June / July 2018
Features Musings: Revisiting Sodom and Gomorrah Financial Update Giving to Spring Garden Church Without Using the Offering Plate
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Departments Community Announcements SGC Discipleship Ministries Resource Centre
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Information Contact Inormation Calendar
Cover & Design: Dale Forder Michelle Li Contributors: Victoria Shipmaker Mary Theile Clement Lee Sam Lee Karen Cassel Jeremy Ranasinghe 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
Copy Editors: Sam Lee Karen Cassel Jeremy Ranasinghe Michelle Li Gene Tempelmeyer
Musings: Revisiting Sodom and Gomorrah by Gene Tempelmeyer
am writing this as Pride Week is beginning. The separation of migrant children from their parents in the United States is also in the news. Which of these current events corresponds to the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah? Trigger Warning: the following is the story of a sexual assault. If you have experienced sexual assault you may want to skip to the next article.
The brutal and tragic story of Sodom and Gomorrah is well known. Sodom and Gomorrah have become synonymous with sin and excess – and with homosexuality. But is that really what the story is about? If you want to double check the details, you can find this story in Genesis 18 & 19. After visiting Abraham, two angels made their way to the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to see if the city actually was as evil as they suspected. Upon their arrival Abraham’s relative, Lot, invited them to stay with him. Initially they declined this offer of hospitality as they had planned to simply sleep in the town square – an arrangement that, at this time and in this culture, was expected to be a safe place for migrants and travelers. But Lot was insistent so they agreed to stay at his house. Later that evening, the men of the town, “both young and old”, surrounded Lot’s house demanding that Lot “bring them out to us so we can have sex with them.” 4
This is where an awful story gets even more awful. Lot felt an obligation to protect the visitors under the roof of his house. “Look,” Lot says, “I have two daughters who have not slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.” Does that strike you as a strange offer for a father to make? Do you have a daughter? Would it even cross your mind to offer your daughter to a mob in order to protect strangers to whom you’ve offered a bed for the night? And aren’t Lot’s own daughters under the protection of his roof? The offer does nothing to appease the men of the town. In fact, it only incites them further: “This fellow [Lot] came here as an alien and now he wants to play the judge!” As they renew their effort to break down the door to get at the strangers, the angels strike their attackers blind and tell Lot and his family to get out of town quickly because God is going to punish the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah by destroying the city and its inhabitants. Let’s think about that sequence of events. The offer of Lot’s daughters not only sounds wrong to us, it sounds bizarre. Mentally unhinged. But we should ask this: If the men of Sodom and Gomorrah had accepted Lot’s offer – had they raped his daughters instead of raping men – would God have been any less angry? Is it the same-sex nature of the assault that so angers God? Or is it the assault, itself: homosexual or heterosexual? The strangeness of Lot’s offer should alert us that there is something different happening in that culture than what we experience in our own. The history of humankind flows with migrations of people from one place to another. There were tribes, people groups, and nations, but geographic boundaries were loosely defined and porous. Abraham did not carry a passport when he journeyed from Ur to what is now Israel. People followed food and water. In our modern world, we still do. Migrations from Africa, the mid-East, and Latin America represent a quest for survival and a better life for coming generations. It was so when Jacob’s family migrated to Egypt; it was so when Mary, Joseph, and Jesus took the same road. 5
There were rules and expectations around how such travelers would be treated. There are over 50 references to treating the “alien” with justice and compassion in the Law of Moses. There are two references to homosexuality. But this wasn’t just a Jewish thing. If travelers were not safe, commerce would be strangled, and the inconstancy of drought and plenty would eventually starve everyone. So hospitality to strangers and migrants became sacred. There is a similar story at the end of the Book of Judges which also results in the destruction of a town although in that case the victims of the assault were women. Why is it that so many of us are familiar with the story of men being attacked and not even aware of the almost identical story about women being attacked? Could it have something to do with blinders of our own culture? Many years later the prophet Ezekiel would warn the people of Jerusalem that they were repeating the sin of Sodom. And what does he say this sin was? “Now this was the sin of your sister, Sodom: she and her daughters were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things.” (Eze. 16:4950). Why did the men of Sodom and Gomorrah want to rape the strangers? It wasn’t about sexuality or sexual desire. It wasn’t about homosexuality or heterosexuality. Like all sexual assaults, it was about power and humiliation. It was about who is in charge. Ultimately, it was about intentionally making their city such a dangerous and unwelcoming place no one would try to come share the food no matter how hungry they were. It was about using fear to deter migrants and strangers. The Sodomite men were protecting their position of power in their dwelling place. They were “arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” The Bible can surprise us. Jesus once said, “Every teacher of the law who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasurers as well as old.” (Matt. 13:52). Sometimes we read the Bible and see exactly what we saw before. Other times we look at a text, consider what we have learned from Jesus about the Kingdom of Heaven, and suddenly a shift in the light throws a completely different perspective on it. 6
When we lock ourselves onto what we expect to see, we may well miss what is really there. This is especially so when cultural factors we do not understand are involved in a text. Things that feel off or out of place can be hints that there is something happening that we aren’t recognising So who is the Sodomite? The gay couple celebrating Pride with a rainbow flag? Or the government official separating parents from their children as a deterrent to migration, thus protecting what is “ours”? Perhaps there is no correct answer to such a question. Perhaps the question, “Who is the Sodomite?” is the wrong question. Even a sinful question. Perhaps the Spirit included this horrible story in the Bible not so I can identify who God wants to judge but so I must ask myself, “Am I the Sodomite? How willing am I to welcome into my place and my life those who are different from me? Have I become ‘overfed and unconcerned’?” That I even think it possible that I might be able to identify the Sodomite – that I might be capable of judging those whom God would judge – is a sign that I, too, have become haughty and capable of “detestable things” like hatred, prejudice, violence, and humiliating others to retain my own place of power. The greatest moral challenge I, personally, face at this time is to love people who quote Scripture to justify the evil taking place on the US/ Mexico border or who would think my love for the LGBTQ community should disqualify me as a church leader. The Good News of Jesus for me is the nearness of the Kingdom of God. I cannot do the righteousness of God when my heart is filled with angry walls. Yielding to God’s rule requires me to climb those walls. To set aside my anger: my own, self-induced fire of hell. So I pray a Roman Catholic prayer that increasing has become my own: “Lord, have mercy on us; forgive our sin; save us from the fires of hell; draw all people into Your Kingdom, especially those most in need of Your mercy. Amen.”
Financial Update by Marion Cameron
April Year-To-Date Financial Update Dear Spring Garden Congregation, On Sunday mornings for several week we’ve been thinking about how we belong to one another, and how Spring Garden is a ‘congregationally-governed’ church, which means that, under God, we the people are tasked with charting its direction and resourcing its ministries. Part of the way we do that is through our donations. As leaders who are charged with the task of managing the finances, our job is to keep you informed. Earlier this year as a congregation we approved a budget for 2018 that provided the needed funds for Spring Garden’s work to continue. Here’s how we’re doing to the end of April:
16 Sundays with Worship Services (one cancelled because of weather), with $126,176 of Offerings. AVERAGE OFFERING PER SUNDAY: $7,886 18 Sundays with Worship Services, with $152,163 of Offerings. AVERAGE OFFERING PER SUNDAY: $8,453
As you can see, we are running $567 lower per Sunday this year compared to last. That may not sound like much, but over 52 weeks that would be a deficit of over $29,000. We should also be aware that summer is often a time of lower Offerings. Please keep this in mind as you plan your Offerings in the next few weeks and over the summer. If you would like further information, or would like to see our year-todate financial statements, feel free to contact anyone below. Sam Chaise, Deacon of Finance
Lesley Daniels, Chair of Deacons
Geoff Moore, Treasurer
Marion Cameron, Assistant Treasurer
Giving to Spring Garden Church Without Using the Offering Plate
f you are looking for a way to give to Spring Garden that lets you control what you give and when you give without depending on you remembering to bring an envelope and cash or a cheque on Sunday mornings, please give consideration to preauthorized donations. Once you have this set up, your donations will be withdrawn from your bank account once or twice a month. They’ll be allocated to the designations that you prefer and be immediately available for use by our varied programs at Spring Garden. It’s not a life time commitment. You can change the amount, the designation or stop the withdrawals all together any time you want by providing two weeks’ notice of your change of intention. Just fill out the Preauthorized Debit Agreement on the opposite page. If you won’t be at Spring Garden for a while, you can take a photo of the completed form along with a photo of a void cheque and email both to email@example.com. The next time you are at Spring Garden, just put the originals in an envelope and place them on the offering plate or in Marion Cameron’s mailbox in Michelle’s office. If you would like more information about this option, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring Garden Church Preauthorized Debit Agreement I want to support Spring Garden Church through donations on: Designation
1st of Month
15th of Month
General Fund Missions Caring & Sharing
Total Please debit my bank account (attach a VOID cheque). These debits will be processed on the 1st and/or 15th of each month. Signature:
Donor: Address: City: Postal Code: Phone: Email: With two weeksâ€™ notice (send changes to email@example.com) you may: 1. revoke this authorization 2. change the donation amount and or information
A Reminder to All Parents: If you have little ones, please remember to keep an eye on your children during refreshment time after the worship gathering. They sometimes need your assistance when getting snacks and drinks. You can also explain to them to be careful when moving around the lounge, hallway, and kitchen, and that they should refrain from rough play on the furniture. This is for the safety of our kids, as well as other members of our community. Thank you so much!!
Community Corner Looking for a Graphic Designer? Or a Front End Web Developer? Or a Painted Portrait? Dale Forder, a member of SGC is looking for work, so if you have it, please approach him, call him (416-669-8608) or email him (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank you!
Partnering with Families
SGC Discipleship Ministries 12
Spring Garden Camping Trip to Pinery
July 19-22 or July 20-22 A camping trip for the whole church. Young, old or single. This year we are offering two options for dates. A 2 night or a 3 night option. For more information and to sign up, please sign up through our website.
Spring Garden Day Camps
July 30-Aug 3 and Aug 7-10 We are offering two weeks of day camp this year. For more information and to sign up, please sign up through our website.
Spring Kids From July 1st - September 9th we will be moving into our Summer Schedule. We will be learning about the bible through our “What’s In the Bible” curriculum. Each Sunday after the children’s blessing, kids between the Pre-K (age 3) level and Grade 5 will be meeting in the Children’s theatre to continue their worship. They will be picked up from this area as well. Childcare for Nursery and Toddlers will be done together in the toddler room For any questions, feel free to email Jeremy (jeremy@ springgardenchurch.ca)
Here is what's happening this summer!
Sunday Morning Worship Gatherings: July 1st - September 9th There will be no youth worship throughout the summer. Instead we encourage the youth to join the upstairs worship gathering, or help out with our Summer Sunday ministry downstairs.
Youth Life Groups: During the summer we will be taking a break from our regular life groups.
Youth Events: July 1st - Canada Day, Year End Party!:
After a long wonderful ministry year, we want to celebrate with a bang! We will be meeting at Earl Bales Park for a firepit BBQ and fireworks. You don’t want to miss it! Time: 5:00pm-8:00pm Cost: $5 13
August 5th - Elora Gorge:
After worship we will be heading to the Elora Gorge to spend the day hiking and potentially riding tubes down the river. Time: 12:00pm-5:00pm Cost: TBD
September 15th - Jr High Welcome BBQ:
We will be meeting at Samâ€™s house to welcome the new group of Jr High youth joining our group. This event will only be for youth in grades 6-8. *More details to come in September Delve*
October 19-21 - Fall Youth Retreat 2018:
Our annual fall youth retreat will be coming up quickly, and so we want this to be on your calendar as soon as possible. *More details to come in September and October Delve*
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://tinyurl.com/SGCYouth
Discipleship Ministry Summer Staff
We are excited to welcome some wonderful people onto our discipleship team this Summer. Our summer staff will be working on all of our summer activities, specifically our 2 weeks of full day camp and our Summer Sunday ministry program. If you see them around feel free to say hi!
Kick Off Sunday September 9, 2018 To kick off our fall ministry year, will be hosting our annual fall launch BBQ. Please join us after worship for some food and fun as we prepare for another great year!
Volunteers Needed One of the reasons our Discipleship Ministry is so wonderful, is because of the many volunteers who serve with excellence. Our team has the opportunity to help the younger generations understand, comprehend, and experience the love that God has for them as they worship downstairs. We are asking people to consider serving alongside us, as we do our best to equip our children to use both their hands and feet in, Loving God, Loving Others, Showing Godâ€™s Care, and Sharing Godâ€™s story. Will you consider being part of our team? For more information contact Sam (email@example.com) or Jeremy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Discipleship Ministry Orientation Days We will be holding Orientation Training Days for all our volunteers in the Discipleship Ministry Program. Volunteers are only required to sign up for one of the following days: Septemeber 2nd - 9:00am-10:00am
September 6th -
September 9th -
Coffee and refreshments will be served during the morning sessions and evening session. Food will be provided for both sessions so please let us know which one you will be attending. For more information contact Sam (email@example.com) or Jeremy (firstname.lastname@example.org) 15
Recomendations From Spring Gardenâ€™s online library catalog can be accessed at springgardenchurch.ca/library
A passionate hope, by Jill Eileen Smith Hannah and her husband, Elkanah, share a deep and abiding love, for each other, for their God, and for his tabernacle at Shiloh. Greatly disturbed by the corruption of the priests, they long for restoration and pray for a deliverer. But nothing changes as the years pass. Years that also reveal Hannah to be barren. Pressured by his family to take another wife, Elkanah marries Peninnah, who quickly begins to bear children. Disgraced and taunted by her husband's new wife, Hannah turns again to prayers that seem doomed to go unanswered. Do her devotion and kindness in the face of Peninnah's cruelty count for nothing? Why does God remain silent and indifferent to her pleas? Travel back to the dusty streets of Shiloh with an expert guide as Jill Eileen Smith brings to life a beloved story of hope, patience, and deliverance that shows that even the most broken of relationships can be restored.
The Resource Centre If you know of books or DVDs that youâ€™d like to recommend to the Resource Centre, please contact Karen Cassel (email@example.com)
Redeeming grace, by Jill Eileen Smith Redeeming Grace is the story of Ruth, a Moabite widow during the times of famines in Bethlehem. At first, the family was blessed with happiness. It did not take long before happiness came to an end and the mother and daughter in-law in were left alone in a foreign land. After hearing news that the famine had ended, the women were forced to make a choice whether to return to the Bethlehem or stay and live a life of poverty.
Recomendations From NEW DVDS
A heart that forgives Follow two foster brothers that choose very different paths. Malcolm follows his father's footsteps and begins pastoring a small church while Silk follows a dark road while seeking redemption when it's convenient. The brother and their circle of friends are caught up in a web of life situations and circumstances the force them towards decisions of forgiveness or bitterness that will impact the rest of their lives.
I can only imagine Running from a troubled home life and a broken relationship, Bart Millard found escape in music. Hitting the road in a decrepit tour bus, Bart and his band, MercyMe set out on an amazing journey that none of them could ever have imagined, in this uplifting, music-filled movie that beautifully illustrates the power of forgiveness and Godâ€™s love.
The Resource Centre Final solution The indoctrination of Gerrit Wolfaardt is complete: his family traditions, history, culture - even his church - have taught him that black South Africans are a cancer in the land. Under the eye of prominent members of the government and military, Gerrit develops a diabolical plan to rid South Africa of its "black danger". Before his plans can be carried out, he meets two people who will put him on a collision course with his future: Celeste, an open-minded university student, and Peter Lekota, a pastor who challenges Gerrit's prejudice. His "final solution" meets its greatest obstacle when Gerrit himself realizes his wrong. The persecutor becomes the peacemaker and begins to seek reconciliation between whites and blacks. However, in the turbulent last days of apartheid, there are those who doubt his transformation. One such person is Moses Moreni, whom Gerrit had once violently attacked. In the film's dramatic conclusion, it is Moses who must choose between peace and bloodshed. Based on a true story.
Leadership at Spring Garden Pastoral Team Gene Tempelmeyer, Pastor 416-223-4593 firstname.lastname@example.org Greg Kay, Worship and Mission Pastor email@example.com Margaret Sutton, Pastoral Care/Seniors firstname.lastname@example.org Sam Lee, Pastor of Discipleship, email@example.com Michelle Li, Church Office and Communications Manager firstname.lastname@example.org Jeremy Ranasinghe, Discipleship Ministries Assistant email@example.com
Ext. 222 Ext. 224 Ext. 226 Ext. 227 Ext. 221 Ext. 223
Deacons Sam Chaise firstname.lastname@example.org Adora Chui email@example.com Lesley Daniels firstname.lastname@example.org Joanne Laing â€‹email@example.com Gonzalo Librado firstname.lastname@example.org Shannon Loewen email@example.com Peggy Moore firstname.lastname@example.org Esther Penner email@example.com Doug Willson firstname.lastname@example.org 20
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
Elders Garth Barron email@example.com Darlene Boyd firstname.lastname@example.org Cindie Chaise email@example.com Cheryl Chapman firstname.lastname@example.org Joanna James email@example.com Barrie Porter firstname.lastname@example.org Brad Sider email@example.com Corinne Sutton-Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
416-724-9329 416.385.2483 416.738.0530 416.222.6963 647.928.0862 416.829.4210 647.200.6853 647.704.7710
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
What’s Happening Life in Spring Garden
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 (resume in Sept)* 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm - ESL cafe - Wednesday (resume in Sept)* Thursdays 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm - The Thursday Bunch(resume on Sept 6) Contact Margaret Sutton 416-223-4593 ext. 226 for more info 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)
July 1 - 5:00 - 8:00 pm Canada Day, Youth Year End Party - 7:00 pm Leadership Transition Round Table Discussion (in Multipurpose Room) July 19-22 - SGC Camping Trip to Pinery July 30 - Aug 10 - SGC Summer Camps Aug 5 - Youth Hiking at Elora Gorge Sept 15 - Jr High Welcome BBQ* Oct 19-21 - Fall Youth Retreat* *More details to come in Sept Delve If you would like to receive a weekly email update on what’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 22
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.