Wine Before Breakfast Returns

WBB, 9/11 … Ten Years Later

Dear friends:

Wine Before Breakfast was born while the smoke was still billowing from the ruins of the World Trade Center. Exactly one week after that fateful September 11, 2001 we gathered for the first time as a worshipping community at the University of Toronto.

No happy praise songs that morning.
No upbeat enthusiasm to gather in the crowds.

Rather, we began our life together as a community in lament.

And over these past ten years lament has never been far from our worship.
Ten years of war.
Ten years of escalating international terrorism.
Ten years of injustice.
Ten years of increased assault on this good creation and its most vulnerable inhabitants.

And the lament has got personal on all kinds of levels.
We have faced death in the community.
We waited and prayed while Jim Loney and three other Christian Peacemakers were held captive in Baghdad.

And our lament has also been deeply personal at times.
Broken relationships. Struggling faith. Deep disappointments.
But we have still been able to sing.
Read more Wine Before Breakfast Returns

Campus Ministry Newsletter – September 2011

Download it here!

Every fall the CRC campus ministries at York University (Logos Campus Ministry) and the University of Toronto produce a joint newsletter for distribution in Toronto-area CRC churches. The 2011 edition is hot off the press, and can be downloaded as a PDF document.

Special thanks to our colleague, Shiao Chong, for putting this newsletter together again this year.

A Theology of Dishwashing

[These reflections, collected and written down by Geoff Wichert over a couple of years, were first presented to the Graduate Christian Fellowship on Nov 25, 2010. They can also be downloaded as a Word document.]


These stories and reflections are rooted in the re-creation of the Graduate Christian Fellowship 5 yrs ago (Sept 2006). At that time we wanted to reshape the community, a change that we named in several different ways: a shift from program to community, from a focus on worldview (which is often primarily intellectual) toward character formation (a more holistic approach).

We noted that the Wine Before Breakfast community was characterized by a high level of personal investment, a sense of belonging, and strong loyalty/faithfulness, often showing itself in the enthusiastic invitation of friends and newcomers. We suspected this has something to do with continuity and rhythm, the routines and habits of discipleship cultivated in the regular weekly liturgies

We also supposed it was connected to WBB’s emphasis on hospitality – the regular practice of eating together. Over the years we had tried having “soup & bread” before GCF a number of times, but it was always optional, and never particularly successful. So we decided to make it central to our gatherings, and essential to what we did. We also aimed to establish other practices that would give the community a deliberately distinctive character and “feel”, such as our own weekly worship time.

Out of all that came the model of GCF that we have today. It has certainly evolved over the years, but one feature that has remained constant (for obvious reasons) has been the practice of washing dishes. Because it happened early, and was closely tied to deliberate reflection on the shape of the ministry, I have had plenty of opportunity to reflect on it, and these are some of the thoughts that have emerged.

There are 3 stories about the practical side of washing dishes: both FYI, but also presented here under the notion of “logistics as pastoral practice.” There is a biblical analogy from Jesus’ teaching, and finally a reflection on liturgical practice. Read more A Theology of Dishwashing

Remembering Gerald Vandezande: Prophet and Friend

by Brian Walsh

Matt Redman’s song “Blessed be your name” is a powerful testimony to praise in the face of both joy and sorrow.

Blessed be your name
in the land that is plentiful
where your streams of abundance flow
blessed be your name
Blessed be your name
when I’m found in a desert place
though I walk through the wilderness
blessed be your name.

Redman has it right. Blessing the name of God is a radical act that happens whether the “world’s ‘all as it should be’” or we’re “on the road marked with suffering.” And so Redman invites us to sing:

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord …

But then in the bridge he pushes the song to a place that I seldom can go. Read more Remembering Gerald Vandezande: Prophet and Friend

Summer GCF: In the Office

Hi everyone,

After a lovely hike last week, we’re back in the office this week for GCF (though we can still share a baked chicken by tearing it apart with our hands if you want, for memory’s sake).

Here’s the low down, since I know you all just skim these emails 🙂

When: 6:30pm
Where: The office, basement of Wycliffe
What: shared pot’luck’ dinner (go to to share what you’re sharing… please), followed by a time of hanging out

Looking forward to seeing all of you this week!

Summer GCF: Hike!

Hello friends,
This week, GCF goes outside! We’re going to have our conversations while hiking one of Toronto’s many lovely ravine trails, and the weather looks like it might just cooperate with us. Here are the details:

Rosedale ravines: George Balfour Park, Park Drive Reservation, Evergreen Brickworks, Chorley Park, Moore Park

Meet at 6:30 sharp at the St Clair Subway station (Yonge + St Clair) on the north side (St Clair St exit, by the little McDonald’s outlet). We only have so much time until it gets dark, so let’s try to get going on time

As usual, bring something to share, but try to make it portable (e.g. finger food, no cutlery/dishes required). We’ll either munch while walking, or find a place to sit and eat. I know it’s fun to lurk on the food sign-up sheet (, see what other people are bringing, and then decide last-minute what you’ll bring, but it’s also helpful to have at least some folks add their food to the list (or it’s no fun lurking!).

Also, please be sure to bring some WATER!

Depending on how much time/energy we have, we may
a) get through all the parks I mentioned, end up at Moore Ave and take the #88 bus back to St Clair Station
b) detour part way through and head up to the Sherbourne subway station
c) return the way we came and end up back at St Clair Station.
Read more Summer GCF: Hike!

Summer GCF: Wonderful

Hi all,

I hope you have been enjoying these recent days of consistent sunshine and warmth…I know my garden has been getting more attention than usual because I actually want to spend all my free time outside!

For GCF this week (Thursday, May 12th), we will be eating together at the office at 6pm and at 7:15 we will depart Wycliffe to walk to Sanctuary (25 Charles Street East, just east of Yonge and south of Bloor) to experience the play Wonderful. If you haven’t yet reserved/bought your tickets, I encourage you to do so before Thursday, just to guarentee you’ll get one! You can get info about tickets at

Wonderful is written and directed by Shannon Blake, a GCFer and playwright and member of the Sanctuary community. Here’s the teaser:

“Three women in heated debate. One is in labour, about to deliver a child — her fifth, as it turns out. All three are fast friends — in street terms, one is the mother-to-be’s street mother, the other is her street-sister. The conversation is fast-paced, lively, colourful, witty, intense, mostly friendly, at times confrontational… Welcome to ‘Wonderful!'”

[Strong language is used; not recommended for children (in case you were thinking of inviting your young friends….)]

Re: Pot’luck’ dinner: Thanks to the timely problem-solving suggestion from Jeff, we have an easier way of arranging for food this week. Instead of replying all (and filling everyone’s mailboxes with emails about bringing tomatoes and cheese), click on the following link to see what others are bringing, and to add your contribution to the list:

I’m looking forward to seeing you all again, and to seeing what is sure to be a stunning play!

Take care,

Summer GCF!

Hi all,

Our first summer GCF will be this week Thursday at 6:30pm at the office (Wycliffe College, 5 Hoskin Ave). I’m looking forward to seeing you after almost a month break from GCF!

As we usually do during the summer, we’re asking all of you to contribute to dinner if you are able. We usually have sandwiches, so you could bring bread, cheese, sandwich meat, lettuce, tomatoes, or anything else you want to contribute. Alternatively, you are welcome to bring any kind of salad or dessert. Please email Sara (see staff bio page) to let her know what you will be bringing. That way we can be sure we’re not just going to be eating tomatoes and mustard, or something random like that 🙂

As many of you have seen, I just sent out an email to the entire GCF email list regarding this week’s first summer GCF on Thursday. You are already on my summer GCF list, so don’t worry about replying to that email as I requested.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Take care,