Weekend Workshop

CACG

On Friday evening, November 2, and all day Saturday, November 3rd, Calgary Alliance for the Common Good will be offering a workshop on the Foundations for Community Organizing:

This training provides content based on the philosophy and practices developed by the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) in over 70 years of organizing experience. The training provides the foundation necessary for individuals or organizations to particpate effectively with the Calgary Alliance for the Common Good. It includes:

  • What is community organizing and why use a community organizing approach
  • The organizing cycle
  • Relational meetings
  • Listening sessions
  • Problems vs. Issues
  • Power over vs. Power with
  • Negotiations and actions to obtain concrete and winnable outcomes

Time : The training runs Friday November 2nd from 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm and continues Saturday November 3rd from 9:30 – 4:00

Cost: CACG Members are Free (Scarboro United Church is a Member!)
Non-members $50 or pay as you are able at the door.
Everyone is asked to contribute as they are able to cover the cost of lunch that day.

For More Information Contact
 Ryan Andersen, Lead Organizer
(403)993-7123
[email protected]

Sunday at Scarboro – Sep 30, 2018

Worship Start Time: 10:30am
Theme: Creation IV - Mountain Sunday

Come to Scarboro as we worship together every Sunday at 10:30am. We will have the coffee on at 10, so come early and catch up with your community. There will be more time for coffee, tea and conversation after the service in the Memorial Hall.

This Sunday is also Orange Shirt Day, when we wear orange in recognition of residential school survivors.


Save the date: Saturday, October 13 - FALL FEST
Come to Scarboro from 11am - 3pm for a day of festivities:

There will be the usual bake sale - featuring our famous Oat Cakes - as well as various preserves, frozen soups, and other goodies; a book sale; a children's clothing & toy swap/sale; a fabulous loonie twoonie carnival; displays from various community partners; and a cafe where you can have your tea and scone, or grab a coffee and choose from a selection of goodies.

There will be live music in the Memorial Hall, beginning with the Foothills Brass and finishing up with a drum circle led by our friends at YYC Campus Ministry. Between musicians we will also be showing several Pecha Kucha presentations - a new and dynamic style of storytelling. Come by and check it out!


Creation 4 - Mountain Sunday and Orange Shirt Day

Isaiah 65.17-25

Rev. Erin Klassen

 

This is a scripture passage that we usually hear in the season of Advent, that time when we are getting ready, anticipating the presence of Christ among us. So, we see these verses as the promises of God, and what will happen when the divine is human and walks among us. This is good news for the lamb and the ox…. the struggling and the oppressed....

 

BUT is it good news for us?

 

After all, aren’t we the wolf and the lion?

It’s not a thought that we like to dwell on.

But there it is anyway.

 

We want to identify with the lamb, sweet and cute and soft.

We love a good underdog story. (I mean, I’m a lifelong Rider fan)

When we watch Star Wars, we are so behind the rebel alliance. We ARE the Rebel Alliance - standing up for what we believe in, what is right and true.

 

But what if we’re The Empire?

 

When we read this passage in the context of Orange Shirt Day, it changes a bit.

If this is new to you, Orange Shirt Day is an event that grew from Phyllis Webstad sharing her story of having her brand new sparkly orange shirt taken from her at the age of six when she arrived at St. Joseph Mission residential school.

 

We have this storybook in the church. In it, Phyllis speaks of being excited to finally be one of the big kids who gets to go to school. She and her grandmother make a special trip to town, to go out for breakfast and go shopping for a new shirt for the first day of school.

 

This is a rite of passage for so many of us. We did it as a family, not that long ago. Except that when Phyllis got to school, her shirt was confiscated, her hair was cut, and she learned that she was not safe.

 

Her story created an opportunity for discussion on the aspects and experiences of the residential school legacy. So today, September 30, we wear orange to show our support, acknowledge the harm that was done, and to remember and honour residential school survivors and their families.

 

With this piece of our legacy, our history, our colonialism, fresh in our minds to hear the words of Isaiah, is to be convicted.

 

No more shall there be (in it)

   an infant that lives but a few days,

   or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;

for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,

   and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.

They shall build houses and inhabit them;

   they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

They shall not build and another inhabit;

   they shall not plant and another eat;

for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,

   and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

They shall not labor in vain,

   or bear children for sudden terror.

 

Ouch.

 

In light of what has been done by our government, our church -

Land ceded and unceded, still contested,

Children robbed of their childhood, their families, their language and culture.

That stings.

 

To be honest, it is tempting to say and I used to say: I wasn’t there, I didn’t do that.

I’m not responsible.

But I am.

 

As my friend and colleague, the Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell points out:

As a white Christian woman, I do not have to worry about being asked about my citizenship. I do not have the same fear when police pull me over in my car. I do not worry about my child being taken from me. I do not worry about being harassed on my way to worship. I have privilege. And when I ignore it, I become part of the system of oppression.

 

I need to see that I am more like the wolf than the lamb.

That doesn’t mean that I am excluded from God’s new creation.

But it does mean that I have a lot of work to do.

I need to recognize my privilege and do my part to dismantle racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of systemic violence. That will take effort and imagination.

It will be as mind blowing as a wolf and lamb eating together, as a lion eating straw.

 

It is hard to imagine because we don’t know any different, and that’s mostly because we don’t want to know any different. I am comfortable in my life. I like my house and my car, what I’ve worked for, and what has been laid out for me, if only by virtue of where and when I was born.

 

But I do want to see the vision that God sees.

I want to be a part of the new creation that God promises.

I want to be included in the joy and delight.

Which means that what I know and how I act, need to fall away. They need to be forgotten.

I need to get in on the Apocalypse.

 

That is what comes to mind when we read this passage, is it not?

 

There is this great video in which the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber welcomes us all to the Apocalypse, inviting us to pull up a chair and make ourselves uncomfortable.

She goes on to say, that apocalyptic literature is not what we think it is.

This is less, “the end is nigh” and more “the end of the world as we know it.”

Writing like this, prophecies like this, exist to proclaim a big, hope-filled idea that dominant powers are not ultimate powers. Empires fall, tyrants fade, systems die, but God prevails.

 

We know the sin that was residential schools, it is time to account for the harm that was done.

We need to listen to the stories and work toward healing, as best we can.

We need to continue to dismantle the systems that devalued the culture and personhood of those who were here long before us.

 

That is where I get stuck.

I don’t know how to climb that mountain.

I do know that my liberation, my reconciliation, is tied up with that of others.

I cannot be free until we all are.

That joy and delight, the new thing that God is doing, will not happen until we take action to make it so.

 

The action that I commit to taking is to decolonize my living -

  • I will read books by marginalized folks, indigenous writers, people of colour, queer folk.
  • The same goes for the music that I listen to.
  • I will read the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.

  • I will read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action and put at least five into action in my own life.

http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/File/2015/Findings/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf

 

I don’t want you to be allies.

I want you to be traitors.

I want you to be traitors to the system that violently holds you up at the expense of others.

I want you to betray the silent pact that privilege/dominion makes with you to have your back so long as you don’t make waves. Revolt.

-Sidrah Ahmad on Twitter Sept. 27, 2018

 

Let us revolt in the name of God.

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Sunday at Scarboro – Aug 19, 2018

Worship Start Time: 10:30am
Theme: Summer Church

It's summertime in Calgary! Come to Scarboro as we worship together every Sunday at 10:30am. We will have the coffee on at 10, so come early and catch up with your community. Throughout the summer we are offering opportunities to incorporate the arts into your worship experience. Come and see what we are up to this week! There will be more time for coffee, tea and conversation after the service in the Memorial Hall.

The children's theme this summer is "Exploring Spirituality through Science & Play" - so come and explore at Scarboro!

REMINDER: Get your t-shirt orders in for Orange Shirt Day - EXTENDED to Thursday, August 23! Shirts are $25 each with proceeds going to support reconciliation initiatives. Design by Indigenous artist, Bear Horne of Victoria, BC.


August 19, 2018 - Message: Psalm 111

Rev. Erin Klassen

 

What do you fear?

Grasshoppers

Needles

War

God?

 

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

 

What comes to mind for you when you hear that?

 

What does that mean?

 

Is ours a God that we need to fear?

Is that a God we want to believe in?

If not, does that make us fools?

 

I can’t help but think of Psalm 27, the opening of that being:

God is my light and my salvation;

   whom shall I fear?

God is the refuge of my life;

   of whom shall I be afraid?

 

So are we afraid or not?

And just who is it that we are supposed to be fearing?

 

Let’s spend a bit of time unpacking that.

 

Russell Rathburn says: “Any Christian Hebrew scholar will tell you that fear doesn’t mean fear like we understand it, that a better translation is more - understanding the awesomeness of the love of God.”

 

But still, where does that leave us?

 

Why does it continue to be translated as fear? Why doesn’t someone fix the translation?

 

There are other translations:

The good life begins in the fear of God. (MSG)

The way to become wise is to honour the Lord.(GNT)

Reverence for YHWH is the beginning of wisdom.(IB)

 

Is there wisdom in there?

 

My colleague the Reverend Mindi Welton-Mitchell agrees that fear is a harsh word. But argues that it is used for a reason here: because this is the God of all creation, mighty and powerful, the one who holds our lives in hand.

 

She agrees that while there is fear, there is also this “awe-inspiring nature of God of who is beyond our understanding. Holding that tension of awe and fear is what grounds us into living in God’s ways.” Without that fear, she argues, we would simply seek our own ways, solutions and desires, and we would come up empty.

 

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

 

So what then should our relationship to the divine be?

 

Luckily, this psalm tells us.

What we have here is song of praise and thanksgiving. It is an acrostic poem, meaning that each line begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet.The lines are short, only a few words each, but they pack a lot of meaning in.

 

What we have here is essentially God’s CV or curriculum vitae. It’s essentially a resume. The words curriculum vitae are Latin and loosely translated mean: the course of my life.

 

This psalm bears witness to all God’s works - the Exodus, the Covenant, manna and quail in the wilderness, and the establishing of the heritage and homeland of the people. This is a catalog of all that God has done and will continue to do for us. Liberate us, guide and provide for us, and then welcome us home.

 

The works of God are described as great, full of honour and majesty, faithful and just. These works have been studied and gained renown. God’s commandments, the covenant, are sure and established, standing firm as they are carried out faithfully.

 

This description of God, and what God has done and will continue to do, is one of a God of promise and compassion and love. Our God is to be praised for all this.

 

Indeed, we begin this psalm with praise.

 

Alleluia! I will thank you God, with all my heart.

 

Psalm 111 is the first of several Hallel Psalms, so named because they begin with the Hebrew words, Hallel (praise) and Yah (a shortened version of Yahweh).  Again and again, God’s people are called to praise their covenant making and keeping God.

 

We are called to praise God with every fibre of our being.

 

Hear, O Israel: YHWH, our God, YHWH is One!

You are to love YHWH, your God,

with all your heart,

and with all your soul,

and with all your strength.* (wealth/substance)

Let these words that I command you today

be written in your heart. (Deut. 6.4-6)

 

So we sing to God with our whole hearts, every bit of substance that we have, and that praise expands to include those gathered around and then the whole congregations. Much like the abundance of God’s promises, joyfulness and gratitude also expand to all God’s peoples.

 

We sing of thanksgiving and awe.

It is here that praise and fear go hand in hand.

We don’t like to think of fearing God, but it is possible to fear disappointing someone that we hold in high regard, someone we look up to, someone we love dearly.

 

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

 

But it is more than that as well.

 

Those who practice it have good understanding.

 

I am especially taken by the way that Stan Mast turns this phrase on its side.

He wonders: What if the fear of God isn’t an emotion, but an action, or a set of actions?  

 

To fear God means to live by God’s precepts, to abide by God’s covenant faithfully and earnestly. To put God’s compassion and grace at the center of our lives and then act accordingly. Being wise, understanding how to live in the world, begins with being true to God’s promises.

 

Because if we turn the page in our hymn book and our bible, we will find that the Psalm 112 is similar in language and form. In fact, Shauna Hannan tells us, it would appear that the two Psalms belong together; both are acrostic poems, which contain twenty-two lines with each line beginning with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Even more, they use similar words and phrases: referring to the upright, who are gracious and merciful, providers, and doers of justice. Both sing of the promise of the the future (in 111:8 the works are established forever and ever, and in 112:8 hearts are steady and in the end will triumph).

 

The amazing thing about this similar use of language is that one Psalm (111) is focused on the work of God, as noted above, and the other (112) is focused on the actions of those who “fear” God.

 

So it would seem that not only are those who fear God expected to act like God, but those who find great delight in God’s commands are capable of mirroring the deeds of the God.

 

It is important to note that it is Psalm 111 that comes first; it is only because our Lord is already gracious and merciful and just that we are at all capable of being gracious and merciful and just.

 

And that does fill me with awe and fear.

Amazement at what we are capable of, and trepidation at the responsibility.

Let us hold that in our hearts.

And then let it expand to all of Creation, sharing the love and works of God.

 

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom,

Those who practice it have good understanding.

May your praise endure forever.

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