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.

Saturday
Oct142017

Losing Our Religion Documentary

"Losing Our Religion" will play on the Documentary Channel across Canada Sunday, October 15 at 9 p.m. ET & 10 pm PT 

"Losing Our Religion is a feature length documentary about preachers who are not believers, and what atheists do when they miss church. Allowed access to the 600 members of The Clergy Project – a safe haven for preachers from all faiths who no longer believe – the documentary follows ex-members and clergy who are still undercover.
They are not just losing their religion, for many they are losing their friends, community and even family. As well as their job.
As events unfold that change lives forever, their stories also connect with secular communities that are growing in surprising places. New groups are experimenting in ways to have church without god, and asking the same question as unbelieving clergy - "what's next?"
Losing Our Religion is a documentary about community, acceptance, and a view inside the complicated lives of clergy who are stranded in the rising tide of non-believers." - www.losingourreligion.ca

Watch the trailer HERE

 

Tuesday
Sep262017

West Hill Wants to Talk! - Maritime Conference

Folks from West Hill United, alongside Gretta, continue the dialogue in the Maritime Conference:

Commitment to Community, With or Without God:

Promoting Respectful Dialogue As we look to the Future of The United Church of Canada with Gretta Vosper and members of West Hill United Church.

The United Church of Canada is in a time of radical transition. Membership is in steep decline and its future is uncertain. The congregation of West Hill United Church and their minister, Gretta Vosper, with a vision of what the church might become for another generation, have radically redefined what it means to them to be a United Church Community. They have done so, even as Vosper’s life-time involvement with this denomination has taken her to a place where she now self-identifies as an atheist. That has led many to conclude that she has disqualified herself from ministry. Her congregation continues to affirm her ministry. We have invited them to tell their story and share their experience. This is another of those challenging moments in the life of our denomination. We face it at a time when civil discourse is hard to come by; when the tactics of the politics of polarization have affected us all. In this environment it is easier to find echo chambers for our own opinions than it is to engage those with whom we disagree. The need to find common ground and common cause has never been greater. When people will not speak with one another, there is slim hope for finding that common ground. So we invite you, whether traditionalist or atheist or somewhere in between, to join us with your questions and concerns. The aim of this time together is to hear and to understand one another. In an atmosphere of trust we hope to consider whether and how the United Church might provide space for all of us.

Two Options:

Monday, September 25

Afternoon and Evening Sessions begin 1:00 PM and 7:00 PM

Trinity United Church 36 St John St, Shelburne, Nova Scotia

To Register: Contact Joanne McFadden tuc.shelburne@ns.sympatico.ca 1 (902) 875-2943

OR

Wednesday, September 27 A full day of sessions:  10:00 AM, 1:00 PM and 7:00 PM

Forest Hill United Church 45 Kimble Court Fredericton, New Brunswick

To Register: Contact Murray McFarlane murrayfmcfarlane@gmail.com 1 (506) 461-1579

 

Registration Information

  Please connect with the contact persons by email (preferred) or telephone with: - your name, address, email & phone contact information.

The registration fee will be yours to determine - a free-will offering - either in advance of our time together or upon your arrival. Please be generous in support of this important exploration.

All are welcome, please invite the committed and the curious to come with you!

Saturday
Sep232017

Fall Clean-up

The building and grounds at West Hill will be given our TLC on Saturday October 14th and we'd love for you to join us in the gardens! All hands, hearts, gardening tools and supplies would be greatly appreciated as we get set to tidy, weed and get ready for the coming season.

Donations of bulbs, or yard waste bags would be wonderful!

9AM-3PM  Pot luck lunch planned!


If you'd prefer to lend a hand inside, we'd also appreciate help sorting and organizing some storage areas, and possibly an office or two. 

Please sign up in the lobby or contact he office if you'd like to lend a hand.


 

Saturday
Sep232017

Holiday Bazaar 2017

WE ARE GETTING READY, feel free to bring your bazaar donations to the church. Sunday mornings are best but Tues. -Thurs. drop offs can be arranged with the office.

This years's bazaar will feature: Our fabulous lunch room and coffee house, baked goods and preserves, WHU Signature Specialties – gingerbread houses and cookies, cranberry sauces, shortbreads, carrot cake, lemon squares, antipasto, brownies, preserves and more!

Nearly New Fashion Boutique featuring gently-used seasonal clothing, a free draw for a seasonal plant with a donation to our community food basket.

Looks pretty exciting! Lots planned and lots to do...help wanted!

 Donate

- white elephant items/attic treasures worthy of a second home, including clean, gently-used seasonal family fashions

- items for our raffle or a gift basket

- books in good condition

- houseplants and garden supplies

- home baking, preserves and other treats

- your time and energy and enthusiasm

Create

- a gift basket, perhaps with a friend. Choose a theme. Look for bargains. Please include a list of contents and approximate value.

- knitted or sewn items

- painted or wooden items

Join

-the Crafty Ladies that meets Tuesdays at 1 pm in the lounge. If you can design, cut, glue, paint, tie, hammer, knit or sew, we need you!

- the groups making antipasto and other home-made kitchen/frozen creations (watch for further details)

-the volunteers needed before, during and after the Bazaar. Volunteer Sign-up sheets are in the lobby.

Invite

- your friends and family to visit our Bazaar on Saturday November 19. They can enjoy a coffee and a pastry, do their Christmas shopping, sit down to a quiet lunch and pick up some baking or other WHU specialties.

 

Wednesday
Sep202017

Rooted In Peace

 

This Thursday is the International Day for Peace. West Hill will be joining thousands of other communities around the world as we watch the acclaimed film, "Rooted in Peace". Join us or join Films for the Planet so that you, too, can stream the video for free and share the event with some friends. We are the way to peace or the way to violence. Choose peace this Thursday. Film starts at 7:30. 

Click here to watch the trailer.

 

Thank you to our comminuty business partners for supporting our events!

Please check out our website for our class schedule, rates and more information: 

 www.inthespirityoga.com or email us at letsconnect@inthespirityoga.com

We’re in Highland Creek Plaza, 376 Old Kingston Road and we’re open SEVEN days a week.  Namaste!

 

Friday
Sep152017

Communion Sunday and Welcome to New Members

Earlier this spring, we opened our arms and welcomed people into our extraordinary space and the inspirational community that enlivens it. In fact, we do that every Sunday.
On October 1st, we will celebrate once again with a special communion service that will offer a pledge to be present to everyone who, on that special day, chooses to become a member of our congregation and, through it, of The United Church of Canada.
 
While we, as a community, make that pledge to the individuals choosing to make West Hill their church home, they, too, make a pledge to us. In so doing, they are making it known that the principles by which West Hill guides itself are those they wish to use to guide their own lives. And they commit to helping us do that as a community.

 

In his ground-breaking book, The Exceptional 7 Percent: Nine Secrets of the World’s Happiest Couples, Gary Popcak presents his analysis of the most successful marriages. Noting that when each partner can identify what he or she wants to be when she or he dies, in other words, the most important ideals or goals in that person’s life, Popcak argues that the best marriages are those in which the partners commit to helping one another meet those goals. And that’s what we’re doing when we embrace new members; we’re committing to help them as they become the people they want to be and they are committing to help us become the church we want to be. It is a beautiful moment in time and one to celebrate. 

If you would like to join West Hill on Communion Sunday, October 1st, please let gretta know by emailing or phoning the office.

Wednesday
Aug022017

Heart and Vision Award Recipients

Council's 9th annual Heart & Vision Awards concert on May 15 was an unforgettable evening focused on reconciliation between First Nations and Canadians of settler heritage. Dr. Cindy Blackstock and the Very Rev. Stan McKay were honoured for their advocacy for First Nations peoples and the concert raised over $9,000 for Council's Community Relief Fund. Watch our youtube channel to see the full length award acceptance speeches.

Dr. Cindy Blackstock

"Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, and Professor, School of Social Work, McGill University

A member of the Gitksan First Nation, Cindy has 25 years of social work experience in child protection and Indigenous children’s rights. 

Her promotion of culturally based equity for First Nations children and families and engaging children in reconciliation has been recognized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, the Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Frontline Defenders and many others." - First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Cananda

 

Rev. Dr. Stan McKay

"Stan McKay, a member of the Fisher River Cree Nation in Manitoba, is a spiritual leader, teacher, and activist. In 1971, he was ordained by the United Church, and between 1992 and 1994, he served as its first Aboriginal moderator. Stan is the recipient of numerous awards, including a National Aboriginal Achievement Award, and he has honorary doctorates conferred by the University of Waterloo, and Winnipeg, and United Theological College of McGill University. He was director of the Dr. Jessie Saulteaux Resource Centre in Beausejour, Manitoba, a theological school that respects both Christian and Aboriginal spiritual traditions. Along with fellow members of the National Native Council of the United Church, Stan successfully advocated for the Church’s apology, issued in 1986, for its role in cultural oppression of First Nations peoples." - speakingmytruth.ca

 

Thursday
Jul132017

Real Peoples Media features the work of West Hill United

West Hill welcomed journalist Tom Keefer of Real Peoples Media to our Sunday service on June 25th. Videos include an interview with Steve Watson, the contribution of Indigenous activist Gary Wassaykeesic in West Hill's service, and the symbolic action taken by the congregation on the day it read the last of 94 Calls to Action articulated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Thank you, Tom, for your diligent coverage of this important piece of work.

Read the article here.

Thursday
Jun292017

"Sawbonna!" On July 9th West Hill Welcomes Margot Van Sluytman

“Sawbonna!”

A Zulu greeting meaning “I see you.”

On Sunday July 9th our guest speaker will be Margot Van Sluytman.

"Margot is a highly respected and sought after speaker, advisor, social justice advocate. She teaches, entertains, and inspires audiences about how to be liberated from fear, anger, resentment, and hatred. Her remarkable story of both restoring and re-storying her life after her father’s murder, includes meeting the man who committed that crime. Margot knows about confrontation.

She knows about confronting.

She knows about resiliency.

Margot practices Sawbonna, an approach to life that focuses on witnessing or seeing someone’s humanity and spirit. She actively expresses and shares her own inner self with others. In her workshops and speaking engagements, she teaches what Sawbonna is, and how to use this practice to be released from all forms of victimhood." - Sawbonna. wordpress.com

We invite you to listen to Margot as she sat down with Anna Maria Tremonti on CBC Radio's The Current. Margot's story has been included in The Forgiveness Project and you can follow her blog "Sawbonna, Sibling of Restorative justice".

Please mark you calendars and plan to attend this very special presentation.

 

Thursday
Jun082017

Petition the House of Commons to Honour the Treaties

West Hill United Church Calls on the Federal Government

to Honour the Treaties with Indigenous Peoples.

This past Sunday the congregation at West Hill United Church read the last of the ninety-four recommendations made to all levels of government by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reviewing the Residential Schools legacy in which The United Church of Canada was complicit. Our congregation has been reading one of the recommendations in its weekly Sunday gathering since September, 2015.

This morning Monday June 26th, West Hill United is hosting a Press Conference to publicly launch a petition calling on the Government of Canada to honour both the spirit and the letter of the treaty relationship it has with Indigenous Peoples in Canada and challenging it to take immediate action to address inequities between Indigenous and general population communities with respect to clean drinking water, education, housing, health and social services. The launch of the petition is scheduled to coincide with national celebrations of Canada’s 150th birthday, a celebration undermined by the country’s troubled legacy with Indigenous Peoples.
A special emphasis in the petition is youth suicide prevention. Asked for assistance intervening in an Indigenous youth suicide pact last year, Health and Welfare Canada refused citing an “awkward” budget period. In the wake of that decision, three youth in the community have completed suicide. It is this failure to act which has instigated the petition action.
In 2013, our West Hill congregation collected 3000 signatures petitioning the House of Commons. The petition was read by Conservative MP Cornelious Chisu, then representing the Pickering-Scarborough East constituency in which WHUC is located. Few of the situations cited in the 2013 petition have been adequately addressed.

This morning, we invite the community to read and sign the Treaty Relationship Petition. 

We have deliberately chosen to keep the petition in a paper format, rather than on-line, as we hope to engage our friends and neighbours in face-to-face dialogue  about the issues the petitions raises. We encourage you to print several copies and share it widely to foster these important conversations!

We see the petition as but one of many positive steps the United Church of Canada and Toronto SE Presbytery have taken as part of the healing and reconciliation process with Indigenous Peoples and ourFirst Nations Study Group at West Hill United Church is pleased to report that the Justice and Global Issues Team of Toronto SE Presbytery has decided to co-sponsor this petition.

 

Please read the cover Letter, then sign and share the petition widely.

Click here for the Treaty Relationship Petition

If you would like updates as to the status of the petition and when it will be presented in the House of Commons, please let the office know. Click HERE to email.