred targeted against anyone who wants an open discussion about things like school bathrooms and the use of names and pronouns. I don’t have the answer. But I know that this is complicated and worthy of debate.
I also know that it is easy for people who have legitimate concerns to provide shade for some who do genuinely harbour hatred of sexual minorities. This is seldom addressed by either side. On the other hand, the counter protesters, rightfully demanding acceptance and inclusion for all people, seem unwilling or unable to separate the issue of age appropriateness from the broader issue of hate. The conversations don’t even happen and at this point I realize that I have probably offended everybody.
So here in the middle and trusting in Christ I think two things need to be said. The first is that we must unequivocally state our support for all of God’s people who are perfect and made in the image of their Creator without regard of their sexuality. Or maybe precisely because of their sexuality. My daughter Leah is currently working for the YWCA of Toronto and wrote a news release on their behalf this week. In part it said:
The recent rise in anti-2SLGBTQIA+ rhetoric and push back against gender equity and inclusion has been alarming. At school, at work, and at home, all people should feel safe and supported to discover who they are and to be their most authentic selves. We (YWCA) denounce bigotry and hate in all its forms and our commitment to working towards a world where the rights of Trans and gender diverse people are permanently upheld is unwavering. There is no future for gender equality, equity, or justice without the inclusion and support of 2SLGBTQIA+ people.
The second thing that must be said in the middle is that parents have concerns and a right to express those concerns. To them I wish for a renewed trust in teachers and public schools. Contrary to the rhetoric most, if not all, sexual education material is age appropriate and public schools almost invariably understand that matters between children, parents, and family doctors are private. We need schools to reinforce the lessons learned in home and church that everyone matters, has worth, and the potential to be the fullest incarnation of themselves. Trust that teachers are allies in this objective.
Anger does not serve the development of common understanding nor the creation of authentic community. Not from the left and not from the right.
At least that is how it seems in a quiet and forgotten middle.
Grace and peace,
- For news and events please have a look at Life & Work on our website: Life and Work
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- Michael Wilson’s book “A Pastoral Pandemic: Remaining Connected in a Time of Disconnection” is available in store and online through CommonWord Bookstore (Canadian Mennonite University). For more information visit: https://www.commonword.ca/go/3408.
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- The reading for this week’s service can be found at: Matthew 20:1-16