The movie Blind Side tells the story of Michael Oher, a Memphis teenager pretty much homeless, who attended the same Christian school as the son and daughter of Leigh Anne and Sean Touhy.
“Big Mike”, was walking, coatless and in shorts, in the rain on a cold November night. Leigh Anne made her husband stop the car, got out, asked the teenager if he had a place to stay that night; Leigh Anne said, “don’t you lie to me,” and when “Big Mike” admitted he did not, bundled him into the car, took him home and bedded him down on her chesterfield.
Michael, was taken under the Touhy family’s wings and eventually became a member of the Baltimore Ravens’ football team.
This movie, based on real life, left me asking myself if I could ever be as compassionate and generous as Leigh Anne Touhy. Would I have passed “Big Mike” and simply thought that he had a home to go to; not that he was headed to an all-night laundromat for warmth and a place to wash the tee shirt he was carrying in a plastic bag.
The September, 2016, issue of the U.C. Observer, Pg. 33, features an article by Stanley Q. Woodvine, “a former graphic designer and illustrator, who now earns his living collecting returnable beverage containers.”
Stanley wrote, “After becoming homeless, I yearned to be rescued from the unknown terror of life on the streets. However, there was no rescue. I had no choice but to get over my fear and come to terms with the reality of my situation.
One adjustment I had to make was figuring out how to get a decent night’s rest while outside. In order to sleep rough, I had to adopt a much more relaxed attitude toward the ideas of private property and trespassing. These many years later, the Parkade that I sleep in certainly feels homey and welcoming.
No homeless person that I’ve spoken to about the subject feels truly “homeless.” All of us find our comfort zone someplace: in a neighbourhood, a street block, a park or a parkade.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that we homeless people strive to make homes for ourselves, even in the midst of what some would characterize as ruined lives.
If it helps at all, picture us as the survivors of a natural disaster – a devastating earthquake for example (one that happens to be called poverty and circumstance). Then we’re just ordinary, plucky folk making our way through adversity, like people do the world over.
I am a firm believer that you can make a difference in someone’s life – whether they are a thousand miles away, or on your own block.
“You have a purpose.” God has created each of us for a specific purpose. Primarily to bring honour to Him, and one way we do that is meeting the needs of other. – Cindy Hess Kasper in Daily Bread
St. Bartholomew’s United Church
2016 Fall Newsletter
Rev. Jeff Bacon
Greetings! Fall is upon us and it marks a busy time of year for many of us: back to school, new challenges at work after the summer holidays, getting ready for a cold and snowy winter, and Christmas is just around the corner! They’re many of the same things we were busy with this time last year!
Our busy lives get segmented by the years that pass (each New Year, birthday and anniversary), by the seasons and months that pass, by the weeks that pass (work weeks, weekends and Sunday worship together) and by the hours of each day that pass. At St. Bart’s we divide the year in many recurring ways also, but one of the most important is the marking of another Dove newsletter! It’s interesting for me to reflect about the many things that have happened over the past six months and to think ahead to the many things that might unfold in the six months to come. After all, our lives together are not really segmented, but flow together as we grow together as a community of faith.
Way back in May, Maleah and Victoria joined me at the Toronto Conference Annual Meeting in Midland and they both spoke to the gathering on important issues affecting youth in the United Church. They, along with our “senior youth” are taking an active role at St. Bart’s: hosting church functions like the Welcome Back Bacon on a Bun lunch, taking leadership roles in our Sunday School, and participating in our fall Alpha 2016 program. We welcomed 15 new members to St. Bart’s on June 12th (Henry, Gaile, Tom, Eileen, Laura, Doug, Don, Sandra and Daryl, Beverley, Frank, Charlene and Ted, Olga, and Matt). And we had a wonderful celebration of the marriage of Jan Henriksen’s son Shawn to Nadia, who are currently teaching at a school in Cuba. In September, we started the new Alpha 2016 program and have more than 30 people joining together for dinner, an interesting film, and discussion about some of the big questions we have about Christianity. We have 6-8 “senior youth” joining in and 4 participants who are not regular St. Bart’s congregants. It’s an engaging evening of spiritual fellowship! On Saturday, we celebrated the 58th anniversary of St. Bart’s with a fun Anniversary Fundraiser featuring Vegas singing impersonator Houston McPherson, followed on Sunday morning with a special Anniversary service!
As we begin our 59th year as a family of faith, we have lots to look forward to! We’ll be baptising three babies on November 20th, who will benefit from the new Nursery facility downstairs that has the worship service softly playing to keep Mom’s (and babies!) comfortably included in the service. Along with welcoming new babies and new members, we have also had to say farewell at the funerals of two beloved friends; Shirley Ault and Russell Crump. As we change and grow, we’re grateful for all of the folks that have contributed to making St. Bart’s who we are: a loving, Christian family with unique gifts to share. Only God knows what we will be able to accomplish before the next Dove Newsletter!
Rev. Jeff Bacon
CELEBRATION OF BAPTISM – MOTHER’S DAY
Welcomed into the Christian family through baptism on May 8th, 2016, Mother’s Day were the following:
Ruxspin Ted Emerson Soto, Jack James Farrow, Ted Steve Soto and Daryl Shaw. The Sanctuary was filled with family and friends and it was a joyous occasion as each of the above was baptised by Rev. Jeff.
On Sunday, June 12th the following people were welcomed into the Fellowship of St. Bartholomew’s as members of our congregation.
Tom Dawe, Eileen Dewbury, Laura Gibson, Frank Roberts, Gaile Dale, Beverley Parrish, Sandra Liechti, Daryl Keith, Charlene and Ted Soto, Matt Young, Don Kerr, Henry Beglin, Doug Ireland and Olga Stevenson.
Belated birthday wishes go to Bill Walker who celebrated his 90th birthday in May; Bill’s solo offerings on Sunday mornings are always appreciated.
Congratulations, and best wishes go to Rev. Eleanor, and Isaac Moreithi who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in June.
Nicholas Ladouceur graduated in June from Seneca College’s Veterinarian Technician’s program. Congratulations, Nicholas!
Congratulations and best wishes go to Tania, Elton, Tyrese and Ethan Julian on the safe September arrival of baby Tyler.
Micah Mayers, infant son of Camilla and Keith Mayers, and little brother for Maleah, Moriah, and Matthew arrived on September 21st. Congratulations and best wishes go to the Mayers family.
We thank Roger Borrison for his donation of a music stand to replace Dorean’s music stand that has gone missing.
From caring comes courage. – Lao Tzu
I will miss seeing her face and hearing her voice and knowing she was always close to me. * Terry Kay **********************************************************
REMEMBERING SHIRLEY AULT
Shirley was mother to Bruce, Sandra, Robert, Cheryl, Karen, Leslie, Laura, Darlene, Brian, Michael and Lisa. Shirley was also the caring grandmother of 33 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.
On May 5th, 2016 St. Bart’s Sanctuary was filled with the family that Shirley and her husband Bill had nurtured from childhood to successful adulthood.
Shirley took great pride in the accomplishments of her children and grandchildren and attended any function that involved a member of her family.
“Shirley was an avid gardener and animal lover. She loved spending her summers at the cottage and travelling the world with her loving husband.”
We will remember the joy that Shirley experienced because of her granddaughters and their musical accomplishments. We remember Shirley and Bill selling a CD the girls had made.
We also remember Shirley and Bill bringing their dogs to Rev. Maureen’s Blessing of the Animals.
Shirley, along with Bill, could always be counted on when asked to usher at Sunday morning Worship Services.
We thank God for the life and times of Shirley Ault, and all that Shirley gave of herself to her family and friends.
REMEMBERING RUSSELL CRUMP by Linda Pruden
Dad was born William Russell Crump on February 3, 1933 in Kerrobert, Saskatchewan.
Dad joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in November 1950 and served for 21 years, specializing in Radar Avionics. His proudest moment in the Air Force was working on the Avro Arrow (all-weather interceptor jet aircraft) until the government pulled funding in 1959. I don’t think Dad ever forgave them for that!
His time in the Air Force was one of his proudest – he loved sharing his war stories with his children and grandchildren. The Air Force fostered his great love of planes and flying Life in the forces took him many places from Vancouver, Rabat, Morocco, Trenton, North Bay, Cold Lake, AB, Marville, France, and finally Camp Borden, ON. Dad choose to leave the Air Force as they were combining all branches. Dad did not want to be part of that – he was an Air Force man only.
While stationed in France, he trained to become a projectionist.
In 1971, we left Camp Borden and moved to Newmarket, where, as a civilian, Dad began his career with GE Medical systems. He also worked a second job as a projectionist. In 1982, Dad was transferred by GE to Edmonton where he opened a new branch office. In 1984 we returned to Brampton where dad worked solely as a projectionist for Cineplex Odeon until his retirement in 1995.
In summing up Dad’s life I keep coming back to one thought – Never will you know a man who so faithfully lived his values.
Dad was a great influence in our lives; he was our guide, and our dance teacher. He was the greatest giver of advice even though we didn’t always want to hear it. Dad was the giver of hugs, strong in body, spirit, and commitment. He taught us responsibility and to understand the value of a dollar and the importance of saving. He also taught us never to give up. He was generous with his time and spirit. He loved a good joke, loved to laugh, loved music, and loved to dance.
Russell Crump loved life.
The United Church Women
Our Purpose is: To unite the women of the congregation for the total mission of the church and to be a means by which we may express our loyalty and devotion to Jesus Christ, in Christian witness, study, fellowship and service.
The first meeting of the Fall season was held on Thursday, September 8th. The thirteen U. C. W. members present were welcomed back after a long and lovely warm and restful summer. We enjoyed a pot luck luncheon followed by a business meeting. Special luncheon guests were Donna and Rev. Jeff.
On Wednesday, October 5th eight ladies from St. Bart`s made the trek to Caledon East for the annual Toronto Conference Togetherness Day. What a lovely drive on a beautiful sunny fall day. First hymn on the program was “This is the Day that the Lord has made“. How very appropriate.
This event is always amazing with lots of singing, devotion, guest speakers and of course a great lunch. Our Keynote speaker was Gail Grant who along with her daughter climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. When first approached by her daughter to have a mom and daughter time together, Gail suggested a spa day or a maybe wine tasting trip. However the climb became a reality. Gail did say that there were moments that she would have preferred the spa or wine tasting. What an amazing 9 day adventure for these women. Bravo.
The entertainment for the afternoon was the “New Direction“. This is a group of women from Emmanuel United Church who get together to share their love of music. We are already looking forward to next year.
The Amazing Rummage Sale was held on Friday, October 14th and Saturday, October 15th. It amazes me that we can realize $ 1428 from all your generous donations. Our sincere thank you goes out to all who so generously gave their time at this big event.
Refreshments were served following the Saturday, October 22nd. Anniversary Gala performance by Houston McPherson.
Our November 10th meeting will be held at Southbrook. There are five retired UCW members in residence as well as two other St. Bart`s members. The folks at Southbrook have a room set aside for us and will provide the tea, coffee and refreshments. The meeting will be a friendly social gathering with a bit of business, devotion and maybe a few stories and songs. We are looking forward to this gathering.
STUFFY will be around for the month of November. Stuffy is a joint UCW and Outreach project for the Children’s Aid. He will be hungry after hibernating in my basement for the past eleven months. Be prepared to feed him.
We will be joining other United Church Women’s units at Emmanuel United Church on Wednesday, November 23rd. for the South West Presbyterial. This is always a great day to gather for devotion, hymn sings, guest speakers, fun and fellowship.
We are looking forward to seeing you on Saturday, December 3rd at our Christmas Bazaar. We are renowned in Brampton for having the “Best Lunch in Town”. There will be a wonderful selection of gifts at the Nearly New Table as well as delicious baking for your holiday needs.
Our U. C. W. meets on the second Thursday of the month in Balsdon Hall at 1:30 p.m. All women of the congregation are invited to join us for any or all of our meetings.
We thank you, the congregation for your continued support of our United Church Women.
U.C. W. Benediction: Go gladly into the world. Be filled with the love of God. Dance to the song of the Spirit. Befriend Christ in each new day.
Respectfully submitted by: Yvonne Murray, President
Your Outreach Dollars at Work
Occasionally Outreach makes a donation in response to a specific request from a charitable organization not previously supported. This is always a prayerful decision – having faith that we have chosen wisely.
Such was the case last year when we received a letter from Wigwamem Incorporated. Prior to receipt of that communication, none of our members had heard of this organization. Through follow-up research we learned that in fact it is Ontario’s oldest and largest urban Aboriginal housing provider, a non-profit and charitable organization based in Toronto. It had been chosen to purchase the larger of two Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Athletes’ Village residences. A momentous undertaking indeed…
They were asking for donations to assist in converting the building’s dorm-type layouts to apartments, constructing the kitchen areas, and applying the final finishes. Other costs would include appliances, cabling for internet and phone services, contracts for fire alarm monitoring and HVAC systems maintenance.
We felt this was a project worthy of our support.
During a recent telephone conversation with Angus Palmer, General Manager, we learned how the project is progressing.
On April 22, 2016, Wigwamen took possession of the 145 unit apartment building at 75 Cooperage Street (near the Front St. /Cherry St intersection at the foot of the Don Valley Parkway). By mid-June the building was ready to welcome applicants who had been approved for tenancy.
Ninety-seven of the 145 units were occupied over the next six weeks.
Through a partnership with March of Dimes Canada (MODC), 25 units were allocated to their clients. Many of these tenants have complex health issues, and a majority of them are either paraplegic or quadriplegic. MODC provides support on a 24/7 basis to allow these individuals to live in as normal and independent an environment as possible.
Through a partnership with Accommodation, Information and Support (AIS), 15 units were assigned to people with mental health challenges. They, too, provide services to their tenants within the building.
The third partnership is with Sport Canada. Fifteen units have been allocated to low-income amateur athletes as a legacy of the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. Thus far, they’ve housed athletes involved in wheelchair basketball, wheelchair volleyball, wheelchair rugby, volleyball, beach volleyball, and sailing.
The remaining 90 units were designated for households of Aboriginal ancestry. Many of these tenants are now experiencing their first opportunity at having clean, safe and secure housing, and their appreciation for the living environment here is evident.
All but 11 units are now occupied, with tenants expected to move into those in November.
As this affordable housing project has become occupied, so too have the other buildings around it. Fred Victor’s affordable housing to the north, the George Brown College Residence to the west, and the Canary District condominium buildings to the south and east are now at near-capacity as well. The neighbourhood is a quiet and peaceful one – a great area for walking, biking, and exploring in a wheelchair. There is a brand new YMCA just two buildings to the west, and the beautiful 18-acre Corktown Common two blocks to the east. The neighbourhood was designed to be wheelchair-friendly, and that, together with the building accessibility features, have really made a difference in the lives of many of the tenants who have disabilities.
All 145 units are affordable housing units. In addition to Wigwamen’s commitment to keep rents at 80% of the average market rent, 21 units receive a rent-geared-to-income subsidy, while the remainder receive a housing allowance of either $250 or $400. This results in some of the most affordable rents in the City of Toronto, while also providing top quality, healthy and secure housing.
Wigwamen, along with its partnership with MODC, AIS and Sports Canada, has thus made another contribution to alleviating the affordable housing shortage crisis in the city of Toronto.
A TIP OF THE HAT to our gifted Director of Music, Dorean Boss, for a fun filled evening of entertainment on Saturday, October 22nd. As part of St. Bart’s Anniversary weekend, and as a fund raiser, Dorean arranged for the talented impressionist, Houston McPherson, to bring his one man show to St. Bart’s. We experienced a toe-tapping, laugh filled, performance by this very talented man as he easily slipped from one well known singer/actor to another. Many thanks go to Dorean, and all the helpers who made this event happen.
*************Smiling is infectious. You catch it like the flu. Someone smiled at me today, and I started smiling too.*************Unknown
Ever felt befuddled by all the hustle and bustle of Toronto Pearson International Airport? St. Bart’s own Terry Owen is a member of The Welcome Team at Pearson. Terry, along with many other volunteers, work four hour shifts helping passengers find check-in counters, washrooms, Boarding Gates, etc.; Welcome Team volunteers can be spotted wearing blue vests. The next time you need help at the airport look for Terry & his teammates.
All human life can be found in an airport. * David Walliams