2014 Advent Kick-Off

fort elgin xmas bbq 2014The Advent season is upon us already. We are kicking things off with a community Potluck & BBQ are Fort Elgin on Sat Nov 29th at 5pm. For more info or directions contact Matt “thompsmr[at]gmail.com”

On Sunday Nov 30th, at 6pm we will be starting our Gathering series entitled Advent: Past / Present / Future.

Triangle Advent Poster copy

True City Covenant Gathering

TRUE City + Commons = AwesomeThe Commons’ True City Covenant Gathering – Sun Nov 23rd, 6pm
Upper Floor of 30 Wilson Street

This Sunday we will be celebrating The Commons officially joining the True City Church Network in Hamilton.

What we now call TrueCity grew out of a shared conviction and a shared dream—a conviction that churches have a unique role to play in seeing transformation come to their neighbourhoods and this city.  A dream of churches connecting in ways that allow them to learn from each other and collaborate so that they grow stronger as local congregations even as they bless their neighbourhoods and this city.  It is a dream of partnership in the gospel. http://truecityhamilton.ca/about/history/

Come on out to hear stories about how The Commons & True City have intersected in the past and to see people from churches across the city join together to show that no matter how different all our unique little communities are, we are all still part of the same kingdom of God.

Please note that there will be no official children’s program for this gathering, but kids are welcome to come (we don’t mind if they make noise), if they need to stretch their legs we will have a play area set up.

Sabbath – Supper Club Recap

The Supper Club 2014-2015On Monday October 3rd we had our 2nd Supper Club. We ate delicious Sweet Potato Soup, Veggies with Hummus, Spanish Rice, Salad and Apple Crisp (mmm, mmm, good!). Followed by Jill Weber from GOHOP talking to us about Sabbath.

Sabbath is the practice of taking one day a week as a time of rest. Jill shared her notes with me so I could post the quotes she used and to reiterate some of her thoughts.

Sabbath Quotes:

“If we do not allow for a rhythm of rest in our overly busy lives, illness becomes our Sabbath— our pneumonia, our cancer, our heart attack, our accidents create Sabbath for us.” - from Wayne Muller’s book Sabbath

The-Sacred-Year“No wonder so many of us live such frenetic, stressed- out lives— it’s hard to ever stop and rest, ever to be at peace when we think failure is constantly threatening, with the weight of nonbeing always clutching us about our legs and dragging us down. We must constantly toil. Toil or drown. There’s always something more we should be doing, something someone else is doing if we aren’t.” – Michael Yankoski – The Sacred Year

“One thing this Sacred Year is beginning to show me is how each of these spiritual practices can work like an antidote to some of the more poisonous aspects of our culture today. They are refreshing and life giving, whereas so often the habits and methods I’ve developed in my frenzied, stressed- out life are deadly poisons.”  Michael Yankoski – The Sacred Year

“What an amazing thing it would be to have the rhythms of your life regularly usher you into such deep trust that you could actually rest from it all.” Ruth Haley Barton -  Sacred Rhythms

“The day itself is set apart, devoted completely to rest, worship and delighting in God, but the rest of the week must be lived in such a way as to make sabbath possible. Paid work needs to be contained to five days of the week. Household chores, shopping and errand- running need to be complete before the sabbath comes, or they must wait.” Ruth Haley Barton -  Sacred Rhythms

“The point of the sabbath is to honor our need for a sane rhythm of work and rest. It is to honor the body’s need for rest, the spirit’s need for replenishment and the soul’s need to delight itself in God for God’s own sake. It begins with a willingness to acknowledge the limits of our humanness and take steps to live more graciously within the order of things.” Ruth Haley Barton -  Sacred Rhythms

“I live within physical limits of time and space and bodily limits of strength and energy. There are limits to my capacities relationally, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.” Ruth Haley Barton -  Sacred Rhythms

“If we dig down a little deeper, we may see that our unwillingness to practice sabbath is really an unwillingness to live within the limits of our humanity, to honor our finiteness. We cling to some sense that we are indispensable and that the world cannot go on without us even for a day. Or we feel that certain tasks and activities are more significant than the delights that God is wanting to share with us. This is a grandiosity that we indulge to our own peril.” Ruth Haley Barton -  Sacred Rhythms

How to Begin:

“First, the heart of sabbath is that we cease our work so that we can rest and delight in God and God’s good gifts. Everything we might choose to do or not to do needs to somehow fit into these purposes. Second, it is important to establish a regular rhythm if at all possible.” Ruth Haley Barton -  Sacred Rhythms

“I am different on the sabbath. We all are. We move more slowly. We are more available to each other in terms of our time and also in terms of our attention and spirit. We are much more in touch with the softer, more vulnerable part of ourselves, because we’re not pushing so hard.” Ruth Haley Barton -  Sacred Rhythms

“All these things— wristwatches, smartphones, credit cards, cash— go into our “Sabbath box,” a simple mash- up I made not long ago out of scrap pieces of pallet wood. They won’t be allowed out until Sabbath is over”- Michael Yankoski – The Sacred Year

Jill WeberJill suggest some things to exclude from our Sabbath Day:

  • Work
  • Commerce
  • Worry

She also said that our Sabbath Day should Include

  • Whatever delights and replenishes you
  • Resting the body
  • Replenishing the spirit
  • Restoring the soul
  • True Re-Creation vs Entertainment

One of the rules Jill suggested for sorting out between Sabbath activities vs the rest of the week was “Is it a Get To or a Half To?” If it is a “Get To” it sounds like it is in the spirit of the Sabbath.

Jill challenged us to each make a list of 10 Re-Creational sabbath activities, and to try and take one day over the next month to practice a sabbath.

Good luck everyone with your Oct Supper Club Assignment. Feel free to share your Sabbath lists on the Supper Club Facebook Group.



The Human Spirit.

1920257_10201420452225352_933740892_nI may have shed a tear tonight as I watched a six year old boy donate $20.00 to the Ancaster Food Drive at a fundraiser I was at. What made my heart smile and this donation even more special was that this young boy was from a family that was on Ontario Works. I never judge people by their appearance but looking at this family I knew that they could have used that $20.00. This young child’s mom said that she was on assistance but she had a little extra money right now and she wanted to help. They had taken a long bus ride from Stoney Creek to Ancaster.   So… she had her son come over to the table I was sitting at to donate the money. It was such a humbling experience for me.

I don’t think that boy will know how much it touched my heart that he and his family did this. How is it that this young child of six and his mother can be so generous while the big corporation and those running it are complaining that their profits are down as they gain more wealth? This picture somehow seems so wrong. It’s like Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 4 that there are two classes of people the rich and the poor. Those who have and those who have not. I’m always amazed by people’s generosity. It’s nice to know that people care. Another humbling moment that took place for me was when a Hamilton Tiger Cat football player thanked me for coming out tonight to support the cause because when he was growing up in Cincinatti his mother had to use the food bank in order to feed him and his brother so he knows how it feels. I told him I had been helping the Ancaster Food Drive for years. He told me not to stop because you never know what can happen.

1920587_10201420497986496_1569466726_nThe Ancaster Food Drive is held every February to support Food Banks in Hamilton at a time when donations have slowed down yet the demand for food is still high. This is a crucial event which will help food banks keep their shelves full through to the Spring. Since the beginning of the Food Drive 23 years ago, over 1.2 million pounds of food has been collected with the 2014 Food Drive collecting 75,000 pounds of food and $6500.00.

I would imagine that going to a food bank is not an easy thing for anyone. It must take courage and humility to sign up for help of this kind. Very often, the generous spirit of giving is in our hearts, but it can be difficult to know when, where, and how we can help others in need.

Peace Pies & Prophets – Thur Oct 30th, 7pm

Peace Pies & Prophets – Be there or be square (cause pies are round)

  • Time: Thursday at 7pm
  • Location: Hamilton Mennonite Church (143 Lower Horning Rd, Hamilton ON
  • Admission: FREE
  • Entrainment: a performance of I’d Like to Buy an Enemy , starring Ted Swartz and Tim Ruebke will be the main event. The show unpacks issues of justice and peace building through humorous and poignant storytelling.
  • Pie Auction: If you want to bring money to bid on some locally made pies, it will support the work of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). Perhaps a couple of us could go in to bid together and share some dessert.
  • Meet some Peacemakers: A number of members of CPT will be available to talk to about their work and peacemaking in general.
  • More Details on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/276367062551338/

Peace Pies and Prophets flyer