Sanctuary for LOVE and LIFE – in the wake of Orlando

York Pride Fest SanctuaryIn the wake of Orlando, we at Holy Cross have the honour of hosting this year’s York Region Pride Fest Worship. As we struggle to find ways to respond to this horrific tragedy, the word “sanctuary” keeps me grounded. While the word sanctuary has its origins in the word for holy and was used to designate a sacred place for worship. As a result of the tradition of sanctuaries providing safe harbour for fugitives of all kinds, the word has come to mean safe haven or place of safety. “Sanctuary” how sadly appropriate for those of us seeking safe haven from the harsh realities so often inspired by perversions masquerading as religion that we shall shall gather together to create a sacred space of sanctuary, in the words of our hymn for the day, “For All the Children.” As I prepare to create sanctuary for others, I keep listening to this rendition which creates sanctuary in me. Shalom….

Empire of Faith: A Brief History of Islam

Jesus & ISISAt Holy Cross, our adult education class has been involved in a conversation about Jesus’ teachings about non-violent resistance and loving our enemies and how or what impact those teachings have on our response to ISIS. During our conversations, many participants have expressed concern about our lack of knowledge about Islam. Without an understanding of the history, traditions, teachings and practices of Islam it is difficult to comprehend just how far violent jihadists deviate from the Islamic faith.  I loved history when I was in school, but I do not recall ever learning anything about the history of Islam. Over the years, I have been blessed with friends and associates who have helped me to realize just how much I have to learn about the faith of my neighbours. My love of history continues to serve me well as I explore the wonders of Islam. I realize that many people just don’t have the time or inclination to put in the hours it takes to gain a working knowledge of Islam. However, we do owe it to our neighbours to gain an inkling of their traditions.  So, as a way to begin to understand the history of Islam, I suggest watching the excellent PBS documentary series, Empire of Faith. Our conversation continue Sunday Oct 26 at 9:15am

Michael Morwood coming to Newmarket this weekend!!!

God Will Never Be the Same

Michael Morwood will speak at Dr. Dennison Secondary School (135 Bristol Road, Newmarket) at Friday at 7:30pm and at Holy Cross Lutheran Church on Saturday & Sunday – tickets will be available at the door! For more about this dynamic thinker follow this link

Morwood poster 2014

ATHEISM for LENT: Week 2 – History of Unbelief

AFL UNBELIEF pastordawn

Watch Episode One of “Atheism: A Rough History of Unbelief” and then john us for conversation March 19 at 10:30am – For details of the program click here


CRACK HOUSE CHURCH – Peter Rollins’ Challenging Critique of “Church”!

In a soon to be released interview for “The Work of the People,” Peter Rollins offers a challenging critique to those among us who are addicted to feel-good Sunday Church experiences. As someone who spends hours of sweat and toil crafting Sunday morning worship services, I must confess to squirming as Rollins’ critique made me feel like a pusher of dubious integrity. Despite my  discomfort, Rollins’ challenge reminds me of the need to “re-think” my own assumptions and aspirations of what it means to be “church”.

Rollins’ critique speaks to the need to broaden our definition of church beyond that which takes place in a building on Sunday morning to a more inclusive understanding of our life together in community.  When church endeavours to embody Christ, we begin to live our lives together as one in the world. Our common life in Christ reaches beyond our addiction to feel-good Sunday morning worship to include our struggle together to become more fully human.

Pete Rollins will be our guest at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Newmarket, Ontario on the weekend of: April 12-14, 2013. I look forward to learning more from this challenging theologian!!!