Features Musings: Reflectinve Reading The Skating Rink Thank You For Giving
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Departments SGC Discipleship Ministries Resource Centre
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Cover & Design: Clement Lee Contributors: Karen Cassel Garry Lam Sam Lee Gene Tempelmeyer
Delve submissions are due on the LAST MONDAY of each month. To submit for the next issue of Delve, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Musings: Reflective Reading by Gene Tempelmeyer
o you read the Bible with your head, your heart, or both? Different ways to read the Bible are effective for different purposes. The more ways we learn to read it the more helpful Scripture becomes in shaping us as disciples: students of Jesus who by following Him may engage in all that He says and does. If we are attending a Bible Study or Sunday School class, the purpose of that reading is to learn the content of some part of the Bible and how that content may apply to us. We should also study the Bible individually. In this case, we read for relevant and helpful information. We begin with the text and ask: “What did the original readers/ listeners understand this to mean?” We think about the language, the sentence structure, the context, the ideas being presented, and the historical and cultural background original readers would have brought to the text. When we are reading for study we are not ready to ask, “What does this passage mean for me?” until we have answered the first question, “What did it mean for them?” If we are reading 4
about women covering their heads, for example, we want to discover the significance of this practice in the place and time to which the original Scripture was addressed. We can then take those more general principles and apply them to traditions observed in our culture. That said, we are not finished our study of Scripture until we ask the question: “What is this text going to require from me and from us today? What are the implications for living as followers of Jesus in Toronto in 2018? When I was battling cancer quite a few years ago, I learned the power of another way to read Scripture. I had been given a prognosis of six months. If you have been in such a situation you probably found, as I did, that moments of peace were interrupted by waves of anxiety. To combat anxiety I created a booklet filled with passages of one or two verses that had to do with healing, fighting, and experiencing God’s victory. When a wave of anxiety hit me, I would leaf through this booklet and pick a passage to memorize or recite. In this way I was replacing anxiety with more positive food for my mind, heart, and spirit. As one who has had opportunity to study the Bible extensively, I knew very well that quite often I was taking a verse completely out of context! But I was ok with that. I was not reading for information, I was reading for inspiration. That is a whole different thing. This being the case, when we have found a text inspiring to ourselves, we need to understand we have not necessarily discovered the true meaning of the text. The true meaning of the story of Hezekiah’s illness is not that God will heal anyone who asks for a little more time. The fact that I was inspired by that thought and things turned out well for me does not mean that I can promise it “will work” for you as well. We might share our inspirational reading of Scripture with others as personal testimony, but we should not confuse this with the kind of knowledge we gain through Bible study.
There is a third way to read the Bible that may not be as 5
familiar to Protestants as reading for study or personal inspiration. This is reading the Bible as a way of being in the presence of God and hearing His part of a communication with us. The premise of this sort of Bible reading is that the Holy Spirit inspired the Bible in the first place, and God is very comfortable using the Words He inspired to open our hearts and minds to what He wants to say to us now. In this case, what emerges from the text may be even further from the actual meaning of the text than when we read inspirationally. I have a friend who was praying about a job opportunity north of where he lived. As he was reading devotionally, he came to a verse in which God instructed someone who lived a few thousand years ago to travel north. I hasten to clarify that my friend knew this verse was not inserted into the Bible to give him career guidance. He knew very well that it could have been entirely coincidental that he came to that verse that day. Nevertheless, the verse spoke to a deep part of his being and he felt it as an urge of the Spirit to take the new job. I would suggest that before you use such a method to make important life decisions you need to have some experience recognising the deep, quiet voice of the Holy Spirit. This is something, I believe, that comes with experience and practice. As we respond to the internal nudges that come when we read the Bible, we learn to feel the difference between our emotions, our imagination, and the whisper of God. I suggest two processes for reading the Bible reflectively as a way of being present and open to God. The first is generally called “Divine Reading” (lectio divina), although what we call it is not important. That we practice it may be. You probably want to start with 10 or so verses from the Gospels, epistles or Psalms. But any part of the Bible can be read this way. The first step is to get ready. Go somewhere quiet where you are unlikely to be interrupted. Sit comfortably in a position where you will be able to sit for 10 or 15 minutes without needing to rearrange yourself because your foot or your arm is going to 6
sleep. As you breathe deeply, remind yourself that you have set this time apart for God. Invite the Holy Spirit to lead you. When you are resting, ready to engage with God, you may begin. Read the verses in front of you once or twice to simply remember what they say. Personally, I find it helpful to read out loud. As you are reading, pay attention to words, images, or ideas that seem to jump out at you. Pause to savour these things. After a few moments, slowly read the text again. Pay attention to what happens. Does something new jump out at you, or do the same ideas repeat themselves? Why are these things impressing you? What might be God’s message when you put them together? The third reading is a time to talk and listen. As you read, pause to ask God any questions you have as one piece of the text or another seems to stick to you. Listen carefully to an interior voice. I don’t know if it is like this for everyone, but I find I need to pay special attention when a fully formed sentence appears in my mind. Especially if it is saying something I am not likely to say to myself! I often lead the pastoral team in a Divine Reading at our weekly team meeting. I am struck by how often the message that emerges for me in the reading is not at all what I thought it would be when I selected the text. Another method for reading the Bible prayerfully is called “Contemplative Reading.” In this case, we use our imaginations as much as we use words. Once again, ready yourself for an encounter with God. Take a story from one of the Gospels as your text. In your first reading simply refresh your memory of the details of the story, whether it be a parable or an encounter someone has with Jesus. Quickly move to a second, much slower reading in which you try to imagine yourself in the scene as much as possible. Pay attention to the details. What would you have seen, heard, smelled, tasted or felt had you actually been part of the scene? As you come to the end of that sensory reading, what seems to stick with you? Do you more fully relate to one person in the story than the others? Does being in this text leave you happy, sad, perplexed? 7
As you go back for another reading of the text, carry with you any questions you want to ask Jesus as the story progresses. What don’t you understand? Where does this need to speak to you? Again, pay attention to a quiet, interior voice. Again, what comes to you may be surprising. Pay attention, nevertheless. Recently I was contemplatively reading the story of two sons: one who said he would obey his father and didn’t, the other who actually obeyed even when he said he wouldn’t. I entered the exercise knowing that God would likely chastise me for being disobedient. (I don’t have nearly the grace with myself that I generally have with you!) I was completely taken aback with a sentence formed in my head: “You have been obedient.” I actually said to myself, “That can’t be God”! To which the next sentence came: “Yes, it can!” I literally entered into a debate with the Holy Spirit about whether or not I had been obedient. I finally emerged with a recognition that, although my obedience has been far from perfect, God is more accepting of me than I am of myself and He does not judge me nearly so harshly.
St. Ignatius suggested that our encounter with God begins by carrying our mind from our head to our heart. This is not at all the same thing as meditative practices which teach us to get into our heart instead of our head. An encounter with God requires a sharp and attentive intellect informed with the character of God. Our head operates not as a filter but as an interpreter of what comes into the heart. The encounter with God takes place in the heart or, perhaps, better expressed, in the spirit. Our intellect comes along as a companion. If we only ever read the Bible with our head for the purpose of study and understanding, our faith will likely become dry and pedantic. If we only read with the heart, our faith will likely become sentimental and shallow. We need to study. We need inspiration. We need to contemplation and reflection. It’s important to learn all these ways of reading the Bible.
If you are asked to do a group devotional, leading the group through a Divine or Contemplative Reading makes an excellent group exercise. You will need to explain very carefully how to follow these steps. When you have led everyone through all the steps, simply ask what happened. Then listen to each other. Because we are much more used to Bible Study that more reflective reading, commonly people will begin to talk or ask about what the text actually means. It takes some self-discipline to not get distracted by those thoughts, but instead to ask, “What did you hear from God in this exercise?” Everyone needs to listen. This is not a time to explain the text or offer advice. (Why do we always want to fix anyone who tells us about their struggles?) It is a time to simply discern what God is saying and doing in each other’s lives. As with inspirational reading, reflective reading should not be confused with study. That God uses something in a text to speak to me today does not mean I have found the proper interpretation of that text. That is a whole other question. 8
Partnering with Families
SGC Discipleship Ministries
Teenage depression and suicide are way up — and so is smartphone use By JeanTwenge November 19, 2017
Around 2012, something started going wrong in the lives of teens. In just the five years between 2010 and 2015, the number of U.S. teens who felt useless and joyless — classic symptoms of depression — surged 33 percent in large national surveys. Teen suicide attempts increased 23 percent. Even more troubling, the number of 13-to-18-year-olds who committed suicide jumped 31 percent. In a new paper published in Clinical Psychological Science, my colleagues and I found that the increases in depression, suicide attempts and suicide appeared among teens from every background: more privileged and less privileged, across all races and ethnicities, and in every region of the country. All told, our analysis found that the generation of teens I call “iGen” — those born after 1995 — is much more likely to experience mental-health issues than their millennial predecessors. What happened so that so many more teens, in such a short time, would feel depressed, attempt suicide and commit suicide? After scouring several large surveys for clues, I found that all of the possibilities traced back to a major change in teens’ lives: the sudden ascendance of the smartphone.
All signs point to the screen Because the years between 2010 and 2015 were a period of steady economic growth and falling unemployment, it’s unlikely that economic malaise was a factor. Income inequality was (and still is) an issue, but it didn’t suddenly appear in the early 2010s: This gap between the rich and poor had been widening for decades. We found that the time teens spent on homework barely budged between 2010 and 2015, effectively ruling out academic pressure as a cause. However, according to the Pew Research Center, smartphone ownership crossed the 50 percent threshold in late 2012 — right when teen depression and suicide began to increase. By 2015, 73 percent of teens had access to a smartphone. Not only did smartphone use and depression increase in tandem, but time spent online also was linked to mental-health issues across two different data sets. We found that teens who spent five or more hours a day online were 71 percent more likely than those who spent only one hour a day to have at least one suicide risk factor (depression, thinking about suicide, making a suicide plan or attempting suicide). Overall, suicide risk factors rose significantly after two or more hours a day of time online. Of course, it’s possible that instead of time online causing depression, depression causes more time online. But three other studies show that is unlikely (at least when viewed through social media use). Two studies followed people over time, with both studies finding that spending more time on social media led to unhappiness, while unhappiness did not lead to more social media use. A third study randomly assigned participants to give up Facebook for a week vs. continuing their usual use. Those who avoided Facebook reported feeling less depressed at the end of the week. 11
The argument that depression might cause people to spend more time online also doesn’t explain why depression increased so suddenly after 2012. Under that scenario, more teens became depressed for an unknown reason and then started buying smartphones, which doesn’t seem too logical.
What’s lost when we’re plugged in Even if online time doesn’t directly harm mental health, it could still adversely affect it in indirect ways, especially if time online crowds out time for other activities. For example, while conducting research for my book on iGen, I found that teens now spend much less time interacting with their friends in person. Interacting with people face to face is one of the deepest wellsprings of human happiness; without it, our moods start to suffer and depression often follows. Feeling socially isolated is also one of the major risk factors for suicide. We found that teens who spent more time than average online and less time than average with friends in person were the most likely to be depressed. Since 2012, that’s what has occurred en masse: Teens have spent less time on activities known to benefit mental health (in-person social interaction) and more time on activities that may harm it (time online). Teens are also sleeping less, and teens who spend more time on their phones are more likely than others to not be getting enough sleep. Not sleeping enough is a major risk factor for depression, so if smartphones are causing less sleep, that alone could explain why depression and suicide increased so suddenly. Depression and suicide have many causes: Genetic predisposition, family environments, bullying and trauma can all play a role. Some teens would experience mental-health problems no matter what era they lived in. But some vulnerable teens who would otherwise not have had mental-health issues may have slipped into depression because of 12
too much screen time, not enough face-to-face social interaction, inadequate sleep or a combination of all three. It might be argued that it’s too soon to recommend less screen time, given that the research isn’t completely definitive. However, the downside to limiting screen time — say, to two hours a day or less — is minimal. In contrast, the downside to doing nothing — given the possible consequences of depression and suicide — seems, to me, quite high. It’s not too early to think about limiting screen time; let’s hope it’s not too late. Twenge is a professor of psychology at San Diego State University. This article was originally published on theconversation.com.
Questions to Consider 1. What is your family guideline around screen time? 2. How can you have a conversation with your children about screen time? 3. Can this be an opportunity to talk about self-regulation?
Spring Kids Here is an overview of what we will be talking about on Sunday’s for kid’s worship!
Faith at the Table We are offering two workshops after a meal together Sunday, January 28, 12pm-2pm Register by January 21 Speakers: Miriam Little & Brett Ullman Please register at http://tiny.cc/ springfat Faith at the table - April 15 Topic: TBA
Date Night: A night to promote intimacy... March 3rd, 5pm-9pm Babysitting at the church $5 per child *parents are responsible for meals, snacks will be provided
Spring Garden Summer Day Camp 2018 Week 1: July 30-August 3 Week 2: August 7-10
Spring Garden Weekend Camping Trip 2018 (Pinery) July 20-22 14
Pre-K - JK/SK: God’s Love In this series, children will learn that Jesus shows us God’s love. Children will discover that we best know how to love others by discovering the love of God through Jesus. “Let’s love each other because love is from God.” | 1 John 4:7 Grades 1-5 Jesus Is the Promised Saviour Jesus Is King Remember and Celebrate God is Strength
Spring Youth Sunday Morning Worship Gatherings: January 14th and 28th, We will be having regular worship gatherings for youth in grades 6-12. Children and youth will continue their programs and worship gathering in their rooms following the children’s blessing. Youth will meet in the youth lounge.
January 7th: Serve Sunday - We will be joining the upstairs worship this day as the youth band team leads the musical portions of the gathering. Youth are encouraged to serve through the different opportunities available.
Thank you for Giving!
January 21st - Due to the upcoming youth retreat, we will not be having our regular worship time. Any youth who are not on the retreat are encouraged to join the upstairs worship gathering. Life Groups: Life Groups will be on January 12th this month. For more information please contact either Sam or Jeremy for boys life groups, or Kaitlyn (email@example.com) and Diana (diana.boisvert@sgbc. ca) for the girls.
Youth Events: January 26th - Service Project: More information to come Time: TBA Avalanche & Blizzard 2018 We still have some room for our upcoming winter retreats. If you have already paid the deposit, please pay the remaining balance by January 10th, 2018. If not please email Jeremy to reserve spots and for payment options. If you’d like a snippet of what these retreats are like, here are the videos from last years Avalanche and Blizzard retreats. Avalanche - January 19th-21st Blizzard - February 9th-11th **For more information please speak to either Sam or Jeremy.**
As we are printing this issue of Delve we do not have final year-end financial numbers for 2017. But we do know that the news is good! Income exceeded our budgeted needs and we anticipate that our expenses will come in under budget meaning we ended the year “in the black.” We will provide you with the detailed numbers as soon as we have them. Needless to say, this is very helpful! It means we were able to meet all expenses required by our ministry. This includes paying our pastoral team, supporting missionaries in Toronto and abroad, providing resources for worship and ministry here at Spring Garden, and taking care of our building. The surplus also allows us to pay all our bills during the summer months when, predictably, the offerings are lower than usual. Money decisions here are a community activity. We will set the budget for 2018 at a meeting on Sunday, February 25. In plenty of time before this meeting we will distribute the information you need to help us make an informed, prayerful decision. Thank you again for giving to support the ministry we do together!
Staying Updated: To stay up to date on what is happening for your youth, please visit our google calendar which has all our planned events. http://tiny.cc/springyouth
The Skating Rink by Garry Lam
Before coming to Spring Garden Church, I was an active Deacon serving at our old church where I was utilizing my spiritual gift of administration and as you can imagine - the harvest was plentiful but the labourers were few. With the move to Spring Garden Church, I have a lot more free time and this winter I decided to help out more with the natural outdoor skating rink in our neighbourhood (Edithvale Community Skating Rink). This skating rink is maintained and operated by volunteers in the community. This extraordinarily cold winter we have had so far has provided ideal weather conditions to build quality ice to skate on. This process of shovelling snow and flooding the ice has meant numerous hours for me working outside along side with people in my neighbourhood. This has given me the opportunity to simply get to know people in my neighbourhood who I would ordinarily not get to know. We have had a lot of late evenings flooding the ice with just time to talk about life and what is important or not important in it. The skating rink has also given me a chance to better connect with my children and their friends as we've partaken in some good old fashion pond hockey. I've also got to know a few parents better to who I ordinarily would not get to connect with. Ultimately, I feel the skating rink has been a good catalyst to building community. This community is different than what we ordinarily see within the Christian circles; these people are God's children like us but have taken a different journey in knowing God. I pray that through these relationships I can represent the Light of the World or simply normality of what a Follower of Christ can be.
t's been close to half a year since our family joined the Spring Garden Church community, we are thankful that we have been able to adjust well in this community of Christ. Special thanks to the teachers, parents and children who have helped our children adjust to this community.
Spring Garden’s online library catalog can be accessed at springgardenchurch.ca/library
Recomendations From The Resource Centre
Are my kids on track? The 12 emotional, social and spiritual milestones your child needs to reach, by Sissy Goff, David Thomas and Melissa Trevathan
From birth, our children's physical and intellectual development is carefully charted. But how do we know their hearts are on track? You’ll learn the answers to such questions as: At what age should children be able to handle their emotions? When will they learn to empathize? How do they make their faith their own? As you discover appropriate milestones for your child, and encourage healthy development, you’ll also learn the unique patterns of boys and girls, helping both genders to flourish.
If you know of books or DVDs that you’d like to recommend to the Resource Centre, please contact Karen Cassel firstname.lastname@example.org
Cul-de- Sac Kids, collection one and two, by Beverly Lewis A lighthearted chapter book series for young readers written by bestselling author Beverly Lewis! Each book centers on the oftenhumorous escapades of these endearing neighborhood friends as they solve mysteries and learn the value of friendship and faith.
Waves of Mercy, by Lynn Austin Geesje de Jonge crossed the ocean at age seventeen with her parents and a small group of immigrants from the Netherlands to settle in the Michigan wilderness. Fifty years later, in 1897, she's asked to write a memoir of her early experiences as the town celebrates its anniversary. Reluctant at first, she soon uncovers memories and emotions hidden all these years, including the story of her one true love. At the nearby Hotel Ottawa Resort on the shore of Lake Michigan, twenty-three- yearold Anna Nicholson is trying to ease the pain of a broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker. But her time of introspection is disturbed after a violent storm aboard a steamship stirs up memories of a childhood nightmare. As more memories and dreams surface, Anna begins to question who she is and whether she wants to return to her wealthy life in Chicago. When she befriends a young seminary student who is working at the hotel for the summer, she finds herself asking him all the questions that have been troubling her. 22
Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the lifealtering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends.
Leadership at Spring Garden
Pastoral Team Gene Tempelmeyer, Pastor 416-223-4593 email@example.com Greg Kay, Worship and Mission Pastor firstname.lastname@example.org Margaret Sutton, Pastoral Care/Seniors email@example.com Sam Lee, Pastor of Discipleship, firstname.lastname@example.org Michelle Li, Church Office and Communications Manager email@example.com Jeremy Ranasinghe, Discipleship Ministries Assistant firstname.lastname@example.org
Ext. 222 Ext. 224 Ext. 226 Ext. 227 Ext. 221 Ext. 223
Deacons Sam Chaise email@example.com Adora Chui firstname.lastname@example.org Lesley Daniels email@example.com Joanne Laing firstname.lastname@example.org Gonzalo Librado email@example.com Shannon Loewen firstname.lastname@example.org Peggy Moore email@example.com Esther Penner firstname.lastname@example.org Doug Willson email@example.com 24
Garth Barron firstname.lastname@example.org Darlene Boyd email@example.com Cindie Chaise firstname.lastname@example.org Cheryl Chapman email@example.com Joanna James firstname.lastname@example.org Barrie Porter email@example.com Brad Sider firstname.lastname@example.org Corinne Sutton-Smith email@example.com
416.738.0530 416.222.6963 647.928.0862 416.829.4210 647.200.6853 647.704.7710
647-968-5065 905.962.3897 416.806.5373 416-617-6582 416.229.2695 647-202-0701 416.225.2406 416.227.1840 416.221.0450
Discipleship Ministry Interns Sarah Lander - Children’s Intern firstname.lastname@example.org Diana Boisvert - Youth Intern email@example.com Calvin Pais - Parent and Family Engagement Intern firstname.lastname@example.org
Spring Garden Church T 416.223.4593 112 Spring Garden Ave. F 416.223.6126 Toronto ON M2N3G3 www.springgardenchurch.ca email@example.com Prayer Line 416.223.4038 25
Whatâ€™s Happening Life in Spring Garden
Life around Spring Garden
Revelation: What's it really all about? Christians tend to fall into two different groups when it comes to how they feel about the last book of the Bible. Some people think it's a prophetic view of events surrounding the return of Christ and the end of the world, and become obsessed with trying to figure out what the future holds. The rest of us are dubious about this approach, so we tend to simply ignore The Revelation of John (to give it its proper title). After all, how can John's visions of bizarre multi-headed beasts and other equally strange things possibly be relevant to us? But what if it does have something to say to us? Beginning on January 7 th , the Sunday Morning Bible Study group will try to understand Revelation. We will approach each passage with two questions in mind: first, what would this have meant to its original readers, and second, what does it have to say to us today? If you're at all curious about this strange book, come and join us each Sunday morning at 9AM.
Weekly Tuesdays 1:00 pm - Pastoral Team Meeting in Meeting Room Wednesdays 10:00 am -11:30 am - Refresh Women's Group - in West Lounge (childcare provided) 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm - ESL cafe - Wednesday in East Lounge (starting Oct 18th) Thursdays 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm - The Thursday Bunch - in East lounge Sundays 9:00 am - 10:00 am - ESL Bible Class - Sunday in Basement Hallway 9:00 am -10:00 am - Sunday Morning Bible Study - in Meeting Room 10:00 am - 11:30 am - Sunday Morning Worship (communion on the first Sunday of the month) If you would like to receive a weekly email update on whatâ€™s happening in Spring Garden, please visit the SGC website (www.springgardenchurch.ca) and add your email address at the bottom of our home page to subscribe to our weekly update
This Month Jan 13 - Leadership Meeting Jan 19 - 21 - Youth Retreat (pg.16) Sunday Jan 28, 12pm - 2pm: Faith At the Table (pg.14)
Our Values We believe in a humble God who came not to be served, but to serve. Therefore we engage in sacrificial and active service to those around us. We strive to be good stewards of God’s gifts and talents by serving one another in humility. We aspire to regard others as higher than ourselves, which liberates us to creatively take risks in serving others for God’s glory. We believe in a God of grace who came to save the world, not to condemn it. Therefore, as we are continuously receiving the gift of God’s grace, we seek to grow in that grace and extend it to others. We strive to define ourselves by what we are for, not what we are against. We believe in a God who knows us, and who desires to be known. Therefore we embrace a journey of faith that requires us to constantly strive for a personal, intimate and transformative knowledge of God. We strive to be led by God’s Spirit in supporting and encouraging one another in working out our faith. We believe in a creative God. Therefore we are open to expressing our faith in new and creative ways that reflect the beauty and complexity of our creator. We are called to use our creative gifts in worship and service as we engage with our world. We take joy in the diversity of gifts that allow us to delight God and participate in His ongoing story. We believe in a triune, relational God who calls us to come together as a diverse community of believers. Therefore, we want to walk together, supporting one another physically, emotionally and spiritually. We strive to be a welcoming, inclusive family that goes through the joys and the trials of life together, acknowledging that God uses this community to deepen and mature our faith. We believe in a God who loves this broken world and wants to reconcile us to Himself. Therefore we are commissioned by Christ to go out into the world, meeting the holistic needs of the local and global community. God calls us to participate in a redemptive work that he has already initiated; in humility, we will partner with others to work alongside and chase after Him. We believe in a God who is our center. Therefore where we are on the journey is less important than that we are moving towards a deeper relationship with Christ. We believe and participate in God’s redemptive work in all people, which gives us the freedom to come as we are, and to accept others as they are. We each are on a unique journey to become who God has created us to be.