GCF – Mid-term / Hallow’een / Reformation Day party!

Title: GCF – Mid-term / Hallow’een / Reformation Day party!
Location: CRC Office – Wycliffe College


You are warmly invited to:

The annual GCF mid-semester/Hallow’een/Reformation Day PARTY!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

6:00 pm – dinner and conversation

7:00 pm and onwards – hanging out, playing games, admiring costumes!


It’s that time of year again.

The pace of academic life is spinning out of control.

Read more GCF – Mid-term / Hallow’een / Reformation Day party!

WBB, Adam and Home

Title: WBB, Adam and Home
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel

Adam or Christ? Homewrecker or Homemaker?

Dear friends:

Last week I got to reflecting on reading Romans from the perspective of home, homelessness and homecoming. And I suggested in my WBB sermon (now posted at www.empireremixed.com) that Paul offers the story of Abraham as a family story for the church. Abraham is the father of all of us. In this memory, in this family story, there is the space for making home together.
Read more WBB, Adam and Home

Andy Crouch, in conversation …

Title: Andy Crouch … in conversation …
Location: CRC Office – Wycliffe College
Start Time: 20:00
Date: 2009-11-02

Empire Remixed and CRC Campus Ministries
Andy Crouch
… in conversation …

Hosted and facilitated by Brian Walsh

Monday, November 2 @ 8.00pm

Chaplain’s Office
Wycliffe College, Toronto

Andy Crouch’s book Culture Making was named the “Book of the Year” by Christianity Today in 2009. And we are overjoyed to be able to host an evening conversation with Andy on November 2. Christian bookseller par excellence, Byron Borger (www.heartsandmindsbooks.com) said that this book “is spectacularly important and truly wonderful; wonderful for the cogent ideas and the lovely writing, the insight and the charm.” We agree. And that’s why we are hosting a conversation with Andy.
Read more Andy Crouch, in conversation …

GCF – Money

Title: GCF – Money
Location: CRC Chaplains Office – Wycliffe College
Start Time: 18:00
Date: 2009-10-22


At GCF this Thursday night, we will be discussing an issue that is apparently more difficult for North Americans to talk honestly about than sex; an issue that is the number one source of conflict in marriages:


The best things in life are free
But you can keep ’em for the birds and bees.
Now gimme money (that’s what I want)
That’s what I want (that’s what I want)
That’s what I want (that’s what I want), oh-yeaah,
That’s what I want.

Read more GCF – Money

WBB, Marriage and Faithfulness

Title: WBB, Marriage and Faithfulness
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel

Dear WBB friends:

Forgive me for offering a “sermon before the sermon” this week. I know that this is a little long.

It seems that this is the season for weddings in and around the WBB community. Last week we prayed for Bethany Osborne and Ed Miedema and this week we will bless Melissa Graham and Dave Burke.

Now let me candidly admit that I don’t know the “secret” to keeping a marriage healthy. I have no “four easy steps” to marital bliss. In fact, it seems to me that there are no recipes for this stuff and there certainly are no guarantees. So my word to folks entering into marriage is to try to get the starry eyed romantic look off of your face as soon as possible because this business of being married is hard work.

Read more WBB, Marriage and Faithfulness

GCF – Film: “Wall-E”

Title: GCF – Film: “Wall-E”
Location: CRC Office – Wycliffe College


A community like GCF spends a lot of time talking seriously about a variety of topics. This semester alone we’ve discussed the concept of “having it all,” the connection between liberation theology and eco-theology, living a balanced life, and a multitude of other ideas that arise when we’re all together.  We question, we challenge, we struggle, we laugh.  These are good conversations, and are an important part of who we are.

Sometimes, however, it’s good to change it up and do something a little different together.  It’s good to share the experience of a film together, like we did when we went to see Manufactured Landscapes.  This week, we’ll share the experience of watching a film on our “big screen” in the office, on the couches and chairs where we can relax and get comfy.

And what a fantastic film we will watch! … Read more GCF – Film: “Wall-E”

WBB, Faithfulness and “This is My Story”

Title: WBB, Faithfulness and “This is My Story”
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel
Start Time: 7:22
Date: 2009-10-13


Dear WBB friends:

“Straight, No Chaser” is arguably one of the most important jazz albums ever recorded. Here we meet the piano virtuosity of Thelonious Monk at one of his finest moments. And yet, in the middle of the album we find a song that runs a scant one minute and forty seven seconds: “This is my story, this is my song.”

You might already be humming the tune because you recognize the reference to the chorus of Fanny Crosby’s classic hymn, “Blessed Assurance”:
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Saviour all the day long.

But there is something wrong with this track. Upon first listening it sounds more like an eight year old at her first recital. The piece is played haltingly, tentatively. There are mistakes, even a moment of dissonance. Could this be Thelonious Monk?

Of course, the answer is, yes, this is the great jazz master. But Monk plays the piece with the lack of assurance of an eight year old precisely because he lacks that assurance.

“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.”

Well, maybe Monk isn’t so sure.

“This is my story, this is my song.”

The great artist isn’t at all convinced that this is his story, that this is his song.

I don’t pretend to know why Monk struggled with the faith of his youth, or why he felt it important to include this statement on “Straight, No Chaser.” But it isn’t all that hard to empathize with his struggle. There is, after all, a lot of counter-evidence to this story of blessed assurance in the fractured, broken and disappointed stories of much of our lives.

And if you’ve been paying attention at all to Paul’s letter to the Romans over the last few weeks, you will see that the apostle himself can pile up the counter-evidence. I mean, which story is it that we can sing of with such assurance when our lives bear all the marks of sin that Paul has been relentlessly addressing in these opening chapters of the letter?

Well, the time for good news has finally come. While the apostle told us right at the beginning that he “is not ashamed of the gospel” of Jesus Christ, now he begins to unpack just exactly what the good news is all about.

And if I were to put it in a nutshell, it’s this: in the face of our faithlessness, we meet the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Because this one man was faithful, because this one man embodied the faithfulness of God (which is at the very core of who God is!), and because this one man demonstrated what covenantal faithfulness was all about, thereby demonstrating what it means to be most authentically human, there is a path opened to us beyond the dead end of our own sinfulness.

There are lots of songs to sing, lots of stories to believe and to have as foundational to our lives. At Wine Before Breakfast we sing songs about and to Jesus, the faithful one.

“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!” Maybe you can’t sing that song with any more assurance than could Thelonious Monk. That’s alright. Some of us can, and we’ll sing it for you tomorrow morning.

So whether you are blessedly assured or deeply confused come on out to Wine Before Breakfast in the morning.

Rebekka King will be preaching (courageous lady!). David Julien will be breaking the bread and pouring the wine. Deb Whelan has written the prayer litany. The Bandhood-of-all-believers will be playing Fanny Crosby, Bruce Cockburn, John Newton and Sinead O’Connor (does it get more eclectic than this?).

And!! And we’ll be praying prayers of blessing over Bethany Osborne and her beloved Ed Miedema in joyful anticipation of their wedding this Saturday.

Rich fare, my friends, rich fare indeed. Come, eat, drink and believe.

Wine Before Breakfast Wycliffe Chapel Tuesday mornings@7.22

In Christ,

GCF – Stephen Scharper, “Creation, Liberation, and Hope”

Title: GCF – Stephen Scharper, “Creation, Liberation, and Hope”
Location: CRC Office – Wycliffe College


How do I begin to adequately describe what this evening holds?

Well first, a little bit about Stephen:

Dr. Stephen Scharper is a professor in the department of anthropology at University of Toronto (Mississauga). He is additionally cross-appointed at the Center for the Environment and the Center for the Study of Religion at the downtown campus.

Stephen has also been the Faith & Ethics columnist for the Toronto Star since 2005, writing articles on a wide variety of subjects: (more articles can be found here: (http://www.thestar.com/comment/columnists/94597)

“The Rise of Nature Deficit Disorder” – August 2007
“A Faith-Based Case Against Torture” – October 2007
“Born Again: Liberation Theology” – December 2007
“Fighting a Corporate Campus” – February 2008
“Native Fight Over Mining Goes Beyond Treaty Rights” – June 2008

Stephen has published a number of books, including The Green Bible (1993), co-authored with his wife (also a professor of anthropology at U of T), Hilary Cunningham, and Redeeming the Time: A Political Theology of the Environment (1997).

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, for Stephen’s commitment to his faith and passion for his subjects make him a tireless communicator in a variety of media. He is a prolific writer, having contributed over 200 reviews and articles to numerous scholarly and popular publications. He appears as a commentator on CTV News, Vision-TV, CityPulse 24, and CBC’s Counterspin as well as CBC Radio’s “Tapestry” and “Sounds Like Canada.”

Stephen has a wide variety of research interests, and his current work has to do with making connections between a theology of liberation and a theology of ecology, discussing the relationship between an option for the poor and an option for the earth. He is working particularly with the theologians Gustavo Gutierrez and Thomas Berry.

Perhaps the best reason to come to GCF this Thursday is to meet Stephen himself. He is above all warm-hearted and engaging, passionate about his faith and about communicating its redemptive relevance for our time to as wide an audience as possible. Both because of his gentle personality and his broad expertise, Stephen is a much-sought-after speaker and commentator in a variety of forums and media.

He’s also a long-time friend and supporter of GCF, and we get an email from him at least once a year thanking us for our ministry, or expressing appreciation for some particular event we’ve hosted or email we’ve written.

This is “part II” because Stephen joined us for a dinner conversation last March, but was unable to remain with us for the rest of the evening due to a previous commitment. Those of you who were there that evening know that the hour we spent in conversation with Stephen was far too short! When we asked him to return to us this year, Stephen enthusiastically agreed, even stopping by during our staff meeting to confirm!

You can probably tell that I am really excited about this evening with Stephen! Based on even my interactions with him, I know him as a gentle, kind, sharp individual who cannot help but be passionately engaging as a person of faith with a wide variety of research topics and current events. Thursday evening promises to be filled with laughter, questions, wisdom, and insight. An opportunity like this one, to wonder and imagine and learn with a prominent Christian academic and public personality doesn’t come around every day.

Please join us. This event is not to be missed. Bring a friend!

With excitement,
Sara Gerritsma DeMoor

Start Time: 18:00
Date: 2009-10-08

WBB, Paul and us

Title: WBB, Paul and us
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel

Paul is having an argument.

It is an argument with his fellow Jews in the church in Rome, and maybe it’s an argument that he’s had deep within himself.

So you are a Jew.
And you’ve got the law.
And you boast of your covenantal relationship with God
And you know God’s will.
And you are pretty sure that you are a guide to the blind.
And you are a light to those who are in darkness.
And you are a corrector of the foolish.
And a teacher of children.
And … and … and.

So why the hell don’t you live like it?

What’s the point of being a Jew if you don’t live in covenantal faithfulness?

Now this might seem like an archaic argument that is at best only of historical interest. I mean really, why should we even care about a first century debate like this?

Well because all we need to do is replace the word “Jew” with “Christian” and you can see how devastatingly contemporary this discussion is.

Many of us are still reeling from the death of David Dewees on Saturday morning. And my hunch is that we desperately need to hear of the faithfulness of God in the face of our infidelity, the truth of God in the face of our deceptions, and the restorative justice of God in the face of our injustice.

We will grieve David tomorrow. And we will hear the good news of Jesus Christ. In fact, we will attempt to surround ourselves, David’s family and friends and students in prayer suffused with grace.

Andrew Asbil will be presiding and preaching.

Please come.


Start Time: 07:22
Date: 2009-10-06