“You are the light of the world.
You don’t build a city on a hill, then try to hide it, do you?
You don’t light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket, do you?
No, you set it on a stand where it gives light to all in the house.
In the same way, your light must shine before others so that they may see your good acts and give praise to your Abba God in heaven.”
Matthew 5: 14-16
Five years ago, on June 8, 2014 Redeemer voted unanimously to become a Reconciling in Christ congregation and made a public commitment to welcome, include and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) people.
Last week for doors open we raised the Pride flag placing it front and center above our front door. We intend to keep it there for the month of June since June is celebrated as Pride month around the world. 2019 also marks 50 years since the stonewall riots, often identified as the beginning of the Pride movement.
Some might wonder why a faith community would want to make such a bold statement. Some might feel that our congregation is already welcoming to all people; what difference could having such an explicit statement of welcome make?
Well the truth is that when people see we have gone through a time of discernment to specifically welcome LGBTQIA+ people and other people groups, they know we are a community that is skilled at welcoming with specific intention, living as the Body of Christ together. That is the kind of good news the world is wanting to hear!
Sadly, LGBTQIA+ people continue to experience exclusion and harm from people supposedly acting in the name of Christianity. Even churches that declare “All are welcome” often demonstrate to LGBTQIA+ individuals and families that the welcome does not include them. For this reason, the invitation to LGBTQIA+ people must be explicit that the welcome is intended to include them.
We will hold a special Pride themed worship service on June 16. Let your light shine and not only tell your neighbours and friends about it, invite them to join us.
Thank you to everyone who volunteered to help us open our doors to our curious neighbours!
West Toronto-High Park: Redeemer Lutheran Church is delighted to welcome Pastor Steve Hoffard as full-time minister to their congregation and community. Pastor Steve will be working from the church sanctuary and office at 1691 Bloor Street West, near the Keele Subway Station.
“This begins an exciting new chapter for our church which has been living in the High Park-Roncesvalles-Junction neighbourhood for over seventy years,” said Klaus Uhlig, Chair of Redeemer’s Church Council. “Pastor Steve is joining us to continue our journey of faith and community outreach, providing a wide range of important talents to our congregation that will enable our work to become ever stronger and available to all.”
A graduate of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, Pastor Steve was ordained in 2012 and became the minister at St. Mark’s, Kingston, Ontario until his arrival now at Redeemer. Pastor Steve is on THE CHURCH COUNCIL ON JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONS as the treasurer and representative of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and is the Vice-Chair Person of the Board of Governor’s for MARTIN LUTHER UNIVERSITY COLLEGE. He is a proud member of PROCLAIM, a growing professional community for LGBTQ+ Lutheran-rostered ministers and seminarians.
“Joining Redeemer as well as moving to Toronto brings many changes to my life which definitely have been guided by the Holy Spirit,” said Pastor Steve Hoffard. “I am both humbled and excited about the opportunity to serve this incredibly caring congregation, to worship together, and to contribute to our collective work ahead.”
Organized in the 1930s and after many years meeting in various West End buildings, Redeemer Lutheran Church built a church home in 1947 at the corner of Bloor Street West & Indian Road and has been an important heartbeat in the community for worship and outreach since then. Redeemer provides church land for the Garden Party, a community-based giving garden that grows crops of vegetables for sharing with local food banks. The congregation contributes to local and international support programs, provides space for neighbourhood support groups to meet, houses a small and growing child care program, and helps out weekly with the city-wide Out-of-the-Cold program. The church has partnered with other faith communities in Toronto’s west end to privately sponsor two refugee families and offers a weekly meditation group and youth group.
“With Pastor Steve’s arrival, we now have the capacity to do even more,” said Uhlig. “We look forward to introducing Pastor Steve to our neighbours and community and welcoming everyone to join our work ahead.”
This is our only prayer service in Lent. Join us for a contemplative lay-led service of candlelight, scripture, and prayer rooted in the Lutheran and Anglican traditions. All are welcome!
This is a short 30-minute service (without communion).
Join us for a contemplative lay-led service of candlelight, scripture, and prayer rooted in the Lutheran and Anglican traditions. All are welcome!
This is a shorter 30-40 minute service (no communion).
Join us the following Thursdays at 7pm:
May 24, June 7 and June 21 -- August 16
This mid-week contemplative lay-led service of candlelight, scripture, and prayer rooted in the Lutheran and Anglican traditions. All are welcome! For more information contact us.
Mark your calendars for Holy Week and please plan to join us and invite friends and neighbours who may not have a church of their own. The presence of old and new faces is a blessing for us all. If you don't usually attend all the services during Holy Week, and are considering joining us for the first time, here is a quick orientation:
Palm Sunday -- begins joyfully, marking Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. We create our own mini-parade, waving palm branches and singing around the church (you are welcome to stay in the church if you have mobility issues or are just shy). By the end of the service, we look ahead to the more sombre events of Holy Week.
Maundy Thursday -- perhaps even more powerful than Good Friday service. This service marks The Last Supper followed by Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and his arrest. We include the ritual of the washing of feet in the service -- purely voluntary-- in which we re-enact Jesus taking the place of a servant, humbling himself to wash the feet of his apostles and friends. The service ends with the stripping of the altar and the placement of the cross on the altar. We leave in silence.
The service is preceeded by a simple shared meal at 6pm -- this is optional.
Good Friday -- service is actually a continuation of Maundy Thursday service. The mood is sombre, many of us dress in black, as we mark Jesus' suffering and death on the cross. We include a participatory reading from the Gospel depicting Jesus' trial and Crucifixion. We leave in silence.
Easter Sunday -- Celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus with praise and singing.