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Welcome

West Hill is a people, a place, and an idea. We are a community living out a progressive faith, striving to make a positive difference in our own lives, the lives of others, and the world.

Our mission:

Moved by a reverence for life to pursue justice for all, we inspire one another to seek truth, live fully, care deeply and make a difference.

Over the past many months, we've been challenged to engage broadly about who we are and what we see the future of church can be. We'd be delighted to talk with you about it and have extended an invitation to congregations across the country to reach out if they are interested in having a conversation with us. It can be about what this "theologically non-exclusive" church is really like. It might be about the rise of the "Nones" and how we are engaging them. You might want to just talk about the review of our minister. Whatever your interest, we will find a way to engage. So be in touch and let's set a date. 

Support West Hill!  Learn more or donate now through CanadaHelps.


The latest news, videos and perspectives from our community:

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Thursday
Jul132017

Real Peoples Media features the work of West Hill United

West Hill welcomed journalist Tom Keefer of Real Peoples Media to our Sunday service on June 25th. Videos include an interview with Steve Watson, the contribution of Indigenous activist Gary Wassaykeesic in West Hill's service, and the symbolic action taken by the congregation on the day it read the last of 94 Calls to Action articulated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Thank you, Tom, for your diligent coverage of this important piece of work.

Read the article here.

Thursday
Jun292017

"Sawbonna!" On July 9th West Hill Welcomes Margot Van Sluytman

“Sawbonna!”

A Zulu greeting meaning “I see you.”

On Sunday July 9th our guest speaker will be Margot Van Sluytman.

"Margot is a highly respected and sought after speaker, advisor, social justice advocate. She teaches, entertains, and inspires audiences about how to be liberated from fear, anger, resentment, and hatred. Her remarkable story of both restoring and re-storying her life after her father’s murder, includes meeting the man who committed that crime. Margot knows about confrontation.

She knows about confronting.

She knows about resiliency.

Margot practices Sawbonna, an approach to life that focuses on witnessing or seeing someone’s humanity and spirit. She actively expresses and shares her own inner self with others. In her workshops and speaking engagements, she teaches what Sawbonna is, and how to use this practice to be released from all forms of victimhood." - Sawbonna. wordpress.com

We invite you to listen to Margot as she sat down with Anna Maria Tremonti on CBC Radio's The Current. Margot's story has been included in The Forgiveness Project and you can follow her blog "Sawbonna, Sibling of Restorative justice".

Please mark you calendars and plan to attend this very special presentation.

 

Thursday
Jun082017

Petition the House of Commons to Honour the Treaties

West Hill United Church Calls on the Federal Government

to Honour the Treaties with Indigenous Peoples.

This past Sunday the congregation at West Hill United Church read the last of the ninety-four recommendations made to all levels of government by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reviewing the Residential Schools legacy in which The United Church of Canada was complicit. Our congregation has been reading one of the recommendations in its weekly Sunday gathering since September, 2015.

This morning Monday June 26th, West Hill United is hosting a Press Conference to publicly launch a petition calling on the Government of Canada to honour both the spirit and the letter of the treaty relationship it has with Indigenous Peoples in Canada and challenging it to take immediate action to address inequities between Indigenous and general population communities with respect to clean drinking water, education, housing, health and social services. The launch of the petition is scheduled to coincide with national celebrations of Canada’s 150th birthday, a celebration undermined by the country’s troubled legacy with Indigenous Peoples.
A special emphasis in the petition is youth suicide prevention. Asked for assistance intervening in an Indigenous youth suicide pact last year, Health and Welfare Canada refused citing an “awkward” budget period. In the wake of that decision, three youth in the community have completed suicide. It is this failure to act which has instigated the petition action.
In 2013, our West Hill congregation collected 3000 signatures petitioning the House of Commons. The petition was read by Conservative MP Cornelious Chisu, then representing the Pickering-Scarborough East constituency in which WHUC is located. Few of the situations cited in the 2013 petition have been adequately addressed.

This morning, we invite the community to read and sign the Treaty Relationship Petition. 

We have deliberately chosen to keep the petition in a paper format, rather than on-line, as we hope to engage our friends and neighbours in face-to-face dialogue  about the issues the petitions raises. We encourage you to print several copies and share it widely to foster these important conversations!

We see the petition as but one of many positive steps the United Church of Canada and Toronto SE Presbytery have taken as part of the healing and reconciliation process with Indigenous Peoples and ourFirst Nations Study Group at West Hill United Church is pleased to report that the Justice and Global Issues Team of Toronto SE Presbytery has decided to co-sponsor this petition.

 

Please read the cover Letter, then sign and share the petition widely.

Click here for the Treaty Relationship Petition

If you would like updates as to the status of the petition and when it will be presented in the House of Commons, please let the office know. Click HERE to email.

 

 

Friday
Jun022017

Refugee resettlement. We won't let them journey alone.

Ibrahim is an atheist blogger and activist in Bangladesh who has received repeated death threats because he wrote about atheism, LGBTQ freedoms & Islamization.

He not only expressed his beliefs, but stands up courageously to uphold the principle of basic human rights. The penalty for doing so is death, often carried out by vigilante groups; the violence generally condoned by local governments.

Talking and writing about a humanist way of living is not tolerated in many parts of the world. Many of Ibrahim’s friends have been murdered by AL-Queda in Bangladesh, others have fled to escape brutal murder; he is one of those seeking safety for his family.

We won’t let them journey alone! Now you can help bring them to Canada.

Ibrahim and his family are UNHCR recognized conventional refugees. They hope to continue their journey to Canada through West Hill United Church’s sponsorship agreement with the Canadian Government.  Their application has recently been accepted by Canadian Immigration Services and is currently being reviewed for processing.

You can help by offering financial assistance as they plan for resettlement. 

Donations can be forwarded through CANADAHELPS.ORG

Please direct funds to the West Hill Refugee Resettlement fund and CanadaHelps will provide you a charitable tax receipt.

Your support for the Khalil family is very much appreciated and will offer security to a family who have not known safety in far too long!

Friday
May262017

First Nations Study Group - May Meeting


The Federal Government is considering creating a Reconciliation Trail in the Rouge Valley and our local MP, Gary Anandasangaree, has suggested that our First Nations Study Group may have a role to play in the creation of this trail.

Dorine, who is assistant to Mr. Anandasangaree will be our guest on May 29th to tell us all about the proposal for the Reconciliation Trail, our possible involvement, and to answer questions. 

Please join us if you are able, on Monday May 29th at 1 p.m. for some great conversation and important community planning. All are welcome!

 

Friday
May262017

Flow into Summer at West Hill

Friday
May262017

10th Annual South-East Scarborough Pow wow

Thursday
May182017

The Blanket Exercise

West Hill United has been invited to join Rabbi Denise Handlarski, spiritual leader and Program Director of the Oraynu Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, as they lead a
Blanket Exercise.
We plan to meet at the Borochov Cultural Centre in North York on Sunday June 25th at 4 p.m. MAP Spots are limited due to the venue; please let us know you'd like to attend so we can RSVP on your behalf.

ABOUT THE BLANKET EXERCISE

"The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is an interactive learning experience that teaches the Indigenous rights history we’re rarely taught. Developed in response to the 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples—which recommended education on Canadian-Indigenous history as one of the key steps to reconciliation, the Blanket Exercise covers over 500 years of history in a one and a half hour participatory workshop.

Blanket Exercise participants take on the roles of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Standing on blankets that represent the land, they walk through pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance. They are directed by facilitators representing a narrator (or narrators) and the European colonizers. Participants are drawn into the experience by reading scrolls and carrying cards which ultimately determine their outcomes. By engaging on an emotional and intellectual level, the Blanket Exercise effectively educates and increases empathy. Ideally, the exercise is followed by a debriefing session in which participants have the opportunity to discuss the experience as a group. This often takes the form of a talking circle." - Kairos

Watch Video HERE

 

Thursday
May182017

Spring Clean-up

The building and grounds at West Hill will be given our TLC on Saturday May 27th and we'd love for you to join us in the gardens! All hands, hearts, gardening tools and supplies would be greatly appreciated as we get set to tidy, weed and plant for the coming warm weather.

Donations of bulbs, plant cuttings and yard waste bags would be wonderful!

9AM-3PM  Pot luck lunch planned!


If you'd prefer to lend a hand inside, we'd also appreciate help sorting and organizing some storage areas, and possibly an office or two. 

Please sign up in the lobby or contact he office if you'd like to lend a hand.


 

Friday
Apr282017

Social Innovation challenge

Now is the time

Develop your concept, discover new partners, and compete for a chance to win start-up funding!  Focusing on proposals that have financial sustainability, positive social impact, an environmentally friendly focus, or are spiritually grounded, the winning ideas will have the support of mentors from across the business world, receive start-up funding, receive ongoing support, and create connections with many other like-minded people from around the local community.

The Social Innovation Challenge Details.

Read more about the Toronto Event here.