GCF: Advent POTLUCK Party

Title: GCF: Advent POTLUCK Party
Location: The office (basement of Wycliffe College, 5 Hoskin Ave)

“But I trusted in your steadfast love;

My heart will rejoice in your salvation.

I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

-Psalm 13

Dear friends,

Last week we spent time in prayer and song together, taking time to pause to reflect on some themes of Advent: anticipation, hope, longing, frustration, gratitude, excitement, joy. We recognized that Advent is not only about happiness and joy; it is also about desperation, longing, and the “already, not yet” of waiting for Christ’s return.

This week at GCF we’ll be taking time to focus on the JOY of the season.

“Joy to the world! The Lord has come!”

Come one, come all, to our annual Advent POTLUCK party! Read more GCF: Advent POTLUCK Party

WBB: Advent, Assurance and Anguish

Title: WBB: Advent, Assurance and Anguish
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel@7.22am
Description:

WBB: Assurance, Anguish and Advent

“Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ,” the apostle powerfully proclaimed last week. But if you keep reading you see that he then immediately gives voice to a deep sorrow and anguish. So deep that he says that he wishes that he himself could be cut off, that he himself could be separated from the love of Christ.

From assurance to anguish. Why? Read more WBB: Advent, Assurance and Anguish

GCF: A Pause in Advent

Event: GCF: An Advent Pause
Location: The office (basement of Wycliffe College, 5 Hoskin Ave)

Dear friends,

Advent tends to be a very busy time of year.

The weeks leading up to the celebration of the birth of Christ typically involve Christmas parties, family gatherings, shopping for gifts–all compounded by the craziness that is often associated with the ending of an academic semester.

For all the years I was a student, I lamented the fact that as much as I intended to take time to reflect, to pray, and to really dwell in the hopeful anticipation of advent, it felt like all the forces of academia mercilessly resisted this desire. (And this was equally true at the Christian and non-Christian academic institutions I attended!)  It felt like advent was just another season in the church calendar that rushed by without my taking much notice-other than stressing about finishing papers or taking exams and trying to find the time to do some Christmas baking.

Perhaps you have felt similarly rushed through advent at various times in your life. Read more GCF: A Pause in Advent

WBB and Advent Waiting: Romans 8 (Reprise)

WBB: Romans 8 (reprise)

I knew from the beginning that we would have to spend more than one week in Romans 8 during this year’s WBB meditation on Paul’s most famous letter. This passage was just too rich to rush through. Of course the same could be said of a lot the first seven chapters of the book as well, but there is something about Romans 8 that requires time for meditation, for reflection.

So we scheduled two weeks for Romans 8. And, well, that isn’t enough. So we are going to remain with Paul in this chapter for one more week. Read more WBB and Advent Waiting: Romans 8 (Reprise)

GCF: At the Sanctuary with Thea

Title: GCF: At the Sanctuary with Thea
Location: CRC Campus Ministry Office, Wycliffe College (5 Hoskin Ave.)

Date: 2009-11-26

Dear friends,

Last week we had an intense (and at times, humorous!) conversation with Shannon and Mari about suffering.  We wrestled with questions about the meaning (or lack thereof) of suffering, about forgiving (or not forgiving) God, about helpful (and unhelpful) responses to people who are suffering.  Many heartfelt thanks to Shannon and Mari for their honesty, vulnerability, and significant work put in to preparing for that evening.

Shannon mentioned a particular community a few times when talking about friends who experience extreme pain and suffering: the Sanctuary.  This week we will be spending some time at the Sanctuary with Thea Prescod, a nurse who works there, and a member of the Wine Before Breakfast community.  I encourage you to spend some time learning a bit about the Sanctuary before coming Thursday: www.sanctuarytoronto.ca.

In case you don’t make it to the website, here’s a little introduction to what the Sanctuary is about, in its own words:

Read more GCF: At the Sanctuary with Thea

WBB and the groaning of creation

Title: WBB and the groaning of creation
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel
Description:

Dear friends:

In what is perhaps the most remarkable turn of a phrase in the letters of Paul, the apostle tells us in Romans 8.22 that “the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now ….” This is a creation longing for redemption, longing to be set free from all that binds it.

Perhaps only the women in our community can begin to understand what Paul is talking about here, and even there maybe only the women who have given birth. I can tell you as a very concerned observer that there is an intensity in the groaning of labor like nothing else that I have ever born witness to. Groaning in travail was the way the older versions of the Bible put it.

Read more WBB and the groaning of creation

GCF – Suffering

Title: GCF – Suffering
Location: CRC Office – Wycliffe College
Description:

We all know life isn’t always easy.  As people who try to follow Christ, we know in our heads that life will involve suffering, hardships, pain–following in the way of the cross.

Surprisingly, we tend to hear very little in our churches or communities about real-life suffering.  In my experience, when we talk about our suffering or the pain of others, we quickly follow this with talk of how whatever we are facing will surely end soon, or will have good consequences in the end, or will make us stronger or more faithful.

Do we try to tame the intensity of suffering? Is there always a “bright side” to painful experiences?

This week at GCF, long-time GCF community members and friends Mari and Shannon are teaming up to lead an evening on suffering and the Christian life.  Here’s a teaser from them about the evening:

The following is an imaginative retelling of Mark 11:12-25 – I would like to give a disclaimer that this is not the official telling, and that if I were a prof, I would tell you not to write this part down:

Jesus is walking along with his disciples and he sees the fig tree and wants some figs.  He gets closer to the tree and realizes that there are no figs on the tree because it isn’t fig season.  He then throws a hissy fit.  “What is wrong with this planet?” he says.   “You can’t just walk up to a fig tree and get, say, figs, you have to wait for fig season, and even then the figs might not grow because, oh that’s right, the ground is cursed and we have to work really hard to make anything grow at all, and even all that hard work is no frickin’ guarantee.  I HATE this place!  It sucks!  Nothing works here!  I’m so over this planet!  I’m going to change everything!”  And then he does.  Sort of.

This Thursday evening, explore the terrifying world of meaningless suffering and how being Christians does not in any way protect us from this horrific fact of life. It will be fun. It will be scary. There will be stick figures.

This is certainly an evening NOT to be missed.

And consider bringing a friend who might need a community like GCF.

Looking forward to seeing you then,

Sara Gerritsma DeMoor

Associate chaplain

Start Time: 18:00
Date: 2009-11-19

Wine Before Breakfast

Title: WBB: No one ever said this was going to be easy
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel, 7.22am
Description: 

No one ever said that this was going to be easy.
            Not Paul’s letter to the Romans.
            Not the faith that he there proposes.
            Not the Jesus he calls us to follow.

Romans 6 … things are settled.
            We are saved in Jesus Christ,
            no longer slaves to sin, but slaves of righteousness.

Romans 7 … things are unsettled.
            We are caught between conflicting laws,
            Christ and sin.
And we are all adulterers.

And it all comes down to “dwelling.”
            Romans 7 painfully reminds us that sin “dwells” in us,
            while Romans 8 insists that we are set free from sin
            because the Spirit of God “dwells” in us.

But this still doesn’t make it easy.
            There is still “war in my blood.”
            There is still a royal battle between a mind set on the “flesh”
            and a mind set on the Spirit.
            Death or life.
            War or peace.

Heavy stuff at any time, not least at 7.22 in the morning!

This week I’ll be preaching, David Julien will be presiding, and the band will be playing some Steve Bell for us.

Know anybody struggling with these kinds of tensions in their lives? Bring them along. They’ll be in good company.

In hope,

Brian Walsh


Start Time: 7.22am
Date: 2009-11-17

Book Launch: Justice and Creation

Title: Book Launch: Justice and Creation
Location: Leonard Hall, Wycliffe College
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2009-11-12
Description:

CRC Campus Ministries, University of Toronto
and Crux Books
present
Justice and Creation
a book launch for
The Justice Project (edited by Brian McLaren, et. al.)
The Gift of Creation (edited by Norman Wirzba)
with contributor
Dr. Sylvia C. Keesmaat
Commentaries by
Bruxy Cavey (The Meeting House)
Ron Kuipers (Institute for Christian Studies
Music by
Michael Iafrate and Allison Hari Singh
The Hildegard Project


Thursday, November 12, 7.00pm
Leonard Hall, Wycliffe College

5 Hoskin Ave, Toronto

WBB, Home Wrecking and Christ

Title: WBB, Home Wrecking and Christ
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel
Description:

Dear friends:

These days, when I think about marriage or any other relationship of covenantal intimacy, words from a Martyn Joseph song invariably come to mind.

“I would never do anything in this world to hurt you…
But I do.”

The deep sentiment of faithful love meets the reality of pain, hurt and betrayal.

We profess with confidence that we would never do anything in the world to hurt the one we love the deepest, and yet we in fact do hurt that very person.

I think that Paul is on to something like this in Romans 7.

Read more WBB, Home Wrecking and Christ