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.

Thursday
Nov232017

Blue Christmas - December 16th

December 16th from 9:30-2:00

It is that time of year when joy is all around.  Lights, tinsel and gift giving are on everyone’s mind.

What if Christmas time brings sadness or emotional distress? 

Often loss, any loss death of a loved one, loss of a job or relationship, estrangement from family or friends creates sorrow at a time when culture expects you to be joyfilled.  These losses are often compounded during the Christmas season.  What if all you want to say is “Bah! Humbug!” and no one will allow it.  Come and let down your grief.  Share time in a safe space where you can speak openly about your feelings regarding this time of year.   Bring your blues and see if we can leave them in the circle so you can leave with a lighter heart and a purpose to get you through the Santa-season.

A bit about our facilitator, 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.

Please join us for this special session with Cynthia on December 16th from 9:30-2:00.

Let us save you a seat; sign up in the WHU lobby or message the office to register.

Wednesday
Nov222017

Unholy - A Play by Diane Flacks

 

*Gretta will join the cast for a post-show conversation on November 29th.

 

Unholy, written by Diane Flacks, is a examination of contemporary women in organized religion. The play is set as a debate where four female panelists answer the the question: "Should women abandon religion?" The four panelists are: A progressive Muslim Lawyer, an Orthodox Jewish spiritual leader, an excommunicated nun and a lesbian atheist. This play delivers a whip-smart, hilarious debate that becomes personal and heated, allowing for the women to see the connections and disconnections between them. This play was nominated for Best New Play at the 2017 Dora Awards.

Here is Diane's short video testimonial on her reason to speak.

More about Unholyon CBC Tapestry and in Intermission Magazine

About Nightwood:

As Canada’s foremost feminist theatre, Nightwood provides an essential home for the creation of extraordinary theatre by women. Founded in 1979, Nightwood Theatre has created and produced award-winning plays, which have won Dora Mavor Moore, Chalmers, Trillium and Governor General’s Awards. The company is led by Artistic Director Kelly Thornton and Managing Director Beth Brown, who have received public acclaim in artistic excellence, advocacy, and their successful training and development of emerging female talent.

BUY TICKETS

 

Friday
Nov172017

Networked Change in Canada

The team at the Broadbent Institute are thrilled to share with you an opportunity to learn more about the strategies and practices that lie behind today’s most successful advocacy campaigns, based on Networked Change in Canada, a groundbreaking report Broadbent Institute published earlier this year. The report, based on a U.S. study by authors Jason Mogus and Tom Liacas, features Canadian case studies of campaign innovations in this country.

This participatory webinar will provide a deep dive into the principles outlined in the report and into one of the Canadian case studies profiled in the report. Our goal is to share a model that can be learned and replicated by other campaigners for how to blend grassroots participation and organizing with disciplined central planning to win. The webinar is an opportunity for you to learn more about how to put these ideas into practice.

 About the Presenters

Jason Mogus, NetChange

A digital pioneer for two decades, Jason Mogus is the principal strategist at NetChange Consulting (formerly Communicopia). He has led digital transformation projects and campaigns for some of the world’s most recognized social change organizations and movements. In 2012, he created the world’s first report on non-profit digital teams and in 2015 was named a fellow of the Broadbent Institute. His campaigns have won elections and Webby awards, raised millions of dollars, and transformed dozens of institutions, leaders and teams for the digital world.

 Logan McIntosh, Leadnow

Logan joined Leadnow in the spring of 2012, organizing national days of action on climate, democracy and a fair economy. She managed Leadnow’s national organizing program in the lead up to the 2015 federal election. Using a digitally-enabled, narrative-based, distributed organizing model, Leadnow engaged over 5,000 volunteers who had over 50,000 live conversations. Logan loves working with the Leadnow community and is committed to exploring how it can use digital tools to scale the impact of its organizing program, bring new people into the political process, and deliver impact on critical campaigns. Logan is now based in Toronto, but also calls Edmonton and Vancouver home.

 

The Webinar is scheduled for December 5th from 2:00- 2:45 pm.

CLICK HERE for more Information and registration.

Wednesday
Nov082017

Habitat for Humanity - Gingerbread Build

Hi ,

Who knew giving back can be so sweet!

Kick off your holidays with Habitat for Humanity GTA’s 15thAnnual Gingerbread Build.

Here's how you can get involved with this family friendly event:

  • Purchase your Habitat Sweet Home gingerbread kit online.
  • Pick up your kit at one of our three office locations; or 
  • Sign up online to join us at City Hall on December 2nd and decorate your gingerbread house together with other families.

There's no sweeter way for families and children of all ages to give back and make a difference this holiday season. It also makes for a great office team building activity, too!

All funds raised from gingerbread kits help build Habitat homes for families in need of decent, affordable housing.    

Thursday
Nov022017

Colloquy - November 2nd

 

CONVERSATIONS ... for building communities of faith

A Colloquium sponsored by Toronto Southeast Presbytery featuring conversations on Christian discipleship and how we build up the household of faith.

Featuring (among others) Gretta Vosper, Robin Wardlaw, Ellen Vesterdal, Brett Boyko, Tom Reynolds, Bronwyn Best, members of the West Hill congregation and other communities of faith.

Our purpose is to hear one another, make space for differences and build on common ground. 

Live streaming will be available for this conference.
Please visit the College Street United website on thursday morning to access the link. 
For those who'd like to email questions during the sessions, please do so and the facilitators will do their best to have them included and addressed. 


Thursday, Nov. 2nd, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Keynote conversation: November 2nd - 7:30 pm

College Street United Church, 454 College

(northwest corner of College and Bathurst Streets)

Free admission (lunch is provided)

E-mail Chris for more information: chris.levan4@gmail.com

Conversation Agenda:
9:00 Introductions and welcoming
9:15 A background explanation of how we arrived at this point: Gretta Vosper
10:00 -10:45  Brett Boyko and  Gretta Vosper  Topic: At the beginning of my ministry what should I do to prepare myself…what are the big issues?
10:45 – 11:00 nutrition break
11:00  - 12:15  Robin Wardlaw and Gretta Vosper:Topic: At the end of my career, what have we accomplished and how do you see our community of faith  moving forward?

12:15 – 1:15 Lunch1:15 – 1:30 Current practice and hope: Gretta Vosper

1:30 – 2:30 Bronwyn Best and Gretta VosperTopic: How do we act justly and how do we know that we act justly in the new world we are facing…where do we find our ethical authority?
2:30- 3:00 Break3:00 - 4:00  Chris Levan and Gretta VosperTopic: Is it possible to believe without having an object for that belief?

7:30 – 7:45  The future, Gretta Vosper
7:45 – 8:30 Ellen Vesterdal, Topic: What is the future of Christian liturgy and music?
8:30 – 9:00 Chris Levam and Gretta  VosperTopic: When we die?

This Colloquium is sponsored by Toronto Southeast Presbytery featuring conversations on Christian discipleship and we are so grateful for it’s support.
Thank you to our community business partners for supporting WHU programs!

Thursday
Oct262017

The Observer - Living in Right Relationship

The work West Hill's members do toward establishing right relationship with its Indigenous sisters and brothers (we're all Treaty people) is featured in this month's Observer. Thanks to Kristy Woudstra for an excellent article. Check out "Real reconciliation means taking action" in this month's UC Observer Magazine.


Friday
Oct202017

Allied with the Community at Parkminster United Church

Parkminster United Church in Waterloo will look to artistically re-frame the graffiti left in front of their doors this week. This, just after posting a message on their sign board inviting the community to an LGBTQ and allies potluck dinner this Saturday. 

We want to add our voice to Meghan Gilholm when she says, ”Parkminster will not stand for this hate and neither will I.” Our rainbow flag will proudly welcome the community in West Hill to our Progressive dinner this Saturday evening and we'll be thinking of the folks at Parkminster as we sit down together.

Click here to read the article by Jeff Hicks for The Record.com


Listen as Mike Farwell of AM 570 chats with Rev. Joe and Rev. Heather about the graffiti found at the church. (12 minute mark in the recording)
Tuesday
Oct172017

Celebrated Lives Service

Celebrated Lives Service

 Please join us for this special service on November 5th.

On this day, we will celebrate the lives of love ones we have lost and hold them in the hearts of our community. During the service we will read the names you offer, as we light candles and hold each other in community no matter how far. 

You may contact the office to offer names for remembrance here.

Please message us by Thursday Nov. 2nd.

 

 

Tuesday
Oct172017

Once Again, Putting Everything On the Table

Serious Spiritual Business

Putting everything on the Table

 

Over the past few years, West Hill United Church has been profoundly challenged to engage the nature of their Christian and denominational identity and to imagine what their emerging future church can be. You are invited to join with

 

People of West Hill United Church Toronto

and their minister, The Rev. Gretta Vosper

in conversation with

The Christian Church of 2017

 Wednesday October 25th, 7 – 9 pm

Westmount Park United Church

4695 boul de maisonneuve oust,

Westmount, Quebec

 

West Hill is a people, a place, an idea, 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.

 We have invited congregations from across the country to have a conversation with us. We are delighted to have this opportunity to talk with you, in Montreal, about our experience with the rise of “Nones” in culture and how we are engaging them effectively; to answer questions such as, What does it mean to be a theologically non-exclusive church?; and to share our response to The United Church of Canada’s review of our minister.”

  

Questions about this serious spiritual business of putting everything on the table may arise such as the rise of post-Christendom Church communities, Progressive Christian communities, the difference between non-theist and atheist, can there be a Christian Church without Jesus? 

Can there be a church without God?

 

We gather to meet, to listen, to hear, to share, to part with understanding.

 

 Westmount Park United & Beaconsfield United Churches are pleased to host this evening’s presentation and dialogue for persons of all denominations and none, who are passionately committed to an authentic and  responsible engagement of the theological and ecclesial transformational journey of this millennium.

 

For information please connect with us at 514-937-1146

westmountparkuc@videotron.ca

Saturday
Oct142017

Welcome Ali Rizvi

Meet Ali Rizvi this Sunday as he offers his Perspective(s) on"Grief without belief: How do atheists deal with death?"

 Ali A. Rizvi grew up in Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan before moving to Canada and the United States when he was 24. He has been writing extensively about secularism in the Muslim world for several years, working as a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and being published on major media outlets like CNN.
His book, The Atheist Muslim, follows Ali as he finds himself caught between two narrative voices he cannot relate to: extreme Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry in a post-9/11 world.  It is emotionally and intellectually compelling; a personal story that outlines the challenges of modern Islam and the factors that could help lead it toward a substantive, progressive reformation.
We hope you will join us in Welcoming Ali to West Hill United! 
MORE about "The Atheist Muslim"