Community Centre in London, Ontario, Canada.
When we say that “everyone is welcome” we actually mean it!
Since we believe that everyone is born a child of God and is gifted with the ability to bless the world, we celebrate diversity as the Creator’s plan. You will be accepted here regardless of your point of view, sexual orientation, gender identity, skin colour, marital status or any of the many things other churches may have rejected you for.
Our one rule is the golden rule
…to treat each other as we want to be treated…
with love and respect.
Our church is on Hale St., two blocks south of Dundas St.
(76 Doulton St., London, Ontario – extra parking available at Russel Metals)
Services are at 11AM on Sunday morning with Rev. Paul Browning and are crafted carefully with children and youth in mind.
Come and be a part of building an inspiring and supportive spiritual community!
Trinity and other United Churches in the Middlesex area are raising money to give a dam to church partners in Mozambique. It’s made of concrete and it’s called a sand dam.
Mozambique is in south east African and it is one of the most undeveloped countries in the word. After years of civil war, it managed to become a democratic republic in 1994. Because the counties main religion is Christianity, the United Church was invited to send staff there to work with local churches and community groups. Bill and Ruth Butts have done an extraordinary job supporting education, women’s rights, economic and spiritual development.
A few years ago, Trinity transformed the life of a village by raising money for a well. Before that, women had to walk many hours a day to carry home clean water. Children were drinking polluted water and getting sick and sometimes dying. As with all the projects the United Church does, the well was built by the local people with local materials so that they can maintain it.
Now we are going to help a whole county of people have better food and make some money so they can send their children to school. By combining with the other United Churches, $30,000.00 will be raised to pay for a dam.
The problem is that Mozambique has a tropical climate which means lots and lots of rainfall all at one time and then no rainfall for months. Imagine trying to grow food for a year when you only get to water your garden for one month.
The Sand Dam collects sand and water as the gushing rains flow over it. The sand filled with water remains on one side of the dam, providing water for the rest of the year. This means abundant crops, enough to not only feed the people year round but enough so that some can be sold and the money used to buy school supplies for the children.
Encourage your children and grandchildren to save some of their money and put it in the mission box when the offering is received. You can put your donations on the offering plate or send them by mail or donate on line. Just mark your gift “mission project or dam”. We’ll also have donation cards made up so you can make a donation on someone’s behalf as a Christmas present…a whole new way to give a dam!
We are part of a partnership sponsoring a refugee family settling in London.
To donate to support this cause, click here:
While I’ve never been anti-gay, I haven’t always been pro-Pride. In my 20s & 30s, I didn’t get all the hype about the Pride Parade – I thought to myself, ‘So, you’re gay: what’s the big deal?!’ Now, it is my favourite day of the year! I can’t think of a better way to show the citizens of London, in general, and the LGBT community, in particular, just what some Christians are made of! So, what happened to account for this 180 degree change? For me, it was knowledge.
In 2006, I taught a Gender & Sexuality course at Western. That’s when I learned about Stonewall: the “Rosa Parks moment” for the gay community. On June 28, 1969, patrons at a gay bar, called the Stonewall Inn, in Greenwich Village, New York city, fought back against what was then ongoing oppression from the authorities in what became a pivotal moment in the history of gay rights. These patrons were sick and tired of being harassed by police during raids that were sanctioned by the city. On this particular night, patrons had had enough, and, understandably, a riot broke out. I urge you to Google “Stonewall rebellion” for the details. The crux of it: the patrons were fed up of being treated as second-class citizens and refused to comply with the police. This was the birthplace of modern gay rights, and every year ever since, people all over the globe commemorate it by holding Pride Parades.
“Okay, so, I get it!” For me, then, it was the revelation that gay people had endured this type of legally sanctioned oppression on a regular basis and not all that long ago! After that, I was happy to see coverage of the Pride Parade every year on our local news station, here, in London, Ontario – and throughout the world as well.
Last year, when I learned that Trinity was going to be entering a float in the Pride parade for the first time, Gary (my husband) and I jumped at the chance to get on that bandwagon! What an opportunity to put Christian principles to work in a tangible way. It was an amazing experience. This year, once again, we were happy to join in the celebration.
Of course, when you get to be older, just getting on the float (literally-speaking) can be a challenge! However, once on the float, it was clear sailing after that. It was refreshing to see the wide range of ages of participants on the float. I think Heaven Avery, Barb’s lovely 8 year old granddaughter, had to be the youngest, and my husband, Gary, at 73, was likely the oldest. Of course, we had everything in between: many teens, some young people (under 35), and middle-aged folks like myself and the band members.
And, we had our walk-alongs and ride-alongs – those who didn’t ride on our float but walked (or cycled and often danced to the beat) behind us and beside us joyfully and busily greeting people and handing out chocolates. This included, Eric, Damian, Alex, Siobhan, and Cat with Trinity’s new mascot, Doom – just to name a few. We had some high-energy cheerleaders leading us on with cheers like: “I say RAIN-BOW, you say PRIDE (x5)!” You get the picture. The band (Paul, Cathy, Dale, Kurtis and Rodney) was amazing doing favourites like, “We are Family” which they put their own Trinity spin on by ending the song with the line: “We are Trinity!” Then, I couldn’t believe my ears when the band did a tremendous rendition of arguably one of the best-selling singles of all times, Lady Gaga’s anthem to the LGBT community, “Born This Way”. I felt like the coolest kid on the block! I loved hearing Paul chant those fun lyrics, “Don’t be a drag – just be a Queen.” (x3) The positive energy from this powerful song just exploded both for the Trinity Pride participants (both on and off the float) and for the spectators on the street as we passed them by. The look of splendor and surprise on the faces of the spectators was priceless. Perhaps, their awe was underscored by the fact that we were a “Church float”. It was as if they were thinking, ‘Who knew that church people could be so cool?!’
We may have been the coolest kids on the block, but man was it hot! It was 28 degrees, not factoring in the humidity. Not a cloud in sight. Thankfully, one kind gentleman watering his boulevard sprayed us with his hose as we passed him by – I think it was Divine intervention! And, I couldn’t get over the crowds of people out to welcome us: people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, abilities, etc. How cool is that?! Many had their four legged friends to join in the fun. What a connection we made with the spectators: magnetic and magical all at once. What an honour to put our Trinity principles of respect, kindness, and fairness into action in our community. To quote Paul right afterwards, “What a rush”!
Over 200 people attended the murder mystery fundraisers over two weekends in November (four performances). We had sell out crowds and earned enough money to fund a minimum of 7 Hospitality meals. That’s enough money for 700+ individual meals. On top of that, the second weekend performances raised money for Addiction Services (LHSC) as well as Hospitality. Both great causes deserving of our support as a community of people focused on being kind and helping others.
The play took place at the funeral of an Investment Accountant. One, who has recently come to grips with his sexuality, ethics, and second marriage to a man. The couple share 5 adopted teens; named for the colours of the rainbow. The play itself was not written to be a “gay rights play”, but it did become a vehicle for the cast to show their support and love for those, as the play says (referring to the couples children); “have seen how society treats those who love differently, and it hasn’t been a pretty sight.” This support was reinforced by a performance by three children of the deceased, a powerful same sex marriage song; “Same Love”. Our audiences embraced the message.
Trinity’s values of fairness and inclusion inspired this play, as was evident in the final lines as Hedly (the deceased), asks the Angel: “So, does that mean that God doesn’t really hate Gays? And I am not going to Hell?“ The Angel replies (in classic Trinity fashion); “No… no, no hate, and no Hell. Not for Gays, Women, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, Atheists, or Politicians either. God doesn’t care about any of that; Mankind added that caca by yourselves. God isn’t rules and complex, God is Love, plain and simple. Come on, let’s get you started on that afterlife of yours”
Powerful message inspired by a community that lives those words.
Newfoundland has a rugged beauty defined by mountains rising out of the sea, often with a mist swirling around them. These majestic peaks of ancient rocks date back a billion years to the very formation of the earth’s crust. They fill me with a sense of cosmic awe and wonder at the life force which created them and is still creating.
Last week I was surrounded by such beauty at the 42nd national gathering of the United Church Council held in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Almost 400 commissioners gathered from all over Canada along with 30 representatives of partner churches around the world. 15% of those assembled were under the age of 30 making this the youngest Council in our church’s 90 year history.
Worship was inspiring and mirrored our Trinity fusion of choir and band. We celebrated God’s presence and acknowledged that our families are made up of people of many religions and many forms of atheism. A minister from the American United Church of Christ which we have partnered with said, “We give thanks that we are churches that honour the many ways to respectful, caring, justice seeking living. Even while we seek to grow closer to God, we also grow closer to those who do not believe in God but who share our profound belief in the eternal values of love and fairness for all.”
Those values were embodied in the report of Dr. Marie Wilson, a United church member and only non-aboriginal member of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Married to an aboriginal, she spoke of the heroism of the thousands of children who have been denied the safety and security of growing up in their own families for 5 generations.
She shared the good news that Native Pride is returning and thanked the United church for continuing to be a leader in encouraging a new relationship between Canadians and First Nations, even as our church has shifted from control over Native churches to a partnership of equals.
Lorna Standing Ready, a senior elder of the First Nations Circle shared a brief, but powerful testimony of her time in a residential school. There wasn’t a dry eye when she gave us all sweet grass to take back to our congregations as a sign of reconciliation and recognition that the United Church is continuing to live out its apology in thoughtful and meaningful ways.
I am so proud to be a part of a community in London that gets the fact that our mission is creating a community where kindness is enough, regardless of our labels. We support each other to be the best we can be as we work to make the world a better place. We have clarity that any religion or philosophy that gets in the way of partnering with all people of good will is a bad one. This all too rare approach is possible because we are a part of a larger United Church community that has been journeying toward this kind of inclusion and respect based freedom for 90 years.
An image sticks in my mind as I return home. A speaker from a partner church reminded us that as children we were all taught to colour inside the lines of our coloring books. But in the early stages of our development, we didn’t care about the lines or what colours we used. We felt free to be creative. Purple people and red grass looked just fine to us!
Jesus said, “Unless we become as children, we will not understand God’s plan for humanity; for the Kingdom that is evolving belongs to such as them.”
It seems the child is alive and well in the Creator. Creation colours outside the lines with mountains erupting in Newfoundland, vast plains spreading across the Prairies, ice and tundra filling the Artic. God is passionate about diversity.
This newsletter is filled with signs that we, too, are feeling the hope and joy of that passion as we release the creativity of the child within us and join with God in learning how to colour outside the lines. As the song we sing says,
“My love, colours outside the lines;
exploring paths that few could ever find.
It takes me into places that I’ve never been before
and opens doors to worlds outside the line.”