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.

Based in Scarborough Ontario, we have supporters as close as our neighbourhood and all over the world.  You belong with us! Connect with us in person, on the web, or here. We look forward to the journey with you.

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.

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


The latest news, videos and perspectives from our community:

Want to contribute?  Email the webmaster.

Friday
Dec052014

The Longest Night

A baby and a benevolent saint - Christmas symbols of hope and anticipation that lift our hearts.

Long before being chosen by the church as the best date to celebrate Jesus' birth - an occasion for which there is no record - the darkest night in December was celebrated for older, deeper reasons, connecting us with the cosmos in which Earth spins and bringing us these same two things - hope and anticipation; hope that things would improve in our lives and anticipation as we set before ourselves the image of those improvements becoming reality.

Join us on the longest night, the winter solstice, for our most dramatic seasonal service, and be inspired by the festive gifts of hope and anticipation.

West West Hill:  2067 Stanfield Road, Mississauga, ON.  Sunday, December 21, 4:30 p.m.

West Hill:  62 Orchard Park Drive, Scarborough, ON, Monday, December 22, 7:00 p.m.

Friday
Dec052014

Christmas in the Neighbourhood

It's a beautiful time in the city! Lights are twinkling and festivities are scheduled. We're getting excited. But we're also getting ready to help those in our city for whom Christmas can be a trying time financially. We gather food, gifts, and money to fill twelve hampers in cooperation with Scarborough Healthy Communities. If you are able to contribute, here's how to do so:

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec052014

It's Our Fifth Affirming Anniversary!

An opportunity to celebrate and re-AFFIRM

Five years ago, West Hill joined Affirm United/S'affirmer Ensemble. At that time, we were about the 50th congregation across Canada to make the pledge to create a safe place for LGBTQ people to gather and lead. It seemed, when we first thought about becoming an affirming congregation, that doing so was a no-brainer. But that turned out to not be the case. 

In fact, very quickly after we opened the discussion, a few members of the congregation, both straight and gay, raised issues with its consideration. One gay man rejected the notion because West Hill was one of the few placed in his life that he didn't have to carry the gay banner. He liked just being a guy here and worried that there would be more pressure to identify as gay were weto become affirming.

Another congregant argued that, were we to articulate within our documents that we affirmed and welcomed LGBTQ individuals into the congregation, the implication would be that others not specifically mentioned would feel unwelcome - the economically marginalized, those with differing abilities, and individuals living with mental health challenges. He pointed out that the welcoming nature of the congregation, to that point, had been radically inclusive and believed that, should we focus on one particular segment of the population, we might create more barriers where, previously, there had been none. 

They were important conversations to have and not at all the kind normally experienced by congregations while discussing the issue. In the end, it may have been a film that made our choice for us. 

For the Bible Tells Me So is a 2007 documentary that lands responsibility for homophobia directly at the feet of Christian and other religious traditions. It shares the realities faced by five different families, each dealing with the challenges presented them by a culture that identifies LGBTQ sexualities as deviant and sinful. We aired the movie on several different occasions so that, by the time we had finished, over eighty percent of the congregation had viewed it.

And we had to do something to own the error of our tradition and try to make it better.

In December 2009, we celebrated our decision to become an affirming congregation. George Smitherman was our guest speaker. The following year, Kathleen Wynne, then Minister of Transportation, spoke at our first anniversary. Francisco Alvarez, then Chair of Toronto Pride, spoke for our second anniversary and Kamal Al-Solaylee joined us in 2012 to speak on his powerful book, Intolerable, a memoir of growing up gay in the Arab world. Irene Miller, Chair of PFLAG, moved many of us to tears in 2014.

This year, we are expecting the opposite. Deb Pearce is a brilliantly funny speaker who will share her story this Sunday, December 7th, beginning at 10:30. We hope you'll join us for this important date and reaffirm our commitment to the LGBTQ community and its friends.

Wednesday
Dec032014

Darlene Necan and the cry for a better Ontario

On November 9th, Darlene Necan captivated the crowd at West Hill that had gathered to share sandwiches and hear her story. On December 1st, that story went national with coveragy by Reg Sherren of CBC's The National. You can read his moving contribution to her unfolding story here, Reg Sherren Encounters Homelessness and Hunger.

It is essential that we make Darlene's case one that draws the attention of Ontario's provincial government in an effort to have the fines orders placed on her as the result of her building a home on her ancestral land removed. Here are some ways you can do that, drawn up by Steve Watson, one of the principal movers and shakers in West Hill's First Nations' Study Group. If you watched the news segment, you will have seen him speak passionately about Darlene and her situation.

Please call, write, or email the Premier's office and the offices of he Ministry of Natural Resources.  The telephone numbers, email addresses and electronic links to Premier Wynne’s office are below. Telephone calls would be best. Emails, second best. There’s also a feature at the Premier’s website where people can send her a personal message. It’s called CONTACT KATHLEEN. We should have hundreds of people lined up to do just that. Steve drafted a message to save you some time. It could look something like this:

 
“I saw the story on CBC National on Darlene Necan and was shocked to learn this Ojibway woman at Savant Lake has been served a fine by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources only because she built herself a little cabin where her ancestors lived for thousands of years. She was unable to find any alternative housing. It would be far better for the Ministry to give her a permit and stay or withdraw the charges. The Minister could adopt a policy where no further such fines will be issued against homeless indigenous people who build a home on Crown Land until action is taken to end the homeless crisis affecting both on and off reserve indigenous peoples. I would greatly appreciate your personal attention to this matter.”
 
Here are some telephone numbers people can call, some email addresses and an electronic link to her website where people can leave a message at CONTACT KATHLEEN.
 
Hon Kathleen O. Wynne
Don Valley West
 
 
Queen's Park 
Room 281, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A1
Tel
416-325-1941
Fax
416-325-9895
Constituency 
Suite 101
795 Eglinton Avenue East
Toronto, Ontario M4G 4E4
Tel
416-425-6777
Fax
416-425-0350
 

 

 

Thursday
Nov272014

Singing the Season: Sunday, December 14th, 7:15

Any who have joined West Hill for a Sunday Gathering will know that Scott's relationship with the piano is one of passion and . If they have heard him speak, they know he has a riveting presence and a delightful sense of humour.

Those who celebrate Christmas, even secularly, know it as a season that can inspire great acts of charity, and infuse whole communities with a sense of wellbeing and joy.

Singing the Season, West Hill's festive evening of sing along and solos, fuses the wonder of Scott with the beauty of Christmas. It is an evening of celebration, wistful memory, inspiration, and joy.  

Please join us for this signature event and invite your friends and family for a lovely taste of West Hill's unique perspective. 

Tuesday
Nov182014

Those were the days... a concert with Alan Ely and the Voices of Showtime!

We're delighted to be welcoming Alan Ely and the Voices of Showtime this weekend, Sunday, November 23rd, for a concert here at West Hill.  We enjoyed their Juke Box Saturday Night concert so much in the Spring that we asked them to come back to do a second concert with a new line-up.  They've added music from the '40s and are calling it "Some of the Greatest Songs of the War Years and Beyond," the music playing on the radios during World War II and as those soldiers came home, settled back in, and raised families.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m., but come early for good seats!  Tickets are $20 and you can get one ahead of time this week in the office, but we will have tickets available at the door as well.

Check out the Showtime guys on youtube!

Monday
Nov172014

OMG!* Deb Pearce is coming!  

She’s Bold. She’s Funny. She’ll be here on December 7th for our Affirming Anniversary Celebration.

A vocal member of Toronto’s LGBTQ community, Deb got her start in entertainment as a drag king in the early 90's. She is also a singer, and a funny gal. Deb co-hosted season 5 of Bump! on Logo and OUT TV, and has been the morning host on 2 radio stations where she interviewed Lady Gaga, kd lang, Debbie Harry and more. She also hosted an award-winning television show 'foQus with Deb Pearce' on Rogers. Deb MC's hundreds of events throughout North America and has raised thousands of dollars for local  organizations that work with Breast Cancer research and people living with HIV/AIDS.

*Please note: At West Hill, a community of sceptics, freethinkers, agnostics, secular humanists, traditional believers, and atheists, using the OMG exclamation does not necessarily presume belief in the big G. Still, when Deb Pearce is coming, what else could we say?

Sunday
Nov092014

Christmas Bazaar This Weekend!

This coming Saturday, November 15, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., West Hill hosts our annual Christmas Bazaar!  Get the season started right, and maybe get your holiday shopping finished!  We're famous for our themed baskets, ready to gift to friends, family, teachers, service professionals, etc., but we also have a great rummage sale, baked goods, frozen entrees, and a cafe where you can have a nice lunch.  The frozen food alone is worth the trip over.  

Bring your family!  Bring your friends!

 

Tuesday
Oct282014

This Saturday! Anne Walker! In Concert!

We're thrilled to remind you that this Saturday, November 1, we have Anne Walker bringing her docu-musical, The Coulson Women's Institute, to West Hill.  Singer/songwriter Anne Walker returns to her roots with a multi-media presentation. Through the lens of the Women’s Institute, this docu-musical uses original songs, stories, vintage photographs, and historical documents, to trace the changing way of life in a rural Ontario village in the twentieth century.

Walker, whose familial roots run generations deep in the village of Coulson, celebrates and preserves the stories of a rural way of life that is disappearing. Walker has been able to capture the spirit and vernacular of the community. Here is history made relevant as she gathers up the characters, customs and culture of “old Oro” and weaves them into a new cloth with which to wrap our twenty-first century selves. Walker’s personal connections to the community and to the women of the WI-- including her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother-- make this performance a moving and intimate tribute. “The Coulson Women’s Institute” is a loving and deeply human historical document.

We're delighted to be welcoming Anne on Saturday, November 1, at 7:30 p.m. Our building is wheelchair accessible, nut-free, and we strive to be scent free as well. We have a large parking lot, but we are also accessible by TTC via the 86 bus from Kennedy Station.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door or in advance if you prefer.

Tuesday
Oct282014

Hiring a New Receptionist

We're pleased to announce that we're hiring a new receptionist.  We're a dynamic, growing, changing congregation with a lot of stuff going on, and we need a self-starter who can prioritize and juggle lots of things at once.  

Applications are due November 14.  Please refer to the attached job description for more details and information about how to apply.

Receptionist Job Description