Love, Service, Spirituality

2016 10-12

Leading Prayers Workshop


Every week we pray together in worship. Why? What is praying together about? What might we think about when writing these prayers? If you are interested in any of these questions, come to the Leading Prayers Workshop on Saturday October 29th at 10am, led by our minister Emily Gordon in the Sanctuary! You are welcome to come regardless of your understanding (or lack of understanding) of prayer.


2016 10-24

Awesome Sale Outreach Update


2016 has been a record year for our church’s Awesome Sales. The May total reached an individual sale’s record of over $32 000 and the recent October 14th and 15th sales amount was over $25 500. This brings the 21-year Awesome Sales’ total to about $725 500.

This year, two Furniture-only Sales were held. The need for these has been created because of the closing of the Goodwill stores, the demographics that generate more downsizing and the reputation of our Awesome Sales.

As many of you know, in recent years, Leaside United Church has designated for Outreach work, 25% of the Awesome Sale revenue.

These sales would not be possible without the steadfast belief, commitment and hard work of many people. We are grateful for the many donors, the personable sales persons and hard-working clean-up team. As well, a significant number of the volunteers that are not members of our church but believe in the stewardship, fellowship, fun and fitness represented by the Awesome Sale experience.

Again, year-round efforts are required by a group of very dedicated folks who call themselves, “the Rag-pickers”. Many times a year (mostly Friday mornings), These special folk meet to sort, clean, fold, package and store all the saleable goods for the 13 departments. These people play a vital role in the success of our Sales.

We are fortunate to have Kim Morgan as our new church custodian. He has been pleasant and very helpful with the endless number of extra tasks generated by the Awesome Sales. Also, it was very special to have Brian Sheepwash return to help for two days.

We extend a sincere “Thank You” to all who continue to make Leaside’s Awesome Sales, truly “Miracles on Millwood”!!!



Special Outreach News

As many know, our church has sponsored two Syrian refugee families. It is our hope that one of them shall arrive by Christmas. We are fortunate that we are able to communicate with one family and all of us are learning to be patient.

In the meantime, we are helping other new refugee families resettling in Canada. They have been identified by the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office (TNO). Leaside United Church has been able to give them much-needed household items and furniture, generated by donations to our Awesome Sale. The Outreach Committee had approved a $500 “shopping budget” to purchase these things. As a result, the needed items are being shipped to two very grateful families in need. During the summer, this also happened. It is truly a Win-Win-Win situation!!!

Also, the Outreach Committee has approved a very special refugee support project. A refugee family of seven is being sponsored by a group of 5 Alberta families in Calgary. Both parents and children are attending school. They are steadily adjusting to life in Canada after spending 20 years in a refugee camp where their 5 children were born.

The family lives on a very basic monthly support.

Because they’re not Syrian refugees, the federal government does not pay their travel/medical fees of about $10 000. This loan weighs very heavily on the family. We hope that our fundraising shall reduce this burden.

In Alberta, living conditions are quite tough with huge job, money and morale issues. As a result, the following special project was approved by both the Outreach Committee and by the LUC Council.

It is noteworthy that:
1. a fund named the “Alberta Refugee Fund” is set up.
2. the Outreach Committee is contributing $1 000.
3. there people wishing to donate now the fund is set up.
4. it is hoped that at least $5000 could be raised by the deadline date of Monday, November 21st 2016. This is a very short time period so that it shall not interfere with the Annual Stewardship Campaign.
5. Cheques may be made out to “Leaside United Church” – Memo line: “Alberta Refugee Fund” and mailed / delivered to the church at 822 Millwood Rd., Toronto, ON M4G 1W4. All donors shall receive a tax receipt.

Our church has a wonderful legacy of refugee support and “helping those in need”.

Thank you for your consideration of supporting this special outreach project.
Bob and Lis Lister, Co-Chairs, LUC Community Refugee Resettlement Committee (LUCCRRC)

2016 10-21

Sunday Smiles!

Thank you Lis Lister for this wonderful compilation of “smiles” from last Sunday’s service!

Do you have a favourite bible verse, inspirational quote, pictures of a church function or informative videos you would like to share on the website? Send me your pictures, web links, thoughts or ideas to

Thank you!

Michele Petick, Webmaster Leaside United Church.



2016 10-20

Don’t Miss our Guest Preacher!

This Sunday at Leaside United Church

our Guest Preacher is our own …

Reverend Rob Oliphant, M. Div, D.Min and MP for Don Valley West.

Please join us Sunday October 23rd, 2016 at 10:30am to hear

Rev. Rob Oliphant preach.



Volunteers + Bargains + Outreach = AWESOME

Our Fall Awesome Sale 2016 by the Numbers:

  • 70 Volunteers

  • 500 Shoppers

  • 3 Tons of donated goods

  • $25,000 Raised

  • 6 Hours open or 3,600 minutes

  • $6.94 Raised per minute of the sale

  • 2 Full truckloads of donated goods post-sale to Habitat for Humanity and the Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy

The Volunteers



The Bargains



The Outreach




A heartfelt thanks to all of our dedicated volunteers, all of the amazing patient and enthusiastic shoppers and to all of those who generously donated valuable goods from your own homes.


2016 10-18

Refugee Resettlement Update


Refugee Resettlement at Leaside United Church

October 18, 2016

The members of Leaside United Church Community Refugee Resettlement Committee (LUCCRRC), and all church members are learning patience as we wait prepared for the arrival of two Syrian families.

Both sponsored Syrian refugee families have 5 persons.

One family is currently in Kuwait. There are three wonderful young boys and a mom and dad. The father is employed as a translator and is teaching English to his family. They are excitedly waiting for final approval to come to Canada. We have been able to SKYPE twice and have developed a relationship with them.

The second family, with a mom, 3 adult children and an older teen, has greater challenges. Currently, where they reside in Iraq is not near any Canadian Visa Office. So, arranging an interview is a major, on-going challenge. However, help and hope are offered through sponsored, private English tutoring from time-to-time.

During the “waiting period”, Leaside United Church has been able to help other arrived refugee families with needed, practical items. These groups have been identified by other sponsoring churches or by refugee resettlement workers.

We continue to have hope and faith that at least one of our families shall be safely in Canada by Christmas.

Respectfully submitted by,
Bob and Lis Lister

2016 10-13

Emily on Vacation and Study Leave

Emily will be on vacation from Oct. 14-20 and study leave Oct. 21-27

If you have a pastoral care concern between Oct 14 and 20, please contact Jean-Marie at or 647-896-0241.

If you have a pastoral care concern between Oct 21 and 27, please call or text me at 647-303-6709.

If you are interested in baptism, I will be in touch on Oct 28 about setting up a meeting. Our next baptism service is Nov. 27.

If you have any urgent questions, please contact our church office (416) 425-1253 or Otherwise, I will respond to your email when I return on Oct 28 or soon after.

While on study leave, I can be reached about deaths or hospitalization, through my work cell phone or email. During my study leave I will be attending the workshops and events on Ministry with Millenials that I have been part of the presbytery planning team for. I will also be attending the Toronto Preaching Festival. I look forward to sharing what I learn when I return.

Blessings, Emily


2016 10-12

Mindfulness and Care of the Soul

Saturday, November 19th


A mini-retreat day of Mindfulness Practices, to de-stress, re-fresh, re-charge, re-new creativities and energies and inspiration for the tasks and projects you lead and work on, as you seek to care for your own and others’ souls and lives.  Offered by Lucy Burke, one of our Spirit Alive leaders.  Our venue is a beautiful monastery and garden setting tucked away in North York.  Suitable for all – from seasoned practitioners, to complete beginners.  For more information and registration, go to the website of Church of the Redeemer, click here, who are coordinating booking.

Emily’s Weekday Wondering

Wednesday October 12, 2016

I am sure you will be shocked to hear that the subject of our Thanksgiving Sunday was: Thanksgiving! Why talk about gratitude? Here are some further reflections – all new for those who were here Sunday.

A couple of years ago in the United Church Observer, Mardi Tindal wrote a good article on gratitude as a spiritual practice ( She points out that there is scientific research to support the benefits of gratitude as well as deep roots in many spiritual traditions.

As a part of the Adult Faith Exploration group that I am leading this year, I am encouraging participants to keep a gratitude journal – and regularly write 5 things they are grateful for (either daily, several times a week, or weekly). Of course, I am trying to do this as well. Whether or not you are part of the Adult Faith Exploration group I invite you to join us in this spiritual practice over the coming year.

Am I good at writing in my gratitude journal regularly? Well, so far (since we started September 30th) the answer is no. Often I feel too busy, or forget that the week has come around (my goal is to write down 5 things I am grateful for every Sunday)… but even though I am inconsistent it still feels meaningful. In fact, it’s the next thing I am going to do today – only two days late!

PS – Did you know that the word “thinking” and “thanking” have the same roots? There’s an interesting TEDx Talk about the role of gratitude in learning – a topic that connects to education, but perhaps also our faith:

Emily’s Weekday Wonderings

October 7, 2016


Last week I learned of a special service at Northlea United Church last Sunday in the afternoon – the covenanting service with Lee-Ann Ahlstrom, who began her ministry with Northlea at the start of July. Not wearing robes and leading worship I was able to fade into the background during the service, enjoying the feeling of singing hymns with the congregation around me, and listening to a moving sermon by Rev. Norm Seli on the longing we experience for the sacred, and how turning to God turns us in new directions. He encouraged us to let go of guilt and blame and fear, and instead to see where new possibilities take us.

Of course, I thought of my own covenanting service on May 15th – which feels like a long time ago! I remember that feeling of beginning something new, taking risks together. We shared symbols: Bible, bread & wine, the youth group talking stick, a basin & towel, and a pitcher of water for baptism. We shared communion, that bread broken and shared out among us, reminding us of the connection that pulls us together. We shared promises to support each other, and to work together. We shared possibility, and expectation, and probably some nerves as well. And it was wonderful.

You may have noticed new things, or old familiar things, different approaches and directions… I warned you that I won’t be the same as John Smith or David MacDonald. I have said that I will listen to you, whether or not you agree with me or are happy with choices that I make, I have said that I will care for you, whether or not you feel like you know me well or we have much still to learn about each other. I have said I would encourage you and challenge you. So, talk with me. Reach out to me. Disagree with me. Together let’s see how turning again and again to God turns us in a new direction, to new possibilities but always as a caring community.

2016 10-05

Emily’s Weekday Wonderings

October 5, 2016

Baptism: Baby BoyOn Sunday we celebrated a baptism. Whenever there is a baptism, we all take part in a renewal of commitments. Those being baptized, or the parents and guardians if the children are not old enough to make the decision for themselves, express faith in God and commitment to the life-long journey of exploring out faith – from asking questions and reflecting deeply, to striving to live with compassion, justice, and love in the world. As a community of faith, we also make promise to join the family in this exploration of faith, the ongoing work of living meaningful, and in valuing the importance of the gathered community, connecting and supporting one another. In baptism, we become part of that vision of hope and love that inspires us to be most truly ourselves, to live most fully in the world, and to love without bounds knowing that the love that surrounds us is unceasing.

If you (or someone you know) are thinking about baptism, we will have another baptism service on November 27th. Please contact me by the end of October so that we can arrange times to meet in November. For everyone else, note November 27th on your calendar and join us for this sacred celebration!

2016 10-04

Leaside and Presteign-Woodbine Update



Five Key Points from the Sept. 30, 2016 Steering Committee Meeting about the coming together of Leaside United and Presteign-Woodbine United:


1. The Steering Committee will be asking four teams from Leaside United and Presteign-Woodbine Churches to meet jointly in October/November about: Finance, Property, Worship, Communications, and Welcoming & Engagement, working together to provide three to five ideas/or directions of what our amalgamated church will look like after “coming together” in the future. This is to help set directions about what we would like to do together.

2. We will be drafting a short agreement which will come to each of the Councils by Nov 16th and then it will go to the PW lunch n’ learn and the LUC congregation meetings on Nov 20th. Then there will be a final vote of both congregations on Nov. 27th.

3. We will be working with presbytery representatives towards coming together.

4. The LUC Pastoral Care and PW Visitation teams will plan to meet together in order to ensure that all individual congregation member needs are being met.

5. Members of both congregations will continue to be invited to attend committees, groups and/or any events that are of interest to them in order for people to get to know each other. The emphasis is on open communications and improved understanding.

Visit Presteign-Woodbine United Church online here: click to go to the website

The Book Circle


The next meeting of the Leaside United Church Book Circle will take place on Sunday morning, October 23, starting at 9:15 am. The book for discussion on this occasion is “The Bible: A Biography” by Karen Armstrong.

The Book Circle will be discussing this book over two sessions – with the discussion on October 23 being focused on the first four chapters of the book.

Everyone is welcome to join the discussion at the Book Circle.