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Volume 13, Number 2 Dear Iona Friends; As the Advent season rapidly approaches, thoughts turn to Christmas and all the activities and celebrations surrounding this special day when we celebrate God‟s love coming to us in human form as a little baby born in Bethlehem. Perhaps this is such an old and familiar story for us that we find it difficult to catch the wonder, the shock that God would do such a thing - especially for US! Christmas is a very busy and exciting time for our family. Somehow all our children and spouses find a way of working things out so we can be together for at least part of the day. We share a feast together, open some presents, but mostly we just talk and laugh together and celebrate both Christmas and being together. Of course our little grandson is the centre of attraction, at least until it becomes too much for him and he needs a sleep. Come to think of it, I have been known to catch a little nap on Christmas day too. I am also aware that Christmas is not a time of celebration for all people - even all people in our congregation. Some are alone at Christmas. Some feel the loss of loved ones even more acutely on that day. Some look at all the celebrations and feel left out. If you feel more like this than joyful, please call me. We can have a good visit at Christmas time, and I will find someone in the congregation who would love to spend some time with you on that special day. In making this rather bold statement, I also need some Iona folks to step up and volunteer to host or visit someone for a while on Christmas day. Please call me!

November 2008 I make this bold statement because I believe that after 13 years I know the people of this congregation well enough to be sure you will come through. After all, I‟ve seen you do it again and again. I‟ve seen you all rally around people in the hospital or shut in. I‟ve seen the support and caring you have given to caregivers. I have seen you sacrificially support the work of Evangel Hall, Presbyterian World Service and Development, the food bank, the shopping bag ladies, helping street kids keep warm, the Christmas hampers for our community. I have also seen you respond generously when our congregation has faced difficult times and decisions. You have impressed me so many time over the years with your faith, your kindness and your generosity. We may not be the biggest church in town, but we have a big heart. Many people‟s hearts and lives are touched because the people of Iona show the love of Christ in our community. At Christmas, one of the best ways to show Christ‟s love is to invite someone to church with you - a neighbour, a relative, a co-worker. The cantata and Christmas Eve service are two great opportunities to introduce others to the Iona family and perhaps the real meaning of Christmas. God bless you all. And have a wonder-full Christmas.

Parish Nursing Ministry HEALTH and FAITH What does faith have to do with health, if anything? How are my faith and health connected? If I am ill, does that mean that my faith is not strong enough? These questions have significant implications for all of us. God wants us to be healthy (“But I will restore you to health…declares the Lord”, Jer. 30:17) and to live in nurturing relationships with Himself and others. We tend to focus on physical health, divorced from the other aspects of our being. But we are not a series of disconnected compartments (body, mind, spirit). We are integrated wholes (bodymindspirit); what affects one part of us also affects the others. Spiritual or mental distress causes a cascade of neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain that flood the body causing physical effects. Long-standing or repeated stresses can result in serious and permanent physical damage. Similarly, physical illness disrupts our lives and results in mental and spiritual distress. Illness tends to be isolating, removing us from the support of friends and community, increasing our distress and interfering with our mechanisms for healing. Let me give you an example. She came into the church office asking for something from the food cupboard and for money for bus tickets to visit her adult child, hospitalized with a mental illness. She was distraught and hated asking for help. It became clear that she was very lonely and isolated, grieving and ashamed about her child‟s illness, and also dealing with the recent death of a family member and a move into a new neighbourhood. Although she was not physically ill at this point, she was certainly suffering mental and spiritual distress which interferes with immune system function. Her move and her child‟s illness had isolated her from all her previous support systems. Along with some food and a little TTC money, we listened to her story, gave her support and encouragement, and invited her to join us for Sunday worship in order to introduce her to a new supportive community. “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers [sisters] of mine, you did for me”, Matt. 25:40. Will she come? I don‟t know, but we have done the best we could for today. We can also pray for her and leave the rest in God‟s hands. Today we have made a start at validating someone‟s experience, strengthening self-worth, and making a connection. This is a healing process. As Christ‟s servants, we can all do this. This example illustrates how spiritual distress can affect physical health, and how we can contribute to others‟ healing. Asking how our personal faith and health are connected can help us reflect on ways in which our faith helps us to deal with our own and loved ones‟ health challenges. Research shows that people with a strong faith and good social support are generally healthier than those without them. Clearly though, even with these blessings, we still experience illness. Does this mean that our faith is deficient? Absolutely not! It just means that we live in mortal bodies open to attack from many sources. Seeking support from Scripture, prayer, and trusted friends as well as health professionals can help us to cope with problems. Accepting what we can‟t change and entrusting ourselves to God also helps to reduce stress, fear, and frustration, thus improving our physical and mental health. At this Christmas season, let us focus on our blessings, including health, and share the Good News. Margaret Black, Parish Nurse Page 2


Fall Activities CORN ROAST On September 14 we held our annual Corn Roast. A get-together for all of us at Iona to start off the fall season; while enjoying fellowship and swapping tales of the summer past. Once again, a heart-felt thanks goes out to all who contributed with serving and cleaning up.

TRI-CHURCH GARAGE SALE On September 20 the TriChurch sale was held with a large amount of clothing and merchandise being donated by many people for the purpose. The net proceeds from the sale amounted to $2,090.00 This was divided equally between our three churches. Thanks to all contributors and workers alike who helped make it such a success. On September 28 a Tri-Church outdoor service was held on the front lawn of our building. Following the service, a luncheon was served and everyone enjoyed a period of fellowship with lunch.

On October 26 the Tri-Congregational Parish Nursing Ministry (TCPNM) prepared and presented three hour-long programs entitled ‘Living With Diabetes: Who’s In Control?’ Three sessions were run, one in English, one in Cantonese and one in Mandarin. The interest in the subject was exemplified by the large number of people who attended all the sessions. The TCPNM can be justifiably proud of its efforts in this program and others that came before it. The speakers, Dr. Michael Chu, Dr. Jeff Lin, Margaret Black, R.N., Sylvia Baker, R.D and Daphne Gordon, R.P.N., are to be congratulated for their very professional and informative presentations. IONIAN

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Announcements November 30 - First Sunday In Advent We will be beginning our morning at 10:50 a.m. with Carol singing (you get to pick what we sing). Service will begin at 11:00 a.m. as usual. We are also doing the Advent Candlelight service from PWS&D. If you would care to participate in the readings please sign up on the bulletin board list or speak to Bob Williams.

December 7 - Second Sunday In Advent We will be holding a memorial service for two of our elders who died during 2008, Gordon Cameron & Murray Ross, during the worship service. We will also celebrate Holy Communion.

December 7 - Combined Choir Cantata The combined choirs of Iona, St. Cyprianâ€&#x;s, St. Christopher and Trinity will present this years Christmas Cantata at the church at 7:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to bring family and friends. Refreshments will be available after the cantata.

December 12 - Iona Annual Christmas Party Refreshments at 6:00 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. The dinner will be catered and a basket will put out for donations if you are able to help with expenses. We pay the caterer $12.00, but we want everyone to come, whether you can pay the sum or not. Every year we seem to break even with expense. This will be another great night of excellent food, singing, games and fellowship. A sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board. Please let us know by Dec.7 if you can attend. Bring a relative or a friend.

December 13 - Saturday Christmas Hampers The Christmas hampers will be packed with food, and childrenâ€&#x;s gifts, then delivered. Wanted : people to help with packing and people with cars to deliver the hampers. Can you help? Please speak to Gloria Cuthbertson.

December 14 - White Gift Sunday

Envelopes will be available for any donations to Evangel Hall, our inner city mission. We would also like to take lots of warm clothing to the Hall, like coats, gloves and hats. Any food brought will go into our own community food bank.

December 24 - Christmas Eve Candlelight & Carol Service Service will start at 7:30 p.m. Bring your family and friends to celebrate with joy that Page 4


Announcements the love of Jesus is in our hearts and community.

December 28 - Combined Service The Dec.28 combined service will be conducted by Allan Kirk. Jim and Linda will be on holiday in Florida from Dec. 26 to Jan. 3 visiting Jim‟s mother and enjoying the sights. Please note - December 28 is the last Sunday for credit to 2008 official offering receipts. Subsequent offerings will be credited in 2009. Also, Poinsettias used for decorating the church will be available for purchase soon. More information will be available in our church bulletin.

Christmas Flyer - A Tri-Church flyer has been published to be distributed in our community. The flyer advertises the various Christmas services of our three congregations and invites people to come and visit us. We need some volunteers to help deliver our portion of the flyers. Please speak to Jim Biggs if you can help.

From Session: We have experienced the loss of a number of our beloved members this year, and we have a few who are experiencing serious illness, and a few who have recently retired. In spite of all this sorrow and worry the congregation has continued to generously support the work of our church as well as Presbyterian Sharing, Presbyterian World Service & Development, Evangel Hall and other outreach projects as well as Tri-Church activities. We are truly blessed in the people who comprise our wonderful family. While we are nearing the end of this year, we would ask everyone to take note of our need to concentrate on trying to end the year in black ink. It has been a costly time for all our churches in having to replace a major portion of our building‟s roof - with the remainder to be completed in about three years. Our „rainy-day‟ financial provisions that we try to maintain to meet emergencies has been depleted through the roof costs and to partially meet the cost of correcting the accounting error in our minister‟s benefit entitlements. We will be starting off the new year with a need to complete our future roof fund provision of $35,000 within the next three year period. In that regard we have raised over $4,000 so far. We should also try and re-establish a rainy-day provision. It presents a challenge for all of us to find ways to augment meeting our financial needs, to increase our focus on the care and support of our Iona family members, to increase open communication among ourselves for wider knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses, and to continue to seek out better ways of doing things to improve our worship service and to ensure that everyone of our family is finding what is needed for them in our church life. In the days and weeks ahead, the Session will be listening for your comments and input. It requests your prayerful support and guidance as we look toward our immediate future. IONIAN

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A Politically Correct Christmas Story

Cont’d overleaf

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A Politically Correct…..cont’d

A little girl asked her mother, “How did the human race appear?” The Mother answered, “God made Adam and Eve and they had children, and so was all mankind made.” Two days later the girl asked her father the same question. The father answered, “Many years ago there were monkeys from which the human race evolved.” The confused girl returned to her mother and said, “Mom, how is it possible that you told me the human race was created by God, and Papa said they developed from monkeys?” IONIAN

The mother answered, “Well, dear, it is simple. I told you about my side of the family and your father told you about his.” Remember, once you get over the hill, you‟ll begin to pick up speed. I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food. If it weren‟t for STRESS I‟d have no energy at all. It‟s hard to make a comeback when you haven‟t been anywhere. Page 7

Christmas Bells By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A couple in their nineties are both having problems with remembering things. During a check-up, their doctor told them they were physically okay, but they might want to start writing things down to remind themselves. One evening, while watching TV, the old man got up from his chair. “Want anything while I‟m in the kitchen?” he asked. “Would you get me a bowl of ice cream?” “Sure.” “Don‟t you think you should write it down so you can remember?” “No. I can remember it.” “Well, I‟d like some strawberries on top, too. Maybe you should write it down?” “I can remember that. You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.” “I‟d also like a little whipping cream. I‟m certain you‟ll forget that. Write it down.” Irritated he responded, “I can remember that. You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream I got it, for goodness sake!” He toddles off into the kitchen. After about 20 minutes, he returns from the kitchen and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs. She stares at it for a moment, then looks up and says, “Where‟s my toast?”

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IONA YOUTH UPDATE Do you ever wonder about what our young people are doing? Read on….. The Singing Bourque Sisters: All 3 attended University of Western Ontario‟s vocal music performance program, and have been involved with the Canadian Air Cadets for several years. Elizabeth – Chose to leave UWO at the end of 3rd year; now working in human resources for a small but rapidly-growing employment agency where she currently manages 4 offices locations; lives in own apartment; is Band Officer for Air Cadet Squadron #180 (leads 60 teens in band). Crystal – received BA in Musical Arts in 2007; now working for Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care; living at home, and taking creative writing course; teaches music. Stephanie – received Honours BA in Performance in 2008; working for software company; living at home but planning to move to own apartment in Jan 2009; is Officer in Charge of Air Cadet Squadron #180. Michael Goddard – completed Grade 12 at Sir John A. MacDonald; now working as waiter/ bartender at Moxie‟s Restaurant; writing lyrics for a friend who has own band, and Michael and friend are planning to put out a CD of their original work soon; considering attending college next year for either music or writing. The Hope Sisters: Kristen – graduated in International Relations from Carleton University; did 6-month international internship in Nyeri, Kenya, working with young women and girls to educate and empower them; now working in Ottawa; was extensively involved with Canadian Girl Guides.. Leana - completed Grade 12 at AY Jackson; now working in office and living in own apartment; very artistic, writes poetry, etc.; formerly trained with North York Aquatic Club. Heather – completed Grade 12 and very excited about starting Cognitive Science at York University in Jan, 2009; still living at home. The Lemkes: Monika – in 1st year International Relations, Law, & Government at Carleton University; really enjoying life in Ottawa as she studies, meets exciting people (including 1 Nobel Prize winner), & dabbles in writing; taught karate before university and seen as role model by former student. Stefan – currently doing well in Grade 10 at Sir John A MacDonald; plays in concert and jazz bands at school; helping to teach karate as he works toward his purple belt. Anthony Ramdeen – currently doing well in Grade 12 at Georges Vanier and working part-time at Canadian Tire; plays bass guitar in a light rock group and has started martial arts training. The Ravindrans: Thakshini – after 1 year of pre-med at McMaster University, changed to Business Economics at York University; previously involved in figure skating and girls‟ hockey but no longer has time; enjoys being back at home. Jonathan – currently doing well in Gr. 10 at AY Jackson; plays centre for the North York Knights Minor Midget A hockey; enjoys listening to music. IONIAN

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The Smiths: Sarah – in Grade 11 at Branksome Hall; she is a competitive gymnast training with The Academy For Sport and Fitness in Unionville. Martin – in Grade 10, Upper Canada College; he is on his school's cross-country running team, and is a national-level competitive swimmer who trains with the Toronto Swim club (TSC). The Williamses: Will Jr. – graduated with Engineering Degree in 2007 from Waterloo University‟s Co-op Program; after co-op experiences in energy field is now working for Royal Dutch Shell in Calgary as a field production engineer; in his spare time he engages in mountain biking, cross-country running, snowboarding, cross-country and downhill skiing - and he is dating Kim Montgomery who has an accounting degree from the University of New Brunswick. Lydia – as a result of injuries and repeated surgeries on her shoulder and foot, has been forced to retire from gymnastics after a stellar career including membership on the Canadian Women‟s National Gymnastics Team; is on leave from University of California (Berkeley), where she has a gymnastics scholarship, while she considers options; working in Goderich at Boston Pizza and coaching gymnastics at the YMCA; living with aunt and uncle‟s family. Michelle – currently taking first of 2 years in Grade 12, Interact Program, at Vaughan Rd Academy while maintaining very demanding competitive swimming schedule; for 3 years at VRA, has won the award for top student in her grade in the school; trains with North York Aquatic Club and is on Canada‟s Junior National Swim Team which will compete at Junior Pan Pacific Swimming championships in Guam in January 2009. What a wonderful group of young people! We are very proud of all of you.

Florida Court Sets Atheist Holy Day In Florida, an atheist was against recognition of Christian holy days. He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians, Jews and their holy days. The argument was it was unfair atheists had no such recognized days. The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel declaring, “Case dismissed.” The lawyer immediately objected to the ruling saying, “Your honour, how can you possible dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and others, the Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah. Yet Page 10

my client and all other atheists have no such holidays.” The judge leaned forward in his chair saying, “But they do. Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant.” The lawyer quickly responded, “Your honour, we are unaware of any such observance or holiday for atheists.” The judge replied, ”The calendar says April 1st is „April Fool‟s Day.‟ Psalm 14:1 states „The fool says in his heart, there is no God.‟ Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day.” Whereupon, court was adjourned. IONIAN

The Fight Before Christmas

Softly The Night Is Sleeping

cont’d overleaf


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The Fight cont’d

There was a little old lady who, every morning, stepped out onto her front porch, raised her hands to the sky, and shouted, ”PRAISE THE LORD!” One day an atheist moved into the house next door. He WAS irritated by the little old lady, and every morning he‟d step out on his front porch after her and yell, „THERE IS NO LORD!” Time passed with the two of them carrying on this way every day.

The Ionian Editors: Rev. Jim Biggs & Jim Black Web Site Manager: William Williams Contributions: Margaret Black, Emsie Williams Published by: Iona Presbyterian Church 1080 Finch Ave. East, North York, Ontario, M2J 2X2 416.494.2442 Fax: 416.494.6476 E-mail: Web Site: Page 12

One morning in the middle of winter, the little old lady stepped out on her porch and shouted, “PRAISE THE LORD. Please Lord, I have no food and I am starving, provide for me, oh Lord.” The next morning she stepped out on her porch to find two huge bags of groceries sitting there. “PRAISE THE LORD!” she cried out, “YOU HAVE ANSWERED MY PRAYER.” At that moment the atheist neighbour jumped out of the hedges and shouted, “THERE IS NO LORD. I BOUGHT THOSE GROCERIES!!” The little old lady threw her arms into the air and shouted, “PRAISE THE LORD! HE HAS PROVIDED ME WITH GROCERIES AND MADE THE DEVIL PAY FOR THEM!”

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On September 28 a Tri-Church outdoor service was held on the front lawn of our building. Following the service, a luncheon was served and ev...

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