In the Gospel of John, Jesus often asks his followers: "What are you looking for?"
How might you respond? Are you looking for answers to questions of social justice, are you looking for a place where you can honestly explore your deepest questions, are you looking for a community where you can worship in song and prayer?
Most of us are spiritually hungry for something, but it's not always easy to say just what. On one occasion, Jesus' followers, not sure how to respond, simply asked: "Teacher, where are you staying?" And he said, "Come and see." John says the disciples "came and saw, and they remained with him the rest of that day."
As you browse this website about our faith community, I invite you to come and see and, if you wish, to remain a while.
Marilyn Zehr, lead pastor
On the last Sunday of the church liturgical year, Nov. 24, TUMC marks Eternity Sunday. There will be a special time of remembering loved ones who have passed away during the past year. All are welcome to take part.
Each Sunday, Christian Education for all ages begins at 10 a.m. Worship begins at 11 a.m., followed by coffee and conversation. If you're thinking about a visit or just looking for a way to celebrate the season more meaningfully, we'd be delighted to see you at one of these special pre-Christmas events coming up in December:
DEC. 1: First Advent service at 11 a.m.; in the evening, join us for a rollicking multi-lingual Christmas Carol Sing at 7 p.m.
DEC. 7: TUMC Sisters Annual Intergenerational Christmas Tea at 11 a.m. Girls and women of all ages are invited to enjoy an old-fashioned tea with lots of homemade goodies, conversation, carol singing and entertainment.
DEC. 8: Second Advent service at 11 a.m., followed by taking the annual "TUMC family" portrait.
DEC. 15: Third Advent service at 11 a.m. The 20s-30s Group will take a little Christmas cheer to the Kensington Gardens Long Term Care home with caroling at 2:30; then all are welcome to enjoy a Christmas Coffee House with sweets and sweet performances by groups of all ages at 5 p.m.
DEC. 22: Fourth Advent service at 11 a.m.
DEC. 24: Christmas Eve Service of Lessons and Carols: Join us for a beautiful candlelit service of scripture readings and carols at 7 p.m.
In addition, there are many special events for children and youth, by age group. Please click on "December 2013" in the calendar above for details; youth events appear highlighted in green.
See the Visitors and Upcoming Events section above for more information.
PHILIPPINES DISASTER: Mennonite Central Committee is collecting donations for relief following Typhoon Haiyan, which the Canadian government will match dollar for dollar until Dec. 9. As the scope of the devastation unfolds, MCC is increasing its response to meet crucial needs for people on the eastern side of Leyte Island and working with partners to assess next steps for relief and recovery. Area directors Dan and Jeanne Jantzi are in Cebu City, Philippines, meeting with MCC partners who have returned from affected areas and helping to shape MCC's next step. MCC has committed $200,000 to help meet urgent needs through partner agency, Church World Service (CWS), including providing emergency food and sanitation items for some 3,750 families in Dulag, Tolosa, and Tabontabon municipalities, which are south of the city of Tacloban. In addition to emergency food packages, MCC support will provide items such as bath soap; detergent; towels; pails for carrying water and dippers for bucket showers; and malongs, traditional tube skirts that can be used as a towel, sheet, clothing for men or women or a baby hammock, the Jantzis reported on Monday. Priority will be given to single-parent or child-headed households and households with pregnant or nursing mothers, children under 2, the elderly and people with disabilities. "We've seen and heard so much about Tacloban in the media. There are many other affected areas where assistance is not yet being provided," said Bruce Guenther, MCC's director of disaster response. Some 675 people were killed in Dulag and Tolosa. Almost all of the homes in Dulag were destroyed, and power and water had not been restored by Monday. Schools in Tolosa that had been identified as evacuation centers were badly hit by the typhoon. Tabontabon, while slightly farther from the coast, incurred severe damage as well and, as a small municipality,had attracted little attention from humanitarian organizations. MCC's future plans remain fluid and will be adjusted to meet the greatest needs in areas where MCC is at work. Read more here. You can give directly at the MCC Canada website or through a designated cheque in the church offering plate.
ADULT EDUCATION: Join us on the second floor at 10 a.m. Sundays this fall to reflect on "Dig In," a series exploring 13 Scripture texts that have been especially meaningful for Anabaptist/Mennonite Christians. In addition, a Newcomer's Class is meeting in the main sanctuary. All are welcome as we review where TUMC has come from, how we fit into the larger body of Mennonites/Christians, and where we are going.
ABORIGINAL JUSTICE REFLECTION: Finding the Church’s place 250 years after the Royal Proclamation.
By Peter Haresnape, TUMCer and Christian Peacemaker Teams worker
Three years ago in Algonquin territory, an elder of Barriere Lake taught me about the Three Figure Agreement wampum belt. It displays a trio of human figures; French, English and Algonquin, standing hand-in-hand beside the unmistakable form of the cross. “Some folks get angry when they see that cross” said the elder through his translator. “But I tell them why it’s there: because the Church promised to make sure that the Europeans kept their promises.”
As a Christian aiming to live and work in solidarity with the First Peoples of this land, I find it hard to ignore the Church’s history of abuse and betrayal as it collaborated with the colonial project. Discerning how to be a faithful Christian given that knowledge is a challenge.
Recently I accompanied a delegation of First Nation chiefs, elders & veterans to London (watch excellent video here), capital of my UK homeland, a city built on the spoils of Empire and cluttered with colonial mementos and monuments. A number of other Christians of both native and non-native heritage joined the delegation to mark 250 years since the Royal Proclamation of 1763 that set the stage for treaty-making. In discussions, the role of the Church in these treaties became clearer to me.
Indigenous nations had long-established forms and traditions for international treaty-making, but the British government did not adopt a consistent policy regarding treaties until the Royal Proclamation.
The Church’s significance for Indigenous negotiators can be emphasised by considering different interpretations of “treaty” — the European understanding of them as surrender of land, and the Indigenous conception as a relationship for mutual sharing of lands, technology and gifts. If a treaty is covenant, not land surrender, the spiritual dimension is
central, and the Church’s presence must have reassured negotiators that these newcomers understood what they were committing to.
Yet the dominant Euro-Canadian system continues to regard treaties as “surrender” documents. A little common sense and humility undermines this idea. Would nations sign agreements to extinguish their way of life? And what does it say about the arrogance of the colonial spirit that this racist myth persists—the idea that Indigenous peoples were willing, even eager, to abandon their heritage and trade their entire landmass for the chance to join settler society?
This wilful ignorance is more than a cultural misunderstanding. The consequences are dire and direct. Consider the officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police yelling, “Crown land belongs to the government, not to (expletive) natives”, as protectors of unsurrendered Mi’kmaq land and water were arrested at gunpoint during the recent violent confrontations over fracking in New Brunswick.
As the Church decolonises itself and works towards reconciliation and justice, it will need to adopt the role Indigenous people allotted to it in the treaties: teach Canadian society its responsibility to treaty relationship; celebrate the exciting places of learning and sharing; and stand as a continuing witness to the incomplete fulfilment of treaty obligations by the state called Canada.
Perhaps followers of Christ can find our place on that wampum belt again.