The Community: Down Town And Around T.o.

Earth community.

Saturday: We  take the ferry to St. Luke's shoreside church on Toronto Island for an Eco Retreat. Before lunch I give input: after lunch we go outside and meet the trees. Paul  Abell, Arocha Environmental Stewardship Advisor for Greater Toronto, comes on his cycle. Sunday: I preach at The Rez. Since my last visit this church (the focus of a resurrection of a blighted area) has used its front space to create a community garden. Two thirds of those who tend it are nearby residents. There are 24 small raised beds, each one stewarded by a different person. These have grown relationships with the locality as well as veg.

Jeremiah Community.

My host, Stephen Drakeford, introduces me to the Jeremiah Community. This small new monastic group seeks the welfare of the city in the Parkdale area, and aims for a rhythm of daily prayer, Sunday corporate Eucharist, and weekly sabbath rest. Its three leaders are bright theologically trained folk. They blessed water taken from Lake Ontario. This was to be taken to a mass  meeting to protest at the Government's axing of regulations that preserve Canada's key waters.  Now industrialists whose idol is money can pollute or steal these waters.  World Ocean Day was also celebrated.  We continue at the Rheino pub and I share things about Aidan and Hilda Community.

Goodlife Fitness

Monday:  I keep a sabbath. A day off.  Jim and Stephen take me thorugh the beautiful Don Valley to the McMichael Centre for First Nations and Group of Seven natural Artists. It rains.  I make the first of two visits to Goodlife Fitness.  This spacious three level centre, bursting with equipment, coaches, members and visitors was inspiired by a man named Patch. While recovering from a bad  accident he grew a passion for fitness. The core values of the gyms are caring, trust, integrity, passion, peak attitude, happiness and personal fitness. As I enter a sign says 'Proud to be part of your community'. The receptionist is most generous. Patch, may I suggest that you add to your yoga rooms a chapel for prayer, an eco cafe for  conversation, and life coaches for those who want fitness of soul as well as body?

Aidan and Hilda and Holy Cross

 I join the staff meeting of the Anglican Church in Canada's primate and national church committees.  I share things about The Great Emergence, the demise of Christendom, my call, The Community of Aidan and Hilda, new monastic expressions, the millennials... and lead us in prayer. A lovely group.  One member had baked beautiful scented bread, and gave me my bit before I left and they got on with business.

I have a half day and a heart-to-heart with Rick. We walk round Hyde Park and join the Holy Cross Community for vespers. Father Christopher recounts how their community evangelised in liberia. 'We never belittled anything. We just accepted everyone and they liked us, and liked us to share our faith. Even the Muslim leader encouraged us. Muslims had failed to make converts and he thought if they became Christians they might then become Muslims'. That, I thought, is  the Aidan approach.

The StrongTower Community

A planned meeting is cancelled because of the leader's bereavement. Rick and his wife Melanie take me to dinner. They describe their move  this week to a hill top residence outside Ottawa. They plan to call it The StrongTower Community and use it for retreats.  'UrbanStyle reMonk with attitude' is Rick's take on it.  They have visited many new communities and feel a rapport with the Aidan and Hilda Way of Life.

Wednesday - the train to Ottowa.

Posted at 09:01am on 11th June 2013
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