The Revs. Smiths’ Message for April 11, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Thanks be to God who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 15: 57

Easter changes everything.  Take everything you thought you knew about how you thought the world works—about how great stones stay where they are and don’t just get rolled aside, about death always having the last word, about you only get what’s coming to you, or that you just have to live with the fact that bad stuff happens.  Now look again because all is not as it appears.

Stones can be moved, Christ has defeated death and been raised, grace invades our lives with gift and beauty, and for every loss or tragedy that we face, there is the possibility of rising again, continuing on and finding that there is hope.  Through Christ, where we thought there was only death there is life.  For Paul, the only reason we can look at the brokenness of the world and the struggles of our existence and have any hope at all is found in the resurrection.   Death could not defeat Jesus and it has no ability ultimately to defeat us.

“Daffodils” (1888) by American-Canadian artist Mary Hiester Reid (1854–1921); from a private collection; taken from the Wikimedia Commons.

Easter speaks to us of endings and beginnings, of looking for something fresh and new, of seeking hope for a future which holds so many unknowns.  Surely that can be a welcome hope for us as a congregation as we seek to call a minister to help lead us into the mission that lies ahead of us.  And hope for us as part of the human family in the struggle to overcome the scourge of the COVID pandemic.  In all of it, the risen Christ is with us.

The last verse of that wonderful hymn “In the bulb there is a flower” says it well:
          In our end is our beginning,
          in our time, infinity,
          in our doubt there is believing,
          in our life, infinity,
          in our death, a resurrection,
          at the last a victory,
          unrevealed until its season,
          something God alone can see.

In Christ,

Revs. Bob and Helen Smith

A version of this message first appeared in the Saturday, April 11, 2021, edition of Tidbits.

The Revs. Smiths’ Message for April 4, 2021

Dear Friends,

It is a time of many different emotions.  From the sad, sombre mood of Good Friday, through the patient waiting of Saturday, on to the joy of Sunday morning.  During these days, we encourage you to go to this interactive page and click on the links for each day.  Our time through the last days of Holy Week is enriched by these aids to reflection.  And there are some pleasant surprises. If you click on the book “Read, Wonder, Listen” for Maundy Thursday, Laura Alary is reading the story.  And some of you may know Doug Kendall.  If you click on “Read, Wonder, Listen” for Good Friday, Doug is reading the story.

“Victory over the Grave” (before 1907) by German painter Bernhard Plockhorst (1825–1907); from the collection of the Immanuelkirche, Berlin; taken from the Wikimedia Commons.

It is a time of many different emotions, as Ann Weems puts it in her poem:

The Time for Kneeling
The Lamb has been slain.
and the sheep have scattered.
Now is the time for kneeling,
         the time for believers
to kneel and call upon his name
         to kneel and rise again:
the community of the resurrection.

Kneeling in Jerusalem, Ann Weems

In Christ,

Revs. Bob and Helen Smith

A version of this message first appeared in the Thursday, April 1, 2021, edition of Tidbits.

Special resources for Holy Week 2021 – Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday

This is the eighth of these special resources for the Lenten season, this one for the second part of Holy Week, from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday. We are grateful that the Synod of Central, Northeastern Ontario and Bermuda, PCC, and Foothills Presbytery, South Carolina, PCUSA, have created and made them available to us.

There are multiple interesting items for each of the four days! Click on the image to start your visit.

Holy Week treasures for Maundy Thursday through Easter Sunday, 2021. Click on the image to start your visit.

A version of this message first appeared in the Thursday, April 2, 2021, edition of Tidbits.

The Revs. Smiths’ Message for March 28, 2021

Dear Friends, 

The worship celebrations for this strange COVID year bring us now as the people of God to Palm Sunday, where we follow Jesus in his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and the solemn events of Holy Week.  He will break bread with his friends, wash their feet, be betrayed by one of them and denied by another, tried and executed, with words of forgiveness on his lips at the end.

Santa Teresa de Jesús” (St Teresa of Ávila), painting from between circa 1850 and circa 1860 by French artist Alfred Dehodencq (1822–1882); from the collection of the City Council of Seville and held at the Casa consistorial de Sevilla; taken from the Wikimedia Commons.

By coincidence, this Palm Sunday is also the birthday of St. Teresa of Ávila, a 16th century Spanish noblewoman who felt called to life of poverty, simplicity and prayer in the convent. She is remembered for a series of mystical visions that she received which shaped her spiritual life.  One of her best loved reflections, and one that seems good to guide us as we move into this sacred week, is this quotation.

Christ has no body now, but yours.  No hands, no feet, but yours.  Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks compassion into the world.  Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good.  Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world.

St. Teresa of Avila

In Christ,

Revs. Bob and Helen Smith

A version of this message first appeared in the Saturday, March 27, 2021, edition of Tidbits.

Special resources for Holy Week 2021 – Palm Sunday to Wednesday

This is the seventh of these special resources for the Lenten season, this one for the first part of Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Wednesday. We are grateful that the Synod of Central, Northeastern Ontario and Bermuda, PCC, and Foothills Presbytery, South Carolina, PCUSA, have created and made them available to us.

Make sure to start with the bible, then check out the resources for each of the four days. Click on the image to start your visit.

Holy Week treasures for the period in Holy Week from Palm Sunday to Wednesday, 2021. Click on the image to begin your visit.

A version of this message first appeared in the Saturday, March 27, 2021, edition of Tidbits.

Major mission project 2021

Support of mission and outreach activities has been an important part of the witness of our Church to the teaching of our Lord to love our neighbour. In addition to the annual budget allocated for mission and outreach activities, which is used to support charitable activities locally and internationally, in recent years, our Church has undertaken a major mission project in alternate years.

As you will recall, in 2018 we undertook to raise $10,000.00 for Portland Place to refurbish the kitchen and $10,000.00 to address structural problems with our church’s sanctuary windows. We raised $20,145.21 for these projects to the end of December 2018. A major mission project had been planned for 2020, but it did not proceed due to the pandemic.

Notwithstanding the continued disruption of the pandemic to our Church activities, help is needed by many people in our community. Accordingly, the Mission & Outreach Committee has recommended and Session has agreed, and the annual meeting of the congregation has approved that we as a congregation undertake as our Mission Project 2021 the project of raising $10,000.00 for the Scarborough Food Bank. The COVID pandemic has hit the poorest in our community hardest and our view is that our church must help in a meaningful way. It also is our view that this project will help bring our congregation together in spirit, even if physically meeting together is further delayed.

Inside Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (SCHC) Food Bank

Donations can be made by adding an amount to your weekly offering and noting on the envelope line for “Other” that it is to go to the “Mission Project” or to “Food Bank” or you can make a direct donation to the church for this purpose. Cheques are to be made out to Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church. As always, accurate records will be kept of the amounts donated and a tax receipt will come following the year end.

To promote awareness of the Food Bank and its needs within families, the committee will be encouraging support by donating food items to the Food Bank, e.g. fish items in “Fishy February” and milk products in “Milky March”. However, the goal of the project is to raise $10,000.00 cash to give to the Food Bank. Its buying power is better than us as individuals and the money will go further.  Please give your generous support to this important project. As Shakespeare so eloquently wrote:

The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from Heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest.

The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene 1

A version of this message first appeared in the Saturday, March 20, 2021, edition of Tidbits.

Annual meeting and report

Thank you to all who attended our first virtual Congregational Meeting. 37 people attended and the reports of groups and committees for 2020 were approved. Jonathan Roth reviewed our 2020 financial statements which included a surplus of $93,000 (all due to not having a full-time minister). The congregation approved the 2021 budget as presented, and approved the repayment of approximately $50,000 to the Housing Allowance fund, thus repaying the loan taken from that fund for past roof and floor repairs. Sig Quickert, Don MacOdrum and Bonnie Horton were appointed as Trustees for a three-year term. Jonathan Roth was confirmed as Treasurer for 2021.

Access the 2020 Annual Report online here. There are printed copies for those without computer access available through the office at 416.261.4037.

A version of this message first appeared in the Saturday, March 20, 2021, edition of Tidbits.

The Revs. Smiths’ Message for March 21, 2021

Dear Friends,

It is a great week for musical milestones. March 23 is the day in 1743 that Handel’sMessiah” had its London debut performance. That’s the one where King George II rose to his feet during the Hallelujah chorus and we’ve been doing that ever since. Messiah is commonly performed at Christmas but Handel wrote it for the Lenten/Easter season.

March 24 is the birthday of American hymn-writer Fanny Crosby. Born in New York in 1820, Fanny Crosby penned thousands of hymns under over 100 pseudonyms, since hymnal publishers were reluctant to include too many hymns by any single writer. Her most famous hymn is “Blessed Assurance”, #687 in our Book of Praise.

And March 21 is the birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach, born in Germany in 1685. Our hymn book contains 11 hymns composed or harmonized by Bach, including #239, the much loved “O sacred head, sore wounded” from his “The Passion According to St. Matthew” oratorio. When a composition was finished to his satisfaction, Bach always wrote on the bottom of the page, the initials S D G, for Soli Deo Gloria, “to the glory of God alone”.

O Sacred head Sore Wounded” by J.S. Bach, performed by the Choir of King’s College Cambridge at Easter 2011.

I thought of these initials as I logged off our Annual Meeting this past Wednesday. Such a good spirit, even on ZOOM! Such hope and energy for God’s mission. S D G.

In Christ,

Revs. Bob and Helen Smith

A version of this message first appeared in the Saturday, March 20, 2021, edition of Tidbits.

The Lent Garden for the fifth Sunday in Lent 2021

This is the sixth of these “Lent Garden” special resources for the Lenten season, this one for the fifth Sunday in Lent. We are grateful that the Synod of Central, Northeastern Ontario and Bermuda, PCC, and Foothills Presbytery, South Carolina, PCUSA, have created and made them available to us.

There are many items in the Lent Garden this week that you can click on to continue your journey through this Lenten season. Be sure to click on the guitar to meet up again with an old friend.

The Lent Garden for the Fifth Week in Lent, 2021. Click on the image to begin your visit.

A version of this message first appeared in the Saturday, March 20, 2021, edition of Tidbits.

New elders announced

As a result of the balloting conducted earlier this year, the Session is pleased to announce the following people have accepted the call to Eldership at Guildwood:

  • Chris Aleong
  • Niki Aleong
  • Carolyn Glasgow
  • Bill Holly
  • Christianne James
  • Catherine MacOdrum
  • Susan Tomkins

Our new Elders will be ordained and admitted to Session in a worship service when it is safe to gather, but will be invited to meet with current members of the Session as Elders-elect until that service can be held.  Thank you and welcome to our new Elders!

A version of this message first appeared in the Saturday, March 13, 2021, edition of Tidbits.