Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Hymns & Readings Service

Although we had to cancel last week due to weather, we've decided to have our annual Christmas service on December 28.  If you are not able to join us, we're sharing our program here so that you can get a feeling for it.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Church is Cancelled December 22

Sadly, we have to cancel church today (December 22) due to weather. Please stay safe and don't travel unless you have to! Scarborough congregation has also cancelled today.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Fill the Font

As a reminder to members of Toronto congregation, we will be meeting with Scarborough congregation (10 Eppleworth Road) on Sunday, Dec. 1.
Throughout November, Scarborough congregation is having a “Fill the Font” challenge — their goal is to fill the Scarborough chapel font as high as they can with winter gear that will be distributed to people who live on the streets of Toronto.  Let's pitch in with their efforts, if we can. Our donations of good condition winter coats, boots, hats, scarves, mittens, gloves, blankets, backpacks, sleeping bags, and the like, will be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Final Service at 1443 Bathurst Street

We're sad to announce that due to additional problems with the boiler system at the 1443 Bathurst Street building, the congregation voted today (Nov. 17) to shut the system down and being the process of mothballing the building. As a result, today was our final worship service in the building. 

The following two Sundays, Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, the congregation will meet with the Scarborough congregation at their building at 10 Eppleworth Road. We will begin meeting at our temporary home in the Wychwood Library as of Dec. 8. 

Sunday Dec. 8 will also be Branch Conference, where the congregation will nominate and vote for new officers and consider and vote on the Renewal Plan proposals.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Community Wednesdays (updated to Tuesdays)

Update:  As we move out of our historic building and settle into a temporary home, we will resume Tuesday programming as of February 4, 2014.

Toronto Congregation is planning to reclaim Wednesday Tuesday nights as a time to share the Blessings of Community together alongside new friends.

1st Wednesday Tuesday of each month: Church Lecture Series
We’ll listen to presentations by scholars on topics including Restoration history, theology, philosophy, world religions, history and literary criticism of the Bible, Restoration scripture, history of Christianity, and more. Began July 3, 2013.  

2nd Wednesday Tuesday of each month: Disciple Formation
We’ll explore old and new spiritual and discipleship formation practices, including prayer, hymn singing, meditation upon the word, testimonies, sharing community exercises, and more. Begins Feb. 12, 2014.  

3rd Wednesday Tuesday of each month: Church Book Club
We’ll vote on a book to read of interest to the participating members of the club each month, then return the next month to discuss the book. Suggestions for first month: Joseph III: Pragmatic Prophet or Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith or The Journey of a People (Vol. 1) or Who Wrote the Gospels? or Q: The Earliest Gospel.  (First book to be decided in church on 9/29).  Begins Nov. 20, 2013.  

4th Wednesday Tuesday of each month: Movies that Matter
We’ll watch a movie together that has at its core a philosophical question, an exploration of ethics, or a philosophical, theological, or religious issue. Afterwards, we’ll share our thoughts on the movie, how the issue was handled, and what we think of the issue.  Begins Oct. 23, 2013. 

Upcoming Calendar of Events (Sept.–Nov.):

• September 28—Sunday: 10am Sunday School, 11am Worship Service, noon Social Hour.  1443 Bathurst Street church.

• October 2—Wednesday:  CHURCH LECTURE SERIES 7:30pm A Visual History of the Restoration (part 3) 1839–1844. 1443 Bathurst Street church.

• October 6—Sunday: 10am Prayer Circle, 11am Communion Service, noon Social Hour.  1443 Bathurst Street church.

• October 13—Sunday: 10am Sunday School, 11am Worship Service, noon Social Hour.  1443 Bathurst Street church.

• October 20—Sunday: CHURCH IN THE LIBRARY TEST 10am Sunday School, 11am Worship Service, noon Social Hour.  Wychwood Library Program Room at 1431 Bathurst Street.  We will be holding services in the library 3 buildings south of our church as a test of using the library as a temporary location during our move.  No services will be held in the church itself on the test day.

• October 23—Wednesday:  MOVIE NIGHT 6:30pm "Defending Your Life" starring Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep. 1443 Bathurst Street church.

• October 27—Sunday: GTA CONGREGATIONS AT SCARBOROUGH 10am Sunday School, 11am Worship Service, noon Social Hour.  10 Eppleworth Road church in Scarborough.  No meetings at Bathurst Street church.

• November 3—Sunday: 10am Prayer Circle, 11am Communion Service, noon Social Hour.  1443 Bathurst Street church.*

• November 6—Wednesday:  CHURCH LECTURE SERIES 7:30pm A Visual History of the Restoration (part 4) The Succession Crisis. 1443 Bathurst Street church.*

• November 10—Sunday: 10am Sunday School, 11am Worship Service, noon Social Hour.  1443 Bathurst Street church.*

• November 17—Sunday: 10am Sunday School, 11am Worship Service, noon Social Hour.  1443 Bathurst Street church.*

November 20—Wednesday:  CHURCH BOOK CLUB 7:30pm Book TBD. 1443 Bathurst Street church.*  

• November 24—Sunday: 10am Sunday School, 11am Worship Service, noon Social Hour.  1443 Bathurst Street church.*  Update: We will be meeting with the Scarborough Congregation in their building at 10 Eppleworth Road.

November 27—Wednesday:  MOVIE NIGHT 6:30pm Movie TBD. 1443 Bathurst Street church.*  

*Location may be altered, depending on move schedule.

The Rise and Fall of Old Nauvoo

On the first Wednesday of each month, Toronto Congregation hosts a series of lectures and discussions on church history, theology, philosophy, scripture study and the like. Join us Wednesday, October 2, at 7:30 pm, when John Hamer’s visual history of the Restoration will continue with Part 3: The Rise and Fall of Old Nauvoo (1839–44). Combining dozens of original maps and diagrams with historic images, this visual history brings the old story into new perspective. Everyone is welcome to attend. Please bring your friends along. Simple refreshments will be provided.

Painting of Old Nauvoo by David Hyrum Smith, son of Joseph and Emma Smith.

“A Visual History of the Restoration, Part 3: 1839–44”

After the failures of Independence, Kirtland, and Far West, Nauvoo was the final attempt by early church members to gather together and build Zion. While the city grew rapidly, Nauvoo was divided by controversial, secret practices, which led to internal rifts that prefigured the schism in the Restoration. Rumors of polygamy, alongside the practices of block-voting and abuses of the city’s charter antagonized Nauvoo’s neighbors, leading ultimately to the assassination of church founder, Joseph Smith Jr. and the abandonment of Nauvoo.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Toronto Congregation Lecture Series: The First Wednesday of Each Month

Toronto Congregation will be hosting a Lecture Series on the first Wednesday of each month at 7:30 pm.  On Wednesday, Sept. 4, John Hamer will be giving a visual presentation on early church history that will include dozens of original maps and diagrams along with historic images and photos, covering the period from 1837–44.

One of the maps from the presentation, illustrating the expulsion of the Saints from Missouri in the winter of 1838–39, following the Missouri War.

John will continue the history of the church up to the present in future months, after which visiting scholars will be invited to present on a range of topics relating to history, theology, philosophy, religious studies, scriptural studies and more.  Please join us and bring your friends!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

You Are Invited to a Celebration on Saturday, June 8, 2013

For over eighty years, the downtown Toronto congregation of Community of Christ has met in its historic home at 1443 Bathurst Street. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the dedication of the main sanctuary (services had previously been held in the gymnasium on the lower floor).

Over the years, this sacred space has nurtured generations of church members, and it remains a focal point of fond memories. We invite you to come and share your memories of 1443 Bathurst Street with us, as we celebrate the building and prepare to move the congregation to a new home.

WHERE:  In the church at 1443 Bathurst Street, Toronto, near the St. Clair West subway station.

WHEN:  1:00–3:30 pm, Saturday, June 8.

WHAT TO EXPECT:  A service in the sanctuary with speakers recounting the history of the building and the congregation, personal memories, and plans for the congregation’s future.  Following the service, we will have a reception with refreshments in the gymnasium where everyone is encouraged to gather in fellowship and share their memories.

WHAT TO BRING:  Please bring a single page (typed or hand-written) telling your own stories and memories of 1443 Bathurst Street. Include your full name and year of birth, the dates you attended the congregation, and your contact information (phone, address, e-mail).  The pages will be collected and published as part of a book that commemorates the building.

If you're on Facebook, tell us you're coming on our Evite page!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

“Continually Becoming a Covenant People” (Sermon from Feb. 24)

This is my sermon from February 24th.  I'm sharing it a day early because we don't yet have a lot (any?) other members of the congregation actively online on this site and Facebook.  If you're coming tomorrow, this is a spoiler alert: don't keep reading if you want to be surprised!

Sisters and brothers of the downtown Toronto congregation, I come before you this morning as a herald of good news. This is news that I've wanted to bring for quite a long time. A long time whose duration has stretched from months to years and more again. Most recently, on three successive occasions, our date was pushed back due to snow. But last Wednesday, February 20, Mike and I finally crossed the border with our moving truck filled with objects meticulously itemized for Immigration Canada, and officially “landed,” becoming legal Canadian residents.

In some ways, our movement from the States to Canada has paralleled our congregation's movement from this historic building to a new location. It's loomed ahead of us for many years — overlapping years — the very first time we attended this congregation a little over four years ago, there happened to be a meeting after the worship service about whether or not the building should be sold to a developer. Feelings at that meeting were running deep and strong. In part, these were connected to memory and past disagreement over previous congregational amalgamation in the GTA — something that, at the time, I had no awareness of and even now only share second-hand. But my ignorance of the specifics met my passion head on — and passion won out. I'd really enjoyed my first service here, encountering all of you, and I was worried it would be lost before I could become a part of it. I remember — that first meeting — speaking up and saying that, as a denomination, Community of Christ can't be continually closing churches; rather, we need to be continually refilling empty pews.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Moving Update

Your blogmaster (John Hamer) has been working on his move to Toronto in stages for a long, long time.  However, we crossed an enormous threshold yesterday, crossing the border with our moving truck, landing, and becoming legal residents of Canada.  I'll be giving the sermon at the congregation this Sunday, so I'll see you all there.

Meanwhile, if you're on Facebook, you can see our moving galleries here:  Day One, Day Two, Day Three.