February 2020


The Bible - An Intercultural Book
If you were raised in a typical North American church, you might never have been taught that the Bible is an intercultural book. It might sound controversial but archeology, history, and the texts themselves prove it. Our understanding of our religion has been distorted by thousands of years of whitewashing that have told people of colour that they had no place in the story of our faith until white men brought it to them. We now know that is a lie perpetuated in the present day by systematic racism.
From Genesis to Revelation there is a great deal of proof that blacks are present throughout the Bible:
  •  In the Hebrew, Adam (or Ahdahm) is defined as swarthy, dusky, dark-skinned like a shadow.
  • The Garden of Eden was described in Genesis as having been near a four-river system, which today would be near the borders of Eastern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. The birthplace of humanity was confirmed when the oldest human remains were found in Ethiopia in 1974. Science and the Bible are often at odds, but one thing both confirm is that the birthplace of humanity was in East Africa.
  • Many of the Hebrew patriarchs married or had children with women from African tribes. Abraham had children with Hagar and Keturah both from African (Hamitic) tribes. Moses married Zippora, who was Ethiopian. Jacob had children with two handmaidens from African tribes, and these children became the patriarchs of two tribes of Israel.
The Roman Catacombs show biblical scenes painted by first- and second-century persecuted Christians, and their paintings clearly show people of colour. What would early Christians gain from painting these characters black? What did they know and accept that seems unbelievable today?
Some may say we don't need to study the black presence in the Bible and that colour doesn’t matter, but if this is so, why is Jesus painted with blond hair and blue eyes? Why were early pictures of black saints, biblical characters and black Madonnas destroyed? Some will say these items were destroyed to protect people from idolatry, but others would argue that this could not have been the case since they were replaced with icons and photos of white saints and Bible characters.
Onleilove Alston is a community organizer, pastor and writer living in Harlem. She has written that the main reason for studying the black presence in the Bible is because if we can't accept that our Bible is a multicultural book, how can we accept multicultural churches? It is difficult to see the black presence in the Bible because you won’t read the terms black or African, but you will read the terms Ethiopians, Cushites, Egyptians, Hebrews, or other tribal terms. Ethiopia is mentioned 45 times in the Bible; add this to the number of times Egypt is mentioned, and Africa is mentioned more than any other landmass in the Bible. It should also be noted that the "Middle East," including the Holy Land, was connected to Africa until the Suez Canal was completed and previous to that had been referred to as North East Africa.
She has also said that studying diversity in the Bible can open the door to discussions about racial justice and dispel the myth that the Bible is the "white man's book." It is this myth that has kept many people of colour from the gospel. By whitewashing the Bible, we prevent future generations from experiencing the beauty of the biblical text. People of colour should know that they have always played a central role in God’s plan for humanity and were not an afterthought of the creator.
I would challenge you this Black History Month to ask yourself if it was proven that Jesus was black, would this change your devotion to him?

Rev. Kathi
From the Chair of the Leadership Circle
This is my first Communiqué article since last December. Is it too late to wish you all the best for 2020? The year has started with tragic news of airplane crashes, political conflict and a global health scare, to add to our concerns about global warming. These concerns are added to our own personal pain and longings. To address this tough start to 2020, CBC radio was asking listeners to phone in with their stories of positive things that had happened to them during the week. We at EMUC are blessed in that week after week, life in our community gifts us with much to be grateful for. So, take heart and while acknowledging the realties with which we live, let’s look for moments of grace and work, each in our own way, to make our small space a better place to be. 
In January, the Congregational Growth Committee focused on sharing the findings of various consultations with the congregation. They have provided talking points for congregants to use when inviting others to join our community. These talking points focus on the values we hold as a community. If you’ve been present at Sunday worship in January, you’ll have heard committee members share about our values of: Living Spiritually, Openness to All, Helping Others, and Connection and Friendship. (For more detailed information on the work of the committee see January’s Communiqué.) Each of us has a role to play in achieving the goal of congregational growth. I invite you to approach this goal with an outward focus, with open and humble hearts that seek, with intention, to engage difference.
The Black History Month Planning Committee spent much of January planning a series of special worship events for the month of February. In the past and this year, many who are not of African heritage joined the organizing committee or supported us as we put in place all the pieces needed to make meaningful worship experiences. The whole process, planning through execution, seems to me to be a true intercultural experience – as we share leadership, learn more about each other, open up courageous conversations, and delight in the unique gifts of the Black Community. Join us for worship in February, for services infused with music, liturgy and messages that affirm the Black experience (details are outlined under the Upcoming Events section of this Communiqué).
Finally, be sure to mark your calendars with EMUC’s Annual Meeting, which will be held on March 1. The 2019 Annual Report will be available on February 23 , giving you the opportunity to review it before the meeting. At the meeting the budget for 2020 will be presented as well as nominations for important positions in our governance body. Be sure to be there to share your ideas, ask questions and have your input into the operations and leadership of the community.
All the best for the rest of 2020!

Dianne Hope
Chair, Leadership Circle
Condolences are sent to Janet Liddy and her entire family mourning the death of Janet's mother, Helen Liddy who passed away on January 19. A private family service will be held at a later date.
Thanks to:

  • Rev. Kathi, Sylvia Arnold and the entire Worship Committee for organizing all the Christmas services
  • Len Feldman and the Chancel Choir for all the special Christmas music
  • Linda Lee for her brilliant idea of building a forest at the threshold to the sanctuary to promote our theme for “Joy to the World”
  • The worship coordinators who coordinated for the extra services through Advent and Christmas,
  • Nancy Blackport, Impromptu and Off the Cuff for their contribution to the Candlelight Carol service
  • Georganne and Rhana Vickery for folding the extra bulletins for Christmas Eve
  • Karen Colwell, Hermine Bingham and Sylvia Arnold for leading worship on December 29 while Kathi was away
  • All those who helped to take down and pack away the Christmas decorations
  • Hollis MacEwen for donating two turkeys for the turkey pot pies
  • Loaves and Dishes for making turkey pies and tourtieres for sale
  • Rev. Kathi for helping to organize the Beer and Hymns event
  • The Congregational Growth Committee for their presentations about our values during the month of January
  • Sylvia Arnold, Peter Kiteley, David Brignall and Barb Jennings for setting up the sanctuary for the Café Sunday service and all those who helped take down tables after the service
  • Everyone who supplied food for the lunch after the Café Sunday service
  • Congregational Growth Committee for organizing the Table Talks about our values
  • Lauren Witterick for sewing the quilt block for the Peace Quilt and Sandra Witterick for overseeing this project.

Open Door Dinner
As in previous years EMUC prepared and served dinner at Square One’s Open Door, November 28, 2019. The end of November gets busy with Christmas preparations but as usual everyone came through. A big thank you to all the folks who made casseroles, salads, baked goodies, contributed drinks. We even had a last minute dish “hot from the oven” delivered to the Open Door, impressive.  This has become a yearly tradition and as long as there is a need we’ll continue.  Thanks as well to my helpers, Gene Green, Trish Campbell, and Mary Anna Williams.
Submitted by Lorraine Moore
Life at EMUC
Peace Quilt Project
In November, EMUC was contacted by Amtul Ahmad of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Mississauga inviting EMUC to be part of a peace project to bring faith communities together. Each faith community was invited to complete a quilted block that would be put together to form a beautiful quilt. The completed quilt would be shared with all faith communities who participated.
EMUC agreed to participate. In December, the pieces for the block were given to us. Lauren Witterick sewed the pieces together and the block was sent back for assembly. In January, EMUC provided our logo which will be placed in the middle of our block. As far as is known, EMUC is the only United Church taking part in this project. Thanks to Lauren for the work she has done and to Sandra Witterick who has been the contact for this project. Below is a picture of the completed block. We will share more information as the project progresses.
Beer and Hymns  

On January 27, nine United Churches in Mississauga came together for the first Beer and Hymns event held at the Erin Mills Pump & Patio. Over 70 people arrived to enjoy food, drink, hymn singing and community. Music was provided by Dennis Kwok, a multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, performer and composer who is the music director at Cawthra Park United Church. Many uplifting hymns were sung joyfully over the evening and were heard throughout the entire restaurant. It was a fun-filled evening with lots of laughter and opportunities to meet new people. Thanks to the Pump & Patio for providing the space for this event free of cost and to their staff who patiently served a larger than expected crowd.
A great whale is worth US$2 million, but not as food. The world population of ‘great whales’ (large Baleen and Sperm whales) is worth $1 trillion for the following reasons:
  1) Carbon sequestering – it is calculated a great whale traps 33 tons of carbon dioxide in its body. If the whale world population was restored to its pre-industrial levels their carbon capturing would equal the trees in a large national park.  Conversely a car emits approx. 4.6 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
  2) Farmers of the seas - their excrement is rich in iron and nitrogen which triggers blooms of microscopy plankton, krill feed on plankton, whales eat krill – a closed loop. When whales die they sink to the bottom, causing sea bed blooming as their bodies deteriorate and are consumed. Whales mix the oceans currents as they feed in zones close to the poles and move to the equator for birthing.
 3) Tourism, as we know, is a flourishing economy on both sides of our country. Even in Japan the younger population are not eating whale meat at the same level as previous generations. They are appreciating the value of whale watching instead.  
This is a précis  of an article from Washington Post reprinted in the Toronto Star late 2019.
Submitted by Mary Anna Williams.

Table Talks about EMUC’s Core Values

Sunday, February 2 was an interesting Sunday. Firstly, the service was a café-style service. About 50 people enjoyed coffee and sat around tables during the service which focussed on the teachings of Jesus to seek justice and love kindness, and walk humbly with our God. We celebrated communion, which was served around the tables.
After the service, everyone was invited to a buffet lunch and to participate in Table Talks about EMUC’s core values, namely, Living Spiritually; Openness to All; Helping Others; and Connection and Friendship. The focus was talking about our church to other people in the community and how to invite people to EMUC.
Everyone had fun during a Jeopardy game around the values. Discussion was enthusiastic and varied. The exercise identified different types of people outside our walls (e.g., a lonely person or a person wanting a spiritual connection), who might benefit from being part of our faith community. It gave people a chance to become more comfortable talking about who we are as a church and to think about how to speak to others to invite them to EMUC. An interesting and fruitful Table Talk, for sure!
Upcoming Events

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16 at 10 a.m. 
Rev. Maya Douglas - Guest Minister
Guest Musicians - The Tonettes

Coffee and conversation will follow the service

Once again this year we will be collecting small travel size toiletry items - shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash, toothbrush, toothpaste, creams, lotions, etc. Please bring your items to the church and deposit in the labelled box. 
We will be collecting over the next several weeks for distribution at the Open Door at the end of February. Thank you.

On Friday, February 21 at 8:00 p.m ., everyone is invited to attend a multi-faith service at Solel synagogue. The service will focus on the traditions and philosophy of Shabbat.  Please see the signup sheet at the back of the sanctuary, if you wish to attend. We need to RSVP by February 1 .

Come to a festive dinner of pancakes, sausages and much more. Gather at 5:45 pm for dinner at 6 pm. Tickets at the door are $10/adult; $5/child - family maximum of $25. Shrove Tuesday Pancake dinners are rooted in the tradition of using up sugars and fatty foods prior to Lent so that meals during Lent are simpler fare. This is a great time for all ages - invite your friends and neighbours. The men of the congregation are preparing the meal.  Please bring your own plate and cutlery to save on cleanup. The Service of Ashes follows the dinner at 7:00 pm to begin Lent.

The annual meeting will be held on Sunday, March 1, after the service.

Every month, healthy women of childbearing age who are not pregnant, have a menstrual period. Feminine hygiene products are expensive, especially for women who already struggle to pay rent and put food on the table. Many women also come from a background where anything to do with their monthly cycle is taboo or even embarrassing.
In an effort to help our guests who may be challenged with these issues, we are collecting feminine hygiene products (pads and tampons) and non-see-through purses/handbags/cosmetic bags, so that we can discreetly distribute feminine hygiene products to those in need.
Please contact Cindy Young for more information. Donations of items can be placed in the Deacon’s Cupboard basket at Erin Mills United Church.
Please note donations are needed by March 31, 2020.
• Feminine hygiene products - pads and/or tampons
• New or gently used purses, handbags
• New or gently used large cosmetics bags
• Financial contributions to help us purchase supplies

We are embarking on a second collaborative Murder Mystery fundraising evening with our friends at Eden United Church. Rehearsals have begun and we are hoping for two sell out shows. “A Midsummer’s Nightmare” will take place on April 25 and 26.  More details will follow, but please save the date and plan to come out and support this night of fun and fellowship.