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Current Offerings

Telling the Story 2016 - 2017
Prayers of the People Workshops
Redeemer Readers 2016-2017

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Telling the Story 2016-2017

What is this recurring event about?

Telling the Story is a series of informal evenings devoted to increasing our biblical literacy.  The aim of the series is to explore the biblical texts in a way which will engage the intellect and the heart of the listeners.

Each Telling the Story evening begins at 7 PM.  Tea and squares are offered to participants for a nominal donation.  Between 7 and 8:45 PM we explore the evening’s theme through music, readings, reflections and informal discussion.

The reader begins the evening with the first of the biblical passages selected.  Over the course of our time together, the readings continue, interspersed with reflections from the presenter, and musical selections that are appropriate to the message of the texts.

Who should attend?

The evening is designed to appeal to adult learners who are curious about the themes in the biblical texts.

2016-17 Series Theme

Sep 13 Genesis:  The Descent to Egypt
    Presenter:  Abigail Young
    Storyteller:  Jean Bubba
    Musician:  Michelle Rumball
Torah Fragment
Oct 11 Exodus I:  The Escape from Egypt
    Presenter:  Megan Jull
    Storyteller:  Martha Davis
    Musician:  Michelle Rumball
Nov 8 Exodus II:  Forming a Community
    Presenter:  Elyse Goldstein, Rabbi at City Shul
    Musician:  Michelle Rumball
Jan 10 Numbers:  the Desert Journey from Egypt
    Presenter:  Judith Newman
    Musician:  Michelle Rumball
Feb 14 Deuteronomy:  On the Brink of the Promised Land
    Musician:  Michelle Rumball
Mar 14 TBD

We want to keep the focus on these history narratives that are foundational for both Judaism and Christianity, letting the narratives speak for themselves, what they meant in the times they were written, and how they inspired and were used by later writers of Scripture.

Registration is open for the second evening of the series on October 11.  It helps the committee plan seating and resources if all who plan to attend take a moment to sign up online or by calling the church office at 416-922-4948.

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Prayers of the People Workshops

Strengthening Prayers of the People

A workshop for leaders of the intercessions led by Canon John Hill (Presbyter of the Diocese of Toronto, Chair of Liturgy Canada) and Diane Marshall (Registered Psychotherapist at the Institute of Family Living) on Saturday, October 1 (9 AM-1 PM).

  • What is intercession?  (What do we think we are doing?)
  • How shall we engage the people of God?
  • How shall we pray in a time of urgency and agitation?

To view/download a copy of the agenda for the morning, please click here.

Poster for Prayers of the People Workshops

Leading Prayers of the People

A workshop for leaders of the intercessions led by Susan Graham Walker and Ann Cope on Wednesday, October 12 (7-8:30 PM).

  • How do we lead the prayers at Redeemer?
  • Are there pastoral considerations to remember?
  • What resources can we use?

Registration is available online for one or both of these workshops.

To view/download a copy of our poster for these two workshops, please click here.

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Redeemer Readers 2016-2017

Redeemer Readers is Church of the Redeemer's Book Club.  The group meets at noon for one hour on five Thursdays from October to May.  New members are always welcome, even those who can't make all five meetings.  Some suggestions for availability and pricing of this year's books are included.  Prices indicated here are correct at time of writing.  Readers can, of course, pursue other options.  If new members are interested in attending any or all of the discussions, or want more information, please contact Pauline Thompson at pauline.thompson@utoronto.ca

The Costs and Complexities of Compassion: Themes of Justice, Mercy and Grace

What role does compassion have in our lives and in the institutions of justice in our country?  How central should it be in our everyday lives?  What do religions have to say?  What, specifically, does Christianity have to say?

The need to see justice done, on the one hand, and to seek revenge and punishment, on the other, seem to be basic human instincts.  What is the difference between justice and revenge?  Should all crimes and misdemeanors be punished?  Where do compassion, pardon and mercy come in?

The legacy of the “Tough on Crime” agenda of recent governments in several western countries, including Canada, has given one answer to these questions:  promote minimum sentences, expand prisons, double and triple bunk inmates, eliminate recreational and job-training programs, etc.  The emphasis here is on punishment.  Should this be the chief aim of a country’s justice system?  How is the idea of rehabilitation linked to mercy?  How can we truly achieve a “just society”?  Is “compassionate conservatism” an oxymoron?

At the individual level, we need to think about what we can do to transform our own psyches.  How do we apply the principle of loving our neighbours as ourselves in such a way as to have an impact on ourselves, our families, friends, neighbourhoods, cities, provinces and country?

Deliverance to the Captives Book Jacket
October 20, 2016

Karl Barth.  Deliverance to the Captives

(Wipf and Stock, repr. 2010), 160 pp.  Available from Amazon.ca, $26.25; from Crux Books, $34.99 special order.

These sermons were preached by Barth between August 1954 and June 1959 to prisoners in the Basel prison in Switzerland.  It was Barth’s view that, although the people he was preaching to were imprisoned for crimes they had committed, we all live in prisons of one sort or another, and are all in need of the deliverance that Jesus said he had come to bring.  They are simple, straightforward, and yet profoundly compassionate.

Just Mercy Book Jacket
December 8, 2016

Bryan Stevenson.  Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

(Spiegl and Bray, 2014), 352 pp.  Available from Indigo Books on line ($18.69), Amazon.ca ($18.32), on Kindle, Kobo and in stores.

Bryan Stevenson is the grandson of slaves, a Harvard-educated lawyer with a strong Christian heritage, who has written a remarkable book about his work in the American south.  Last year a number of American colleges and universities required their incoming freshmen to read this book before they began their studies.  It deals not only with the problems associated with the death penalty, but with the legacies of racism and poverty that afflict American society to this day.  It is about the potential for mercy to redeem us.  This book was the winner of the Carnegie Medal for non-fiction, and many other awards.

We will also take a look at two short pieces.  Copies of these will be provided.

  • Yanan Wang: “Judge goes to jail with convict” (Washington Post)
  • Seamus Heaney: “Punishment” (a poem, in North, 1975, in Selected Poems 1966-1996)
Truth and Reconciliation Report
February 9, 2017

Selections from the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
Volume One - Summary: Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future

Ca. 500 pp.  Available from Indigo on line ($16.84) and in stores.

This report is a result of a six-year investigation into the residential school system for aboriginal youth.  It tells of the history of the schools and their legacy and gives 94 recommendations for action.  This history is not well known in Canada outside the aboriginal community.  All of us need to understand what happened and gain some understanding of what true reconciliation might entail.

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life Book Jacket
March 30, 2017

Karen Armstrong.  Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life (2011).

Available from Amazon.ca ($14.47) and Indigo Books ($14.62 pb., and Kobo $14.00).

This book is a call to restore compassion to the centre of religion and morality, and to develop empathy with the sufferings of all human beings – even to love our enemies.  There is an exploration of all the great religions, including Christianity, and what they have to say about the centrality of compassion.  The book also has a lot of practical suggestions about how we might become more adept at living together in harmony.

Good to a Fault Book Jacket
May 18, 2017

Marina Endicott.  Good to a Fault.

Repr. 2013 by Anchor Books.  388 pp.  Available from Indigo Books ($15.56 pb., $14 Kobo),  Amazon ($15.40).

This is a story of how a single moment of distracted driving led Clara Purdy into the mess of another family’s life, about how she tried to help and what that helping cost her.  This novel won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was short-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.  (Endicott is the sister of a former Redeemer parishioner, Timothy Endicott, Professor of Legal Philosophy in the University of Oxford.)

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