eSpirit Oct 22

Please note on Sunday October 22, Queen St E is closed [ Woodbine to Beach Ave] from 8 am to 2 pm for the Waterfront Marathon.

Beyond ourselves

I love it when a hymn really resonates with me – with lyrics that pulse with meaning and possibility; with a tune that lifts my spirit and helps me to soar. One such hymn from More Voices is “My Love colours outside the lines”, it is hymn that helps me to venture into those places where I’ve never been before. It speaks of change in such a positive way.

It seems to me that it is less important to fret about the changes that happen in our lives but rather focus on where we choose to put energy, as we decide how we are going to live in the midst of change. What values are going to shape us? Are we willing to try and make space for encounters with the holy?

Here are some more wonderful images from Wendy Fletcher-March in her poem “Quilt Beyond the Frame”

I expected the pattern of these years would fit

the frame built by my own design.

In the living I saw that the pieces didn’t fit

nor match, nor form the pattern of my mind.

Instead I saw the colours spilling over the edges

running into corners, and leaping over.

The design woven in the spilling formed more

living than the frame of my imagination.                                                    


Blessings, Karen

eSpirit Oct 15

Practice makes perfect?

On Sunday we will be considering the question Where have we come from ? It will be an opportunity to think about the things that we do together in community that create openings in our lives where the presence of God might be known. Such activities are known as “practices”.

Practices help to shape the formation of identity – for us that would be the exploration of our Christian identity, recognising we live in a world where there are many pathways to God. Christian practices are actions carried out in response to the life and teaching of Jesus; they focus on such things as “love your neighbour” & justice for all. They bridge the gap between thinking and doing and show how much each is related to the other.

How does this idea of “practices” help us think about — and live — the Christian life? Marcus Borg answers this question in a simple yet profound way; in these 2 statements

practice is paying attention to God

            practice is not simply something we do; rather it nourishes us

 So I invite you to think about the things that nourish you and reflect upon how God might be present in those activities.

Blessings, Karen

eSpirit Oct 8


I love this time of year with its reminders that we have so much to be thankful for. As the seasons shift we are inspired by the vibrant colours and abundant local harvest. We are also inspired by people. Please take a moment and read about Michael Etherington who will be our guest speaker this Sunday. Below is part of an article from The Star 2106/07/09 “6 Torontonians on the decisions that changed their lives” by Zoe McNight.

with gratitude, Karen

In his early 20s, Michael Etherington moved to Toronto on a whim, but was torn between the city and the North. Visiting family on Nunavut’s Rankin Inlet, he was told Inuit elder Mariano Aupilardjuk wanted to meet the young Cree man from Moosonee, Ont. 

Aupilardjuk, a fierce promoter and defender of traditional language and culture, displayed three stones and told Etherington in Inuktitut the meaning behind them: one for the old ways, one for modern life, and one for the way forward. (Aupilardjuk died in 2012 at 89.)

The elder predicted Etherington, now in his 30’s, would become a great educator. At the time, he was stocking shelves and dreaming of being a famous musician. But he was moved by the elder’s wisdom and patient countenance. Something clicked.

Etherington got serious. He went on to become an aboriginal youth worker, speaker and cultural program manager of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto. He promotes “principle-based thinking,” drawing on indigenous values and identity to address contemporary issues in an urban place.  

He has collected his own trio of symbolic items: an eagle feather, representing the struggle facing his people; a hand drum with no skin, for the gap between traditional values and modern life; a tamarack goose decoy, for the importance of land teachings. “As indigenous people, we are still vibrant,” he says. “Still resilient, still here, and still contributing.”

eSpirit Oct 1

Abundant hospitality 

The words we use are so important. The same word might mean quite different things depending on who is hearing it. We have discovered at BUC that ” radical” is such a word. One of our objectives as part of the strategic plan was articulated as “radical hospitality”. A number of folk found the word ” radical” off-putting: it did not bring to mind the kind of generous hospitality we were trying to convey.

So thanks to the input we have received, the phrase that has been suggested is “abundant hospitality”. One of the ways that we are trying to live out this abundant hospitality happens on a Sunday when we celebrate communion together and that is what we will be doing on October 1st. The table is open to all people that want to share in this special meal when we remember Jesus.

Jan Richardson describes a table where the “hospitality will be wide” and she continues with these words –

            And the table will be wide,

            And the welcome will be wide,

            God’s arms will open wide to gather us in,

            And our hearts will open wide to receive.

 May it be so,

Blessings, Karen