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Current Offerings

Telling the Story 2013-14
Lenten Bible Study
Contemplating Creation - A Lenten Journey in Prayer
An Evening with John Ralston Saul - A Fair Country:  Truth or Tall Tale?
Redeemer Readers 2013-14

Telling the Story 2013-14

Hebrew Scripture

Our successful Telling the Story series continues again this year with The Wisdom Literature and the Writings in the Hebrew Bible.  This monthly series will offer a combination of biblical reflection, story-telling and song as together we explore what these texts have to say to us in our context.  Details about each evening will be updated on this website, and through eNews and the church bulletin, as we finalize the information.

The Book of Ruth

Save the date - Tuesday, May 20, with Professor Ruby Newman.

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Lenten Bible Study

Bible

Redeemer's regular Monday night Bible study group is extending an invitation to everyone who is interested in making Bible reading part of their Lenten discipline.  Please join us for this six week study beginning on March 3 at 7 PM and continuing every Monday (March 10, 17, 24, 31) until April 7.  Each week, we'll look together at the lessons for the coming Sunday.  We'll read them aloud and then discuss them, focussing on key words and phrases that we see in the text and also on how the four readings interrelate.  We will meet from 7-8.30 PM in the boardroom on the lower level.  Dr. Abigail Young will be leading this series, so please get in touch with her (abigail.young@utoronto.ca) if you'd like to participate so that she  can email you  a copy of the readings.

The readings in Lent are very diverse.  With the exception of the first Sunday (whose readings focus on the traditional themes of temptation and fall), we can see one or two themes running through the lections.  The Holy Spirit is very important in these readings, as a source of vision, transformation, and discipleship.  As we read the passages together, we will look for the work of the Spirit reflected in the Lent story and consider its impact on our story of discipleship in the present day.

Please mark your calendar and set aside time to participate in this study as we journey through Lent toward Holy Week.

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Contemplating Creation - A Lenten Journey in Prayer

"All the earth is filled with your glory." Isaiah 6:3

One of the exciting things about being part of a parish community like Redeemer is the vast diversity of its members.  Amid this diversity there are also significant similarities, primary among them being the shared experience of a call to deepen our relationship with God through prayer.

This year in Lent, the Redeemer community is invited once again to explore our experience and our practice of prayer.  In this four-week journey into prayer, we will learn about, and practice, a variety of prayer forms that have been a part of Christian experience throughout the ages.  Some of the forms we will explore are centering prayer, meditative reading (lectio divina), the Ignatian "Examen of consciousness," journaling, and praying through chant and song.  In each session there will be an opportunity to share our questions and to reflect on our experience. 

Earth from Space We will come to prayer in the context of God’s ongoing creation.  We will move prayerfully into the story of the cosmos, and contemplate the majesty and vulnerability of our world.  We will welcome the presence and listen for the call of our ever-creating God, attending to the ways that prayer draws us more deeply into communion with the Earth.

Come join Grant Jahnke and others on this Lenten spiritual pilgrimage, beginning on Thursday, March 20 and continuing on Thursday evenings through April 10.  We’ll begin each evening with a light supper at 6 PM.  The sessions will begin at 6:45 and conclude at 8:15.  

This series is sponsored by Learning @ Redeemer and Creation Matters @ Redeemer.  For more information contact Grant Jahnke through redeemer@theredeemer.ca.  Please register online or by calling the church office at 416-922-4948.

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An Evening with John Ralston Saul - A Fair Country:  Truth or Tall Tale?

In this startlingly original vision of Canada, thinker John Ralston Saul unveils three founding myths.  Saul argues that the famous “peace, order, and good government” that supposedly defines Canada is a distortion of the country’s true nature.  Every single document before the BNA Act, he points out, used the phrase “peace, welfare, and good government,” demonstrating that the well-being of its citizenry was paramount.

He also argues that Canada is a Métis nation, heavily influenced and shaped by aboriginal ideas:  egalitarianism, a proper balance between individual and group, and a penchant for negotiation over violence are all aboriginal values that Canada absorbed.  Another obstacle to progress, Saul argues, is that Canada has an increasingly ineffective elite, a colonial non-intellectual business elite that doesn’t believe in Canada.  It is critical that we recognize these aspects of the country in order to rethink its future.

A Fair Country Book Jacket

JOSEPH BOYDEN wrote:  "John Ralston Saul's A Fair Country is an intellectually engaging effort to reframe our view of the relationship between aboriginal peoples and Canadians who have arrived (or been born to migrants) over the past four centuries.  Saul's reading of history suggests that a more respectful, even egalitarian relationship existed between aboriginal peoples and European newcomers during the first couple of centuries before the period of de facto cultural genocide from which we are now only haltingly emerging.”

Our discussion begins on Wednesday, April 30 at 7 PM.  Admission is free, and all are welcome.

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Redeemer Readers (2013-14)

Redeemer Readers is Church of the Redeemer’s Book Club.  The group will meet this year on five Thursdays October 24, December 5, February 13, April 3 and May 15 – at 12 noon, for one hour, in the Board Room on the lower level.  New members are always welcome, even those who can’t make all five meetings!  If you work in the area, consider making this your lunch-time break for five days in the coming year!  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.

This year’s books are thematically linked.  We will be thinking about just what is the right path for growth in Christian maturity for our century.  What is more important, belief or faith?  Creed or spirituality?  Doctrine or experience?  Conviction or doubt?  Forms of worship, or content?  We will read five books which explore aspects of these themes.  The first two books are concerned with the doctrines and experience of baptism, starting with the early church sacrament and then exploring its importance in our own time.  After Christmas we will read some of the N-Town mystery plays which feature certain medieval doctrines promulgated to an illiterate society by dramatic re-enactments of biblical (and apocryphal) episodes.  Alongside them, we will read Martin Marty’s biography of Martin Luther, who took on the Catholic hierarchy over doctrine but who was himself deeply exercised about his own spiritual experience.  During Lent we will read Kathleen Norris’s Cloister Walk, a book about a married Protestant woman’s experience of Catholic monastic life, a book which was on the New York Times Bestseller List for over twenty weeks and has become something of a classic.  Finally, we will read Graham Greene’s delightful novel, Monsignor Quixote(1982), a modern riff on the Cervantes classic, and a moving exploration not only of belief and faith, but also of the importance of doubt in the Christian life.

Oct 24, 2013

Font of Life Book Jacket

 

Garry Wills, Font of Life. Oxford University Press, 2012. 208 pp. About $16 hardcover, $10.50 e-book.

No two men were more influential in the early Church than Ambrose, the powerful Bishop of Milan, and Augustine, the philosopher from provincial Africa.  Different in background, they were also extraordinarily different in personality.  In Font of Life, Garry Wills explores the remarkable moment when their lives intersected at one of the most important, yet rarely visited, sites in the Christian world.  Hidden under the piazza of the Duomo in Milan lies part of the foundations of a fourth-century cathedral and baptistery where, at dawn on Easter of 387, Augustine and a group of people seeking baptism gathered after an all-night vigil.  Ambrose himself performed the sacrament.  This little cluster of devotees was unaware that they were creating the future of the Western church.  Ambrose would go on to forge new liturgies, new forms of church music, and new chains of churches; Augustine would return to Africa to become Bishop of Hippo and one of the most influential writers of Christianity.  Garry Wills uses the ancient baptistery to chronicle a pivotal chapter in the history of the Church, highlighting the often uncomfortable relationship between the two church fathers and exploring the mystery and meanings of the sacrament of baptism.

Discussion Questions for the October 24 Session

Timothy Radcliffe, Take the Plunge: Living Baptism and Confirmation. Bloomsbury, 2012. 289 pp. $14.50 paperback, $10 e-book.

Timothy Radcliffe holds a unique position in the modern Catholic Church.  As Master of the Dominican Order in Rome for nine years, he held one of the most senior and influential appointments the Catholic Church has on offer.  But he is a member of an Order of Preachers and is thus truly apostolic.  The order's motto consists of one word, Veritas (Truth), and it is the vigorous pursuit of intellectual and emotional truth which is the hallmark of his writing.  This new book will not disappoint his admirers.  Here, Fr Radcliffe argues that Christianity will only thrive today, overcoming the challenges of secularism and religious fundamentalism, if we rediscover the beauty of baptism.  It touches the deepest dramas of human life:  birth, growing up, falling in love, daring to give oneself to others, searching for meaning, coping with suffering and failure, and eventually death.

Discussion Questions for the December 5 Session
Summary of the Discussion of Take the Plunge

Dec 5, 2013

Take the Plunge Book Jacket

Feb 13, 2014

N-Town Mystery Plays

Five Plays from the N-Town Cycle of Mystery Plays:  Abraham and Isaac, The Parliament of Heaven and Annunciation, Christ and the Doctors, The Temptation and The Woman Taken in Adultery.  Texts are available to download here

These texts present aspects of Catholic medieval teaching on various topics and provide an interesting back-drop to Luther and the Reformation.

Martin Luther Book Jacket

Martin Marty, Martin Luther. Viking/Penguin, 2004. 200 pp. $11 paperback, $13 e-book.

Renowned historian and Lutheran pastor Martin Marty portrays the religious reformer Martin Luther as a man of conscience and courage who risked death to ignite the historic reformation of the Church.  Luther’s arguments, including his 95 theses, changed the destiny of Christendom, the shape of Christianity, and gave rise to new freedoms in church and state.  Marty explores the records left by Luther of his inner struggles and his conflicts with the Holy Roman Empire to find a man engaged in a lifelong passionate search not only for the grace of God, but also for the assurance that it was directed toward each individual.

Discussion Questions for the February 13 Session
Notes from the February 13 Session

Kathleen Norris, Cloister Walk. Riverhead Trade, repr. 2000, 416 pp. $12 paperback., e-book, $14.

Why would a married woman with a thoroughly Protestant background and often more doubt than faith be drawn to the ancient practice of monasticism, to a community of celibate men whose days are centered around a rigid schedule of prayer, work, and scripture?  This is the question that Kathleen Norris herself asks as, somewhat to her own surprise, she found herself on two extended residencies at a Benedictine monastery.  Yet upon leaving the monastery, she began to feel herself transformed, and the daily events of her life on the Great Plains - from her morning walk to her going to sleep at night - gradually took on new meaning.  Kathleen Norris takes us through a liturgical year, as she experienced it both within the monastery and outside it.  She shows us, from the rare perspective of someone who is both insider and outsider, how immersion in the cloistered world - its liturgy, its rituals, its sense of community - can impart meaning to everyday events and deepen our secular lives.

Discussion Questions for the April 3 Session

Apr 3, 2014

Cloister Walk Book Jacket

May 15, 2014

Monsignor Quixote Book Jacket

Graham Greene, Monsignor Quixote. Vintage Classics, repr. 2000, 256 pp., $10-$20 pb.new, $10-$15 e-book; used copies available from on-line sellers.

This book is described by The Spectator as Graham Greene’s “best, most absorbing, adept and effortless novel.”  Father Quixote, a parish priest in the little town of El Toboso in Spain's La Mancha province, regards himself as a descendant of Cervantes' fictional character of the same name.  One day, he helps a mysterious Italian bishop whose car has broken down.  Shortly afterwards, he is given the title of monsignor by the Pope.  Quixote embarks upon a trip through Spain in his old Seat 600 called "Rocinante" in the company of the Communist ex-mayor of El Toboso.  Quixote and his companion have all sorts of funny and moving adventures recalling those of his “ancestor's” on their way through post-Franco Spain.  Monsignor Quixote is a brilliant, gently amusing re-creation of Cervantes' masterpiece and a penetrating exploration of faith, morality and the importance of doubt.

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