Tag Archives: justice

From Sunday Breakfast to Good Friday

Volunteer Co-ordinator Kate Werneburg spoke with Jonathan Robarts, a Sunday Breakfast Host, and a member of the Permanent Toronto Homeless Memorial Planning Committee. This year, he led the Second Station in the  Ecumenical Good Friday Walk for Justice. Jonathan is a Poverty and Tenant Rights lawyer with Legal Aid.  

KW: How did you first get involved with Holy Trinity?

JR: I applied to Beth Baskin –  I sent a general e-mail about three years ago. I was initially interested in volunteering with the Homeless Memorial, because it relates to the job that I do. My clients tend to be marginalized tenants; they are often being evicted into homelessness. My first volunteer role was ushering with the Christmas Story, and then my partner Alana and I  became Sunday Breakfast hosts.

KW: How has your experience of being in the community changed over the years?

JR: I’ve found my time here to be a really humbling experience. The church community has always been warm, inviting, and welcoming. I find the spiritual context of this work to be grounding. I’m not particularly religious, but the context gives me perspective. I enjoy talking with the folks who drop in, and I find its a really great way to give back. For me, it’s about more than offering time or money, it’s about being able to offer folks a safe, warm, welcoming place with food. Most of the people who drop in on Sunday probably didn’t sleep well the night before. I get a huge sense of relief from them when they enter the space.

KW: How have you found being part of the community, but not attending  worship? Do you feel integrated at Holy Trinity?

JR: I feel very integrated here. I don’t feel pressure to join worship, but being amidst the worshiping community has given me a lot to think about in terms of spirituality; I’ve picked it up by osmosis. I’ve never felt like an outsider here.

KW: How did you get involved with this year’s Good Friday Walk?

JR: Sherman asked me through my volunteering with the Homeless Memorial committee. They needed someone to speak to the legal dimensions of poverty, and my work touches all parts of poverty. In preparation, I made sure I integrated biblical passages, I did some research and googling – Isaiah has a lot to say about justice! I was trying to bridge my world and the religious experience that many have on the Good Friday Walk. As I was speaking, I could see heads shaking, I could hear gasping; it seemed to me like the content of the Safe Streets Acts was news to some out there. My plan was to integrate, educate, and even agitate a little. For many on the Walk,   many of these laws will never affect them directly. So many of our laws only apply to the poor: eviction hearings in absentia, panhandling, and more. I was so humbled to be asked to do this Station, and it was a huge privilege.

Kw: Is there anything else you’d like to say about being volunteering at Holy Trinity?

JR: I cannot stress how welcoming the church has been for us.

Photos: Good Friday Walk for Justice

This past Good Friday, March 30, 2018, Holy Trinity hosted parts of the Ecumenical Good Friday Walk for Justice.

About the walk: “The Ecumenical Good Friday Walk for Justice began 35 years ago.  Each year, the ecumenical planning team creates a map of stations to lift up current struggles. Over the years, we have stopped at the courthouse steps to protest racial profiling, at bank towers to repent valuing profits over people, and in back alleys to hear the stories of the poor. We have stood with refugees, advocated for missing and murdered Aboriginal women, and worshiped with the Occupy movement.

See photos from this year’s walk below:

2018 Photos from the Walk

Dry-Bone Valley

It’s like trying to stay upright,
scorched and breathless, in the blast
of some sneezing rot-toothed dragon.

This guided tour, God, is tough going.
As vistas go, it’s in questionable taste–hills
bare-ribbed and drought-dried to the bone;

Satan plays Lego with Rwandan skeletons,
chews over the remains of hope in Darfur
and a thousand other slums:

such pornography of desolation–
O God, can these bones live?
how have we been brought to this?

We wait on you.  Do not press REWIND,
returning things to the good old days
that never were.  Plant something new

in us, reassemble the strewn backbones
of our resolve, breathe prophecy into us
so that blade by blade, tuft by tuft

we may animate these Lenten slopes
with living green of Easter hopes.

Dry-Bone Valley (Ezekiel 37:1-14) by Ian Sowton from The Stink of Experience

King Lear at The Toronto Homeless Memorial

On Tuesday, February 13th at the  Toronto Homeless Memorial a small excerpt of King Lear, called Too Little Care will be performed. Walter Borden, actor, playwright, activist and member of the Order of Canada, will take the title role. Peyton LeBarr and Michael Bennet Leroux round out the cast as Kent and the Fool, respectively.
Lear is a King who finds himself homeless and dispossessed in the middle of a terrible storm. He comes to the realization that people in his kingdom live like this all the time, and that he, as ruler, has “(taken) too little care of this”.

Continue reading King Lear at The Toronto Homeless Memorial

“echoes of cosmic events”

Epiphany Sermon 2018

by Joanna Manning

Today’s celebration of the Epiphany has always been one of my
favourites. I find it’s full of mystery, and it speaks to the
imagination and the poetic.

The word ‘Epiphany’ means ‘manifestation’ or ‘revelation.’ In
today’s feast there are traditionally have been three levels of
revelation that have been celebrated. First, the Magi are led to
the manger and the light of Christ is manifested to the gentiles.
Then Epiphany is often linked with the Baptism of Christ by
John, and the launch of Jesus’ public ministry, with the
testimony of the voice from heaven confirming that ‘This is my
Beloved Son’ followed by the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in
the form of a dove. Epiphany is also linked with John’s account
of the Marriage Feast of Cana, where Jesus first manifests his
power to the disciples by turning water into wine, a symbol of
the wedding feast that joins heaven and earth, God and
humankind, into a new and joyous union. Continue reading “echoes of cosmic events”