Celebrating Two Years as an Affirming Congregation!

This Sunday we have the opportunity to celebrate two years as an officially welcoming and affirming congregation. Some of you might wonder whether this matters, and I’m sure for some people it does not have a direct impact. We have, however, had more than one couple reach out to our congregation interested in marriage specifically because of our affirming status. Our congregation offered a space that was safe, or that fit with their own personal values and the ones they wanted associated with their marriage.

Being an affirming congregation is an intentional welcome to everyone who is a part of the LGTBQ+ community, and this matters because the church has a long history (and in many places not just history) of excluding and condemning people for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Given this context, we can’t expect anyone who isn’t part of our community already to know that we would not be the same – unless we tell them directly. And, whether or not we ourselves or people we know are a part of the LGTBQ+ community, being an affirming congregation means that we are ourselves working to become an instance of sacred community, a place where the divine in all people is not just permitted but embraced.

That’s my sermon, because on Sunday you won’t be hearing me preach! Instead, we’ll hear people from our congregation responding to the question: “What does it mean for you to be part of an affirming congregation?” I look forward to hearing the short reflections along with you.

With many blessings, Rev. Emily Gordon

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!

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

Soup, Salad and Song!

The Abundant Hospitality Committee invites you to “Soup, Salad and Song” on Sunday, April 22nd from 12:00-2:00pm in the Gymnasium.

Come and enjoy homemade soup, great music and good fellowship.  Featuring the musical talents of Martin and Frank (of Give & Go Beatle Ballads) and Miss Lily opening with acoustic guitar.

Free will offering at the door.  Leaside United Church, 822 Millwood Road, East York (416) 425-1253 | www.leasideunited.org

All Welcome!

The Awesome Sale

It might not feel like it right now, BUT the Spring AWESOME SALE is only 5 weeks away!  Remember:  It doesn’t need to be NEW to be AWESOME!  We are accepting donations of gently used goods of housewares, clothing, sports equipment, toys, books, jewelry, treasures, trinkets, cds, dvds, home decor, small appliances and electronics, pictures, lamps, shoes, purses and accessories (NO furniture).

Sale proceeds support both our local ministry and the significant outreach projects of our church.  Come and enjoy some of the best values in the GTA and a memorable shopping experience!