Graduate Christian Fellowship (GCF)

Graduate Christian Fellowship (GCF)
CRC Chaplain’s office, Wycliffe College basement
Thursday, November 18, 6:00pm

Giving Good Gifts: Biblical Insights and Fruitful Ideas for Christmas

Dear friends,

Last week at GCF we spent some time reading some Scripture passages about money and stuff and contentment; watched two short videos about consumerism, stuff, and sustainable design; and spent time discussing the connections between these.

This week we will be elaborating on the themes of money and stuff, and will move into a discussion of an ever-present theme at this time of year: Gifts.

We find ourselves in the busiest, biggest shopping season of the year as we approach Christmas.
We are inundated with advertisements for
the “best” gifts,
the “hottest” trends,
the “certain to bring a smile to her face” jewellery.

So we thought: maybe we should talk about gift-giving and gift-receiving at GCF.

What are your expectations around gift-giving and gift-receiving?
What is expected of you in terms of gift-giving in your family, for example, or among friends?

How do you experience giving or receiving gifts at Christmas–is the process

Why do we give gifts at Christmas, anyway?
What are we trying to communicate with our giving?

Join us for an evening of discussing, Scripture reading, seeking, giving, receiving, and praying.
In this crazy fast-paced time of year, join us for an evening of resting and reflecting.

Looking forward to seeing you there!


GCF: Let us pray

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” -Acts 2:42

As a GCF community, we frequently break bread together-literally. (Thanks to all the faithful bread-bringers for making this possible!) I’d say every week we spend time in fellowship together, connecting with and learning about each other. We periodically devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching (and to the other parts of Scripture) when we have Bible studies or discussions.

This week, as we approach Lent, we will be spending time in prayer together.

For ourselves.

For our communities.

For God’s world.

We don’t often have the opportunity to share our joys, our needs, our grief with each other and to pray for each other. We don’t often have the opportunity to join together to lament the brokenness of this world and to praise God for glimpses of hope in it.

Yet it is very important for us to do so. Read more GCF: Let us pray

Whole Bodies, Transformed Minds: Martin Luther King Jr., Romans 12 @ WBB

If there was to be one text that could be said to be at the heart of Wine Before Breakfast, Graduate Christian Fellowship and pretty much everything that we do in campus ministry at the University of Toronto, it would likely be Romans 12.1-2:

“I appeal to you, therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Monday, January 18 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States. Dr. King once said that Christians are too often like thermometers, registering and reflecting the temperature all around them, when in fact we are called to thermostats, influencing and changing the spiritual, moral, and cultural atmosphere of the society in which we live.

Kind of sounds like the distinction between being “conformed to this world” or being “transformed by the renewal of our minds.”

And in our ministry we are unabashedly all about transformation. Heck one of our folks once wrote a book about such transformation. But we also stand with Paul (and King) by insisting that transformed “minds” without bodies presented as living sacrifices is a pious intellectualism that doesn’t really amount to very much. No, the whole point of a transformed mind is that we might be discerning people, perceiving in the midst of our day to day personal and professional lives what embodied discipleship looks like.

There is no mind/body dualism for Paul. And there is no possibility of separating worship from this whole matter of transformed minds and sacrificial bodies either. Whole-bodied, mind-transformed, non-conformist living is precisely what worship is all about. Indeed, this way of living is worship!

So this week we come to Romans 12 at Wine Before Breakfast. This week we come to the heart of our ministry, and to the radical implications of the story that Paul has been telling and retelling in the previous 11 chapters of this letter.

Scott Flemming has the joyful task of preaching out of Romans 12. No pressure, Scott!

Andrew Asbil will be serving the bread, the band has some U2 and some more Marley on tap, and the food will be good as usual. Just the kind of thing that embodied discipleship needs.

One last thing, friends. In Romans 12 Paul identifies hospitality to be one of the defining characteristics of the body of Christ. Let’s extend that hospitality to other folks who need to be fed deeply on a Tuesday morning. Bring your friends. In fact, if you are going to heed Paul well, then you should bring your enemies too.


Wine Before Breakfast
Wycliffe Chapel @ 7.22am


GCF: Truth and Hospitality

This week at GCF – Truth and Hospitality: Being the body of Christ when we disagree

Have you ever wondered why there are so many different church denominations?

According the ever-reliable Wikipedia there are at least 40 denominational groups in the world, and that doesn’t include all the divisions within each broadly-defined denomination.

And then there are divisions within individual churches. Or the dividing lines that arise within Christian campus groups like IVCF or Campus for Christ, with which some of you are familiar.

As a Christian community that strives both to seek truth and to be a safe place for honest questioning and discussion, Graduate Christian Fellowship (both alumni and the current community) includes people who hold various theological beliefs and social values.  What binds us together as a Christian community?

Read more GCF: Truth and Hospitality

GCF – Suffering

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

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

GCF – Carol Scovil: Reflections from the Hills of Nepal

Title: GCF – Carol Scovil: Reflections from the Hills of Nepal
Location: CRC Office – Wycliffe College


GCF Thursday, November 5, 2009
Basement of Wycliffe College (5 Hoskin Ave)
– 6:00pm – dinner together
– 7:15ish to ? – Something After Dinner – Carol Scovil: In the Hills of Nepal

Story-telling is a very important part of the GCF community.

Sharing bits of our stories happens informally all the time at GCF, of course:
We share about the ups and downs of the week past.
We tell stories that make of laugh.
We tell stories that make us cringe.
Sometimes we tell stories that make us weep.
We learn about each other through stories about our childhoods, our family traditions, our favourite holidays.

Read more GCF – Carol Scovil: Reflections from the Hills of Nepal