Sunday, March 27, 2011
This gathering of MP candidates for the riding of Oak Ridges-Markham is sponsored by the Stouffville Ministerial Association (representing Stouffville churches). It will be an information forum to hear where MP candidates stand on issues of concern to the churches. The evening will be moderated by Pep Philpott. The organizing committee consists of: Rene DeVries, Allan Reesor-McDowell, and Arnold Neufeldt-Fast. See our new blog page (allcandidates.blogspot.com) for up-dated information and ways that you can help.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
And Rebecca, intrepid long-time co-moderator of this very blog, has posted some of her recent radicality as well...
As have Paul and David and John, who have been hard at work (and criss-crossing the country) preparing a documentary on love...
There's an advent conspiracy going on...
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
This past Thursday there was a concert (actually, a "Harambee")at 19-On-The-Park here in Stouffville, featuring the Rouge River Connection and Allan Reesor-McDowell as well as the Albert Street Four. It was a well attended and inspirational evening, with words from Jane and from Robina Ssentongo, Director of the Kitovu Mobile AIDS Organization working with orphans and grandmothers in Uganda.
As Jane said last Thursday night, much has been accomplished, but much remains to be done. Consider giving a day's pay and join this movement of "global solidarity, local solutions."
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Do you remember when you went somewhere new for the first time and didn’t know anyone? You didn’t know where anything was or how things were done. Well that’s what the two Palestinian families CMC is helping to sponsor are experiencing this year, with the added challenge of having to learn a new language and writing system at the same time.
Each family benefits from 12 months of financial support from the 4 sponsoring churches [CMC, Rouge Valley, TUMC & Don Heights Unitarian] after which time they will have to take the first steps making their own way in their newly adopted home country. Of course, they won’t be left to their own devices by the churches, but the financial safety net currently provided by the churches will be replaced by either welfare or, hopefully, income from a job.
In the midst of the challenge of both sets of parents having to learn English and the children starting school, they have gradually started to get used to life in Canada’s largest city, which as you can appreciate, is a far cry from spending roughly four years in a refugee camp on the Iraqi-Syrian border. If you add in to the mix the fact that both fathers have suffered significant health issues in recent months [although both are thankfully doing better now] you can understand what a year of upheaval and change it has been.
That both families are getting used to life in Canada is due in no small part to the selfless efforts of members of the various sponsoring churches, who have devoted many hours in helping to get the adults to appointments with social agencies and Government Departments, and the children to dental and eye appointments, and so on. They have also taught them how to use the TTC and to travel by bus to visit relatives in the K-W area or in Whitby.
I think you get the picture that 2010 has been a year of massive change living far away from everything that is familiar to these two families, and the learning curve for everyone has been very steep. That’s why I can honestly say that it was my very great pleasure to invite both families, on behalf of CMC, to visit the Toronto Zoo on Saturday, September 25th for an afternoon of simple fun and fellowship. Between the two families there are nine children, ranging in age from two to sixteen, and most of them said that they wanted to see the lions first! Of course, with the lions being pretty much at the far end of the zoo from the entrance, we saw plenty of other animals on the way and it was such a delight to see the children’s faces light up when they saw the various creatures. God has created many varied and wonderful animals, and no matter what your own feeling about zoos, it was so heart-warming seeing these children smiling, hearing them laughing, teaching them the animals’ names in English, having them teach us their Arabic names, enjoying them holding our hands and spending time with their parents. Although the weather was overcast, these children truly bathed us in their sunshine!
These families have been so gracious in accepting our hospitality and have welcomed us into their homes with open arms. They are truly a blessing to us and I am thankful for this small opportunity to get to know them better and look forward to further occasions to welcome them in to our community.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Here's my advice: don't buy a toaster as a memento.
At my grandmother's moving sale, I was too young to think about lasting value. My parents urged me to buy something, so I bought a cheap toaster that I don't think my grandma ever used. When I got married we used it, but we threw it out when it stopped working. While I have great memories of my grandma, I regret not having something of hers that I can see and touch.
On the other hand, it was awesome to be part of the annual Commemorative Service at the Altona Mennonite Meetinghouse, where Stouffville's founder is buried. Standing in a building built in 1852, I couldn't help noticing that it was so plain. Compared to Old Order Mennonite meetinghouses built more recently, it was austere. I thought about how difficult life was for our ancestors and yet what wonderful gifts they passed on to us. Because of their industrious and simple lifestyle, they were able to build a strong community. That community now provides us a comfortable and enjoyable life. Taking time to appreciate our heritage filled me with gratitude for those who came before me to this area.
As I was preparing to speak at that Commemorative Service, I learned of the loss of a different heritage site. Few in Stouffville know that developers discovered the remains of Ontario's largest Huron-Wendat village, on Stouffville Creek, between Byers Pond Way and James Ratcliff Avenue. A 2007 Town Council resolution promised to recognise this site but there is no sign that this has been done. Now the site is a large pond built for storm drainage.
Will we dispose of this village and lose out on the chance to see and touch our history? Are we so ungrateful for what we have that we turn our backs on those who came before us?
- Cameron Kaufman-Frey
Monday, September 20, 2010
Ahniin, Hello, I am called Greg, I am a husband to Rachel, a father to Nathan, Hannah and Miriam. I am a ‘Oshkabaywis’, or helper to the children of Waabgon Gamig First Nation School on Georgina Island. I follow the path of Gizhemandio, Great Spirit, Creator, God. Welcome to the beginning of Community Mennonite’s experience of ‘Re-awakening of the Spirit’ a journey of healing from trauma suffered from Residential Schools
A national United Church conference entitled ‘Living into Right Relations’ was held in Pinawa, Manitoba in May 2008. This gathering was the beginning of a five-year journey during which Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal people will engage with each other to model and facilitate just and right relations.
From this conference there was a ‘Reawakening the Spirit Gathering’ at Salvation Army Conference Centre in Jackson Point. The gathering went to small circles and decisions were made to bring and share in our local communities the mandate “To foster right relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.“
What will this idea look like? There are a number of educational workshops available to provide opportunities for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people to better understand the enduring impact of European worldviews and culture on the First Peoples of Canada. We also wanted to know our neighbours so a “Social Potluck” was planned between Chippewas of Georgina Islands United Church, Trinity United of Newmarket and Community Mennonite of Stouffville.
On Saturday September 4, 2010 some 30 brave members of Community Mennonite met at The Aazhaawe (Going Across) Ferry. It was a blustery day. The only weather we did not experience was snow! Upon disembarking the ferry most members walked to the United Church and enjoyed a 3km trip or should I say they were blown to the church!
We participated in meet and greet games and broke bread together! This was an important step in the start of peoples journey for understanding, reconciliation and healing! These relationships must be fostered for long term just as our Creator had intended from the beginning!
On a note of interest for Community Mennonite Church. There was a baseball tournament happening on Georgina Island at the same time as our social! I was in conversation with a community member and an idea that was put forth “Would your people put a baseball team together and sign up for next year?” Opportunity knocking?
My hope is that we continue this process of friendship and we keep the dialogue ongoing and open for sharing and support. That we are able to share with the understanding and respect that people’s experiences not to be confused with stories! An old saying ”We must look back in order to move forward”, seven generations back seven generations forward!
At the end of the evening after disembarking the Ferry Aazaahawe Creator gave us a full rainbow as a “gift” a “promise of never again!” Chi-Miigwetch to All!