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Pandemic-era comedy performance by Grignon at Cambridge Street United

in Opinion by
Denis Grignon poses with two of his blank-faced audience members for a recent performance at Cambridge Street United Church.

It’s not that I was nervous.

After more than 30 years as a touring standup comedian, playing way too many “Tonight Only! Comedy! And Chicken Wings!” shows in roadhouses with an apostrophe in their names – O’Toole’s, O’Malley’s, O’Sheah’s, O’Lord-Get-Me-Outta-Here – I’ve become inured to even the most unwelcoming and uncharitable audiences.

“Thank you,” I’d say after my closing bit, often with no small hint of sarcasm. “And good night (enter town name here).” Then I’d get in my truck and drive off, thankful that I was unlikely to ever meet any of them again.

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Ring the bells that still can ring

in Community/Just in Time by
Ring the bells that still can ring
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. Photo: Roderick Benns.

It’s a warm spring day in London, England. Sunday May 19, 2019, to be precise. My cousin, his girlfriend, and I have just left the famous Globe Theatre where we took in a performance of William Shakespeare’s Henry V.

After walking some distance, we come within sight of Southwark Cathedral, its 13 bells ringing out across the nearby River Thames. (As Charles Dickens, who watched Southwark’s bell-ringers over 150 years ago, reported, “the tenor’s voice becomes louder and louder, the ladder and walls shake more and more, until at last, as we are going to step onto the platform of the bells, we shrink back as from a blow, from the stunning clash of sound with which he greets us.”)

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Remembering the Lindsay Kinsmen Band

in Just in Time by

Back in the autumn of 2003, while in Grade 7 at Central Senior School, I decided to take on an extracurricular activity by signing up for the school band. Those of us who were interested attended a lunchtime meeting in the school’s music room, where instruments were assigned according to what aspiring band members wanted to play. When it came my turn to select a band instrument, I hesitated, not having completely made my mind up Keep Reading

Burial customs, past and present: ‘How they so softly rest’

in Just in Time by
'How They So Softly Rest:' Burial customs, past and present
Riverside Cemetery, Lindsay. Photo: Ian McKechnie.

In 1991, the remains of an Indigenous man which had been unearthed in a Peterborough parking lot some three decades earlier were re-interred in the Curve Lake Cemetery. The actual interment was preceded by a Feast of the Living, with a sweet grass and sage smudge performed by four pipe carriers, and food prepared to accompany the deceased to the land of spirits. The following day, more smudging, honour songs, and offerings of tobacco accompanied the reburial of these 2,000 year-old remains. For the First Peoples, this Indigenous man was now on his way to meet his ancestors, as per their burial customs.

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Valerie’s Blessing will honour late woman and feed hundreds at Christmas

in Around Town/Community/Social Issues by
Valerie’s Blessing will honour late woman and feed hundreds at Christmas
Pastor Joel Holtz with Giant Tiger Manager Judy Sorenson. Photo: Sienna Frost.

Valerie Brunst may have passed away last year at the age of 77, but her gift to her church is ensuring her legacy will go on this Christmas — through Valerie’s Blessing.

Pastor Joel Holtz of Calvary Pentecostal Church in Lindsay says Brunst left her entire estate to the church — and now the church wants to find a way to “share some of this blessing with the community at large,” he says.

Brunst cut an eccentric figure, often seen on Hwy 36 about seven kilometres north of Lindsay in front of her house, hitchhiking for a ride into town.

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A Taste of India in Lindsay

in Around Town/Community by
A Taste of India in Lindsay
Lindsay has a growing Indian community. Photo: Jamie Morris.

Resisting the allure of Lindsay Ex candy floss and corn dogs, no fewer than 120 gathered in the St. Paul’s Anglican Church hall for “A Taste of India,” an opportunity for East and West to come together and break bread — well, chapati (a flatbread).

For many of those attending, it was a taste of the homes they’d left behind less than a month earlier for studies at Fleming College’s Frost Campus.

The event was organized by the church’s Youth Leader, Dan Farmer, and his mother, Pam and the purpose, as Farmer explained, was to welcome newcomers to their new community.

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New lives for old buildings: The rural church and rural schoolhouse

in Just in Time by
New lives for old buildings: The rural church and rural schoolhouse

A quarter of a century ago, in 1994, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, South Eldon celebrated its 150th anniversary as a congregation, only to close shortly thereafter. This massive Gothic-revival place of worship – vast in scale compared with other rural churches in the area – is now privately owned.

The sounds of congregational singing have long since died off, the smells and tastes of those delightful dinners so common to the rural church experience are no more, and the furnishings found homes elsewhere, having been sold off at auction. Located at the northwest corner of Prospect and Lorneville Roads, [the former] St. Andrew’s Church still rises from the surrounding landscape, its soaring facade partially hidden by the surrounding foliage.

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Nobody needs my opinion on this

in Opinion by
There has been much discussion on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls report.

There has been a lot of hand-wringing in some quarters over the release of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) report, specifically with the report’s use of the word genocide. Here’s my take on it: my opinion isn’t really needed right now.

See, I’m a white dude. A white dude that’s lucky enough to get to share my opinion sometimes. But now is not the time for me to speak. It’s the time for me, and people like me, to listen. And hopefully learn.

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The limits of church, the duty of state

in Opinion/Seniors/Social Issues by

“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”  — Dom Helder Camara

When we broke the story about many seniors who are falling through the cracks, some spoke up to say this would be a great project for churches to take on. We disagree entirely and are happy to see Kawartha Lakes Paramedic Services begin to fill this gap, thanks to funding from the City for a pilot.

First, let me say that our churches, charities, and non-profits are run by some of the finest people one could ever meet. But it is part of the neoliberal, corporate-first mindset that has normalized the idea of charity to this degree.

The first food bank in Canada opened its doors only in 1981, supposedly a temporary response to a recession. Instead, they have proliferated across Canada as inequality has widened and ordinary Canadians have suffered.

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