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:

Want to contribute?  Email the webmaster.

Wednesday
Dec132017

Winter Book Study 2018 - In Search of a Better World

We've chosen a title for the Winter Book Study!

"In Search of
a Better World"

by Payam Akhavan 

"A work of memoir, history, and a call to action, In Search of a Better World, the 2017 CBC Massey Lecture, is a powerful and essential work on the major human rights struggles of our times.In February of 2017, Amnesty International released their Annual Report for 2016 to 2017, concluding that the “us versus them” rhetoric increasingly employed by politicians is endangering human rights the world over.
Renowned UN prosecutor and human rights scholar Payam Akhavan has encountered the grim realities of contemporary genocide throughout his life and career. He argues that deceptive utopias, political cynicism, and public apathy have given rise to major human rights abuses: from the religious persecution of Iranian Bahá’ís that shaped his personal life, to the horrors of ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia, the genocide in Rwanda, and the rise of contemporary phenomena such as the Islamic State. But he also reflects on the inspiring resilience of the human spirit and the reality of our inextricable interdependence to liberate us, whether from hateful ideologies that deny the humanity of others or an empty consumerist culture that worships greed and self-indulgence.

A timely, essential, and passionate work of memoir and history, In Search of a Better World is a tour de force by an internationally renowned human rights lawyer." - goodreads.com


Click here to read cbcradio's review.


Thank you to all those who offered other title suggestions,

we've compiled quite a  reading list!

 

 

Wednesday
Dec132017

The Longest Night

Over the millennia, we have learned to gather together in community to share resources, find protection, increase confidence, hang on to courage. Especially at difficult and dangerous times, turning to one another for support, affirmation, and encouragement is as natural as instinct; we do it intuitively.

Long before recorded time, the power of nature reigned supreme. It birthed us into being, nurtured and sustained us, sent us reeling with its often catastrophic indifference. And as the sun slipped beneath the horizon in the winter sky, our bewilderment must have turned toward despair.

Our attachment to light is primal. We need it. Indeed, we crave it. Our lives could not be nourished without it. And so, even when we can rationally understand the physics of a leaving and returning sun, we find within the cosmic cycles a metaphor for much within our lives.

Join us on one of the two evenings of the Winter Solstice to retell the story of darkness pressing over light and light's ongoing triumph. We'll reflect on what has been and our complicity in its dark and brutal tale. And then, encouraged in community, we'll move into light and, in so doing, let darkness slip from our hearts.

Mississauga

On Sunday, December 17, we'll be at the home of West West Hill in Mississauga84 Burnhamthorpe Road in the Community of Christ Church building. This gathering of West West Hill will, as usual, commence at 4:30 for an early potluck meal as we do every third Sunday of the month. Our service,The Longest Night, will start at 6:00 that evening, necessarily compressing our informal time together. 

Scarborough

We'll gather on Thursday, December 21 at our Scarborough location, 62 Orchard Park Drive, three blocks east of Morningside Avenue on Kingston Road. The service commences at 7 p.m.

We look forward to having you with us. After all, who wants to be alone on the longest night?

Saturday
Dec092017

Friday Evening "Play" for Grown-Ups

In a world where aging appears to equal memory loss and aging is frowned upon, the art of play is lost.  This six-week program will bring play back into your life.  During this Friday evening program, we will explore the art of playing while utilizing meditation and self-discovery. 
 

This program is designed to create, through meditative experience, an opportunity to awaken the senses.

 In a world that is moving so quickly and, with technology taking over most daily actions, it is important to purposefully sit down and create space for thought and self-exploration. This introductory 6-week program is your opportunity to explore yourself, your thoughts and to how to settle your mind. By doing so you will soon see physical changes, such as a lowered heart rate, lower blood pressure and better sleeping abilities.
This program will include breathing techniques, relaxation tools and overall body awareness.

Dates:  Friday Evening Play Program 6:30 – 9 PM

Jan 5 and 19, Feb 2 and 16, Mar 2 and 16

Cost:  Small fee will be set to offset cost of supplies and materials.

Email the office to register.

Friday
Dec082017

50+ Aging Well Seminar

January 20th 9:30-12:30

Are you tired of hearing all the stories about AGING?  Let’s explore the concept of getting “Younger Next Year”!  This three-hour workshop will include teaching, awareness and awakening to how you can feel younger and look fantastic while using only the tools at hand.  Basic fitness techniques will be discussed along with a lesson on antioxidants and free radicals and the challenges in your body!  Watch for more details in the upcoming weeks. 

 

This seminar will be facilitated by West Hill's Cynthia Breadner.

Cynthia is a graduate of Laurentian University with a BA Hons in Gerontology and Religious Study.  She graduated 2013 from Emmanuel College with an M.Div. which has sparked her passion for spiritual care.  Matthew Fox defines Spirituality as “our everyday experiences of depth and deeper meaning and the connection that they carry.  Spirituality is present wherever we undergo or observe deeply”.   She has worked with aging adults for many years teaching and growing her understanding of optimal aging.  To age well is to do so with purpose and passion.  Cynthia is a mother of two, grandmother of two, an avid runner and triathlete, a health and fitness instructor with a passion for sharing and teaching.  The culmination of her experience and training combined with her supercharged personality make her fun and approachable.

Register in the lobby of call the office to save a seat.

 


Thursday
Dec072017

West Hill hosted 30 people at our Watch Party! 

Every year for a single day, the Climate Reality Project invites us to unite across the globe to demand solutions to the climate crisis. Renowned scientists, business leaders and a star-studded cast come together to give voice to our committment in taking the steps to solving this crisis.
 
Deb Ellis hosted a Watch Party at West Hill United Church on Monday evening, bring together over 30 people to watch part of the broadcast of 24 Hours of Climate Reality with Al Gore and others around the world. Thank you Deb!

West Hill hosted 30 people at our Watch Party! 

If you’re ready to learn more about what’s next for the climate movement – and how you can get involved – this action kit will help you uncover the potential for solutions and change. 
Download the free Make It a Reality - Action Kit now for a thorough look at the issue and ways you can participate in the fight for a bright, sustainable future right now. You’ll learn how to:

  • Inform others on the basics of climate change.
  • Answer common questions about the climate crisis.
  • Use social media to raise your voice online.
  • Contact relevant decision-makers in your area.
  • Connect with trained experts for a personalized look at climate solutions.
  • Become a trusted messenger about climate action in your community.

Together, we will help solve the climate crisis.
Click HERE to learn more

Wednesday
Dec062017

Singing the Season

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 on December 10th at 7 p.m. for this signature event and invite your friends and family for a lovely taste of West Hill's unique perspective. 

Wednesday
Dec062017

White Gift Sunday

The Outreach Committee, in conjunction with Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities 

has volunteered to make Christmas Hampers for 10 families with children. 

You can help share the joy!

We invite you to:

 · donate food!  

* see list of items most needed

 · donate a toy!  

Choose a stocking from the board in the lobby and return the un-wrapped gift with the stocking attached, on Dec. 11th

 · contribute financially! 

White Gift envelopes are in the lobby. Insert your cash or a cheque payable to West Hill United Church, and place it in the collection plate.

· deliver hampers!

Volunteer to help with delivery of the hampers.

For information please contact Dorothy Hirlehey, the Outreach Committee or call the office 416-282-8566

Most needed items to fill our Holiday Hampers:

Canned vegetables & fruit

Cereal, pancake mix & syrup

Cookies, cake mix

Tea, coffee, hot chocolate

Canned meat & fish, beans

Peanut butter, jam

Boxed stuffing, cranberry sauce

Canned gravy, instant potatoes

Holiday treats


 

Tuesday
Dec052017

Winter Book Study 

Thank you for voting! (Closed)


Our winter book study kicks-off in January. The 12th will be the first of our bi-weekly gatherings, but to get the ball rolling we need to choose a book! If you plane to attend this year's book study or would like to read along with us, please vote for the title that catches your interest. In fact, pick the top 3 and send them along to the team who will tally the results.

 

Saturday
Dec022017

Fundscrip Gift Cards - A perfect time to order!

Do you shop, dine, or gas up at any of these great Canadian retailers? If so, read on...

Will you be picking up a gift card or two this season? We have had wonderful success with folks ordering gift cards for regular weekly expenses such as groceries, pharmacy and fuel, as well as those little extras for gifts, entertainment, restaurants and retail goods. 

From 1% to 10% of our everyday purchases will be automatically donated back to West Hill United Church! 

 

Imagine buying groceries and gas, clothing, and entertainment, things you already buy each week from your favourite stores, while earning money back to West Hill United Church.

A complete list of retailers is available at on the FundScrip website at Retailers.

You'll also find list of special deals that offer us a boost when purchased during that mothly promotion.

Hmm....Sounds good. So, what’s the catch?

The catch, if there is one, is that you need to be a little organized in your shopping; however, you already buy groceries and gas on a regular basis. You know how much you spend and where you like to shop. So, as it turns out, the idea of buying gift cards for those purchases a couple of days in advance isn’t such a “catch” after all. Just imagine, if you spend $200/week on groceries and you pre-purchase your grocery gift card through our group, that is $6.00 back to West Hill United Church per week.

In 10 months, you alone could earn a minimum of $240.00 back to West Hill United Church, simply by doing something you do everyday … and that is just groceries. Add gas, entertainment, and clothing and that amount will rise substantially.

The only other "catch" is that you need to come to the Church to pick up your purchases...or you could designate someone to pick up your purchase on your behalf.

Enrollment is easily done via Enrollment Link. Our Group Invitation Code is YWVFVW.

As always, we thank you for you generous support!

 

Friday
Dec012017

Affirming Service this Sunday

Join us for our Affirming Celebration this Sunday!

West Hill became an Affirming Congregation, officially welcoming LGBTQ2S people into leadership roles at West Hill, in 2009. In fact, we had included diverse sexualities and genders in congregational leadership for some years before but realized that, from the outside, it was hard to tell we were welcoming. Since our initial celebration, we've recognized our diversity every year on the first Sunday of December.

In the past WHU has hosted members of the LGBTQ community - George Smitherman, Kathleen Wynn, Kamal Al-Solaylee, EJ Kwandibens, and others. Irene Miller joined us when she was President of PFLAG.
This year we are welcoming Pascal Murphy and Sarah Jean Harrison who will share their inspirational story for those of us who wish to do more in our own communities as allies.

Pascal Murphy

Pascal is an award winning Instructor at Ryerson University who teaches in the areas of Homelessness, Disasters and Social and Environmental Justice. He was critical in the creation of the Social Justice and Peace Studies program at King’s University College at The University of Western Ontario and completed his degree in this program in 2004, followed by a Masters in Environmental Studies at York University in 2009. Today, Pascal is Board President for St. Clare’s Multifaith Housing Society, one of Toronto’s largest non-governmental/non-profit affordable and supportive housing providers. Pascal is a passionate advocate for social justice, a vocal advocate for the LGBTQ2S+ community and co-founder of Peace Flag House, a community-orientated creative agency in Toronto, Ontario focused on cultivating positive social and environmental change.

Sarah Jean Harrison

Sarah Jean Harrison is a social justice activist, educator, publicist and digital storyteller that believes in the power of a good story to change the world. She holds a BAH in Women’s Studies and a Masters in Environmental Studies. Sarah Jean has been an educator in the fields of social and environmental justice for over 12 years and is currently an Instructor at Ryerson University where she teaches on homelessness and poverty. Her educational approach draws upon the work of Paulo Freire and Popular Education, focusing on the notion of praxis – combining theory with practical action. Sarah Jean applies her educational approach to developing strategic communications for ethical and sustainable non-profits, businesses and lifestyle brands at Peace Flag House, a community-orientated creative agency she co-founded in Toronto, Ontario that focuses on cultivating positive social and environmental change.