Commission on the Marriage Canon recommends expanding the definition of marriage


In 2013 the General Synod passed a resolution directing the drafting of a motion “to change Canon XXI on marriage to allow the marriage of same-sex couples in the same way as opposite-sex couples, and that this motion should include a conscience clause so that no member of the clergy, bishop, congregation or diocese should be constrained to participate in or authorize such marriages against the dictates of their conscience.” Such a motion will be considered by the 2016 General Synod.

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Panter’s Pub 6 – It’s My Birthday!

Sat, Sep 19, 7:30pm to 11:30pm in the old chapel

A musical/lyrical/poetical pub night in the old chapel at Holy Trinity Toronto. We’ll gather and listen to live music and sing some great songs together, talk, dance and share libations and maybe hatch some plans. (Live performances from about 8-10pm)

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Anglicans encouraged to be informed voters on October 19

2015 electionThe National Anglican Church has produced Compassion, Justice and Reason: An Anglican Approach to Election 2015.

Just in time for the 2015 federal election, a new non-partisan resource offers support for Canadian Anglicans to engage with parties and candidates on a range of vital issues rooted in shared prosperity and protecting the most vulnerable members of society.

Entitled Compassion, Justice and Reason: An Anglican Approach to Election 2015, the free downloadable resource consists of double-sided sheets on 10 different justice issues highlighted by the Anglican Church of Canada and rooted in the Marks of Mission.

Highlighted by a letter from the Primate to all party leaders, Canada is a country of abundance, yet not all of its people benefit from that wealth. The role of political leaders is to guide all Canadians towards a more prosperous future, considering all voices while protecting the most vulnerable among us and elevating the relationship with the First Peoples of this land.

Among the issues highlighted in the election resource are:

  • Child poverty;
  • Overseas development assistance;
  • Peace in the Middle East;
  • Refugees;
  • Caring for creation;
  • Interfaith inclusion;
  • Justice and corrections;
  • Reconciliation;
  • Homelessness and affordable housing; and
  • Intergenerational inequalities

Each resource sheet includes a theme, background on the issue, a description of the Anglican experience and perspectives, and questions for candidates for what their party would do to address the issue. Links to further information and resources are provided, while a separate section offers tips for a successful meeting with one’s Minister of Parliament.

View or download the 2015 federal election resource.

September 23 Labyrinth Equinox Walk at noon

labyrinth rainbowJoin the Community Labyrinth Network in a group walk on Wednesday, September 23 from noon to 1 PM to mark the Autumn Equinox
The Labyrinth is located in Trinity Square just south west of the church.

The path is a 1/2 mile walk within a 73 foot circle. It is wheelchair accessible and there is a braille labyrinth on site. All are welcome and there will be live music. This is a free event hosted by the Community Labyrinth Network.


The Heart of a Teacher (September 13, 2015 Homily)


Isaiah 50:4-9a     Psalm 116:1-8       James 3:1-12     Mark 8:27-38

Sherman Hesselgrave

It has been fun to follow the first-week-of-school Facebook posts. The photos of youngsters heading off to day one of grade one, and their assessments of their first day trigger a flood of memories. The mixture of excitement and dread that accompanies the plunge into new educational adventures and social negotiations are not easily forgotten. What will a new teacher be like? How will the transition to a new school go? Am I ready for the independence a university environment affords?

It is probably not accidental that all three of today’s scripture readings mention teachers or teaching. The lectionary is often mindful of universalities that intersect with the church year. In Isaiah, the voice of the servant in the Third Servant Song announces: “Yahweh has granted me the tongue of a teacher, able to console the weary with a sustaining word.” The Letter of James cautions: “Not many of you should become teachers,… for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” And in the gospel reading, Jesus teaches his disciples that those who desired to be his followers would face suffering.

I think one of the reasons so many were drawn to Jesus was because he was one of those teachers—‘rabbi’ means ‘teacher’ after all—who helped people find meaningful answers to the deep problems they faced in their daily lives. Isn’t that what teachers do? Help people to figure out how to think about an enormous range of challenges or problems—communicating clearly with language; analyzing how the universe works using mathematics and science; what makes for effective and beautiful artistic expression; or how human societies behave. Teachers are responsible for passing along the wisdom of the ages while, at the same time, considering innovations that may steer the future in new directions.

Sigmund Freud popularized the following quotation, without ever identifying its source. It goes like this: “The first human who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization.” It is a powerful observation, because it reminds us that the future is not necessarily condemned to repeat the past. “We’ve always done it this way before,” was not carved on the stone tablets delivered to Moses on Mt Sinai. Today’s decisions and practices can steer the future in a completely different direction than the decisions and practices that brought us to where we are. We can be taught how to create a future that is not a mere extrapolation of our past.

Even though Jesus was formed in the Jewish spiritual traditions, traditions that included a well-established strand of retributive, eye-for-an-eye justice, he knew that forgiveness was the most effective way to abort the never ending cycles of score settling. Huston Smith, the great scholar of world religions, asserts that this teaching of Jesus is the essential contribution of Christianity. Christ, the Teacher, spoke from the heart of God, imparting wisdom that had the power to change human history.

The Rule of St Benedict has been around for nearly 1,500 years. The first line of the prologue of the rule encourages one to: “Listen carefully,… to the teacher’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.” “Attend to them with the ear of your heart.” The teacher in this instance is Benedict, who is sharing his guidelines for Christians living and working in community, but the exhortation to listen with the ear of our hearts does not require us to be members of a religious order as we struggle to discern the instructions of the divine Teacher.

Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And after they responded, he followed up with, “What about all of you? Who do you say that I am.” I have been reading James Carroll’s newish book, Christ Actually: the Son of God for the Secular Age. The book was inspired by a letter Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote to his student and friend Eberhard Bethge. At a time when many German Christians had no crisis of conscience over the Nazi program, Bonhoeffer intuited the need for a radically reimagined Jesus:

“What keeps gnawing at me,” Bonhoeffer writes, “is the question, What is Christianity, or who is Christ actually for us today? The age when we could tell people that with words—whether with theological or pious words—is past, as is the age of inwardness and conscience, and that means the age of religion altogether…. The question to be answered would be, What does a Church, a congregation, a liturgy, a sermon, a Christian life mean in a religionless world? How do we talk about God without religion?… Christ would then no longer be the object of religion, but something else entirely, truly the Lord of the world. But what does that mean?”

We have observed or been part of the wrestling with questions such as these over the last 70 years since Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s martyrdom just a few days before the end of the war. We have made some progress. The word ‘genocide,’ for example, was first used in 1944, and while there may be universal condemnation of the practice, we can point to numerous eruptions of genocidal violence in places like Cambodia, the former Balkans, in Africa and elsewhere. And then there is the cultural genocide we in North America have enabled.

If the gospel is good news, where do we find hope as we continue to struggle with these questions? What spoke to me over the past two weeks as I let today’s readings marinate, was the idea of asking God to give us the heart of a teacher. For the best teachers meet a person wherever they are and they listen carefully to the problem or challenge at hand, and they work together to apply the wisdom or the resources or techniques or models that will bring understanding and accomplishment.

As people shaped by eucharistic practice, we ask God each week to feed us with spiritual bread for our journey. May that include giving us compassion to bring healing, reconciliation, and hope into a world overflowing with pain. May the spirit of Christ the Teacher actually fill our hearts with the shalom of God.

loving justice in the heart of the city