The Universal Language of Food

In the news!

A great article from Leaside Life about the TNO – The Neighbourhood Organization and the English conversation program they offer to people new to Toronto. Many volunteers from Leaside United Church participate in this outreach program each week. 


The universal language of food

Emily’s Weekday Wonderings – April 17th, 2018

I didn’t sleep well Saturday night. I kept waking up with the wind whistling around our house. It seemed to sweep those night time spaces bare, and even though I was cosy under blankets, it felt exposed. When I woke up Sunday morning, one of my colleagues sent a text saying he was cancelling their service, and I briefly considered doing the same – but I knew that not everyone would get a message, and I couldn’t imagine how terrible it would be to trek through ice, snow, and wind only to find the church closed. So I made the long trip to the church by transit (watching as we passed someone out for a jog), and worked on coordinating messages encouraging people to stay home safe, and to cancel different things that would have been happening.

Continue reading “Emily’s Weekday Wonderings – April 17th, 2018”

Tonight’s Youth Group Meeting Cancelled

Due to the weather today on Sunday April 15th, the Leaside United Church Youth (LUCY) group meeting scheduled for this evening from 7-9:00pm has been cancelled.

Emily Pollock our assistant for the Kid’s and Youth programs will send an email out to let all know when the next meeting will take place.

Take care!

Good Morning Sunday April 15th 8:30am – Special Notice

Special Notice:


Good Morning!

Worship Service will be held this morning at 10:30am at Leaside United Church.

However, we encourage people to stay home and stay safe in this weather. Please use your best judgement in deciding whether to come to church or not.

If you can come safely we will be glad to see you, if you are more comfortable staying at home in this icy weather that is good too.

Take care,
Rev. Emily Gordon

Emily’s Weekday Wonderings – Thursday April 12, 2018

How Do We Share Who We Are in an Online World?

I don’t know how many of you watched any of CBC’s Little Mosque on the Prairie when it aired (2007-2012). One episode that I remember after all this time is from season 5 (“Loose Lips”). The Imam, Amaar, meets a member of his community and in his attempt to give advice shares personal details about Rayyan (his fiancee). As a result, Rayyan finds herself hearing details of her personal life commented on and judged by members of the town, and is understandably upset. This can be a definite challenge in ministry when there’s the tension between wanting to be relateable and open, but still to have a personal life and not overshare about other people (my family members or friends). I want you to know who I am, but not everything about me, if that makes sense.

Of course, the implications are only compounded – and for all of us, not just those of us who happen to be in ministry – when the online world is taken into account. The question of sharing and privacy has come to the fore once again, with the news of the Cambridge Analytica scandal for Facebook that came to light mid-March and Mark Zuckerberg’s testifying before Congress this week. And of course, while the misuse of Facebook data is the most prominent at the moment, it is not the only instance of issues around privacy and our increasingly online world. What about the other places that gather our data – Google and others? Continue reading “Emily’s Weekday Wonderings – Thursday April 12, 2018”

Emily’s Weekday Wondering – Wednesday April 11, 2018

On Sunday, I shared a prayer that had been written earlier in the week, called “An Aftermath Prayer” from the World in the News this Week. The prayer offered an opportunity to think about the aftermath we experience – the aftermath following Easter, once again, and the aftermath we experience again and again in our world.

After the service, several people pointed out an omission in the prayer, which did not include all those impacted by the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. This was a very good point, and a real omission. The effects of the bus crash have been felt across the country. Yesterday, as I was walking past a school, I was struck again by the flag at half mast. And we are reminded that the Crowdfunding Campaign for the families has been one of the most successful in the history of crowdfunding.

So often, when we hear of loss, we are moved by grief, and moved to give in whatever small way we can. There are so many reasons this loss has such an impact on us and on our country.

What do we do when news that we hear shatters our hearts? How do we respond when there is nothing to say, or when there is nothing to do? We share our words, our stories, our thoughts, our silence . . . So, thank you to everyone for how you respond with your hearts. And thank you to everyone who comes and talks to me about people and causes both before and after worship. Our worship is not a solitary act, but an act that we all participate in, and although my voice is heard most often, your voices, your views, your needs, your joys and sorrows all need to be present and heard as well. Come and talk to me with your thoughts, your worries, your disagreements, your insights. And, please come and talk to me if you are interested in helping to lead worship, including leading prayers (which I am happy to work with you on).

Thank you for all of your reflections. Thank you for all the ways your hearts reach out to the world.

Blessings, Rev. Emily Gordon

Emily’s Weekday Wondering – Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday April 1, 2018 –  Easter People

What a wonderful Easter celebration! We had somewhere between 250 and 300 people of all ages (from 4 months to 97 years) attend our Sunday service, which was bright with flowers and alive with music. Once again, I’d like to thank everyone who worked to make this busy weekend possible, including everyone in the choir who offered musical leadership on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, after a choir practice Thursday! There were so many people whose time, efforts, and energy made this weekend meaningful.

On Sunday, I talked about our human tendency to focus on what is missing, on what is going wrong rather than what is going right, and what is actually there. In the Easter story, the resurrection hope is represented by an empty tomb. It takes a long time for Mary of Magdala, and Peter and the other disciple, to notice anything besides the absence, what seems to be missing. Peter and the other disciple leave without really understanding what is happening, while Mary not only needs to see Jesus but also to hear him speak her name before she can move past her grief and her assumptions about what is happening and actually recognize Jesus standing in front of her. Each of the gospel writers tells a different version of this story, but for each the process of figuring out what is happening takes time.

It’s not easy for us to see the good that seems to lie hidden beneath the bare earth like a seed that has not yet begun to sprout. We can become so caught up in our grief, in our busyness, in our fear, that we miss paying attention to the hope, the good news that exists already. Often this is true as individuals, and it is certainly true as a society. It is part of the reason that despite falling crime rates, we continue to have news stories filled with crime. Despite lower rates of child abductions, our children are increasingly encouraged to fear being with strangers and not taught independence.  It is the reason we are disproportionately affected by people acting inconsiderately on the roads or on transit, because those who follow the rules, who act kindly, who take part in small acts of generosity are taken for granted, not worth noticing.

If you are scanning a typical newspaper or news site, you might find it hard to find a story of good news. There are actually a few websites or organizations specifically created to address this imbalance, by sharing good news stories from around the world. They might help us hear what else is already happening, so that our own perception of the world is not imbalanced.

Easter is not about ignoring the absences that exist in our lives – the losses, the suffering, the uncertainty… but it is about saying that these absences are not the final word. God’s love is present in the midst of these seeming absences. Hope and new life are breaking forth in unexpected places. As “Easter people” we have the task of paying attention to all of life, and nurturing the seeds of possibility that are already taking root.

Blessings, Rev. Emily Gordon