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  • “We are more than our genes”

    Interested in faith and science? Do you wonder about the ethics of the latest advances in the biological sciences? What does Christianity have to say about genetic manipulation?

    If you’re intrigued by these kinds of questions, come join members of the CCC’s Biotechnology Reference Group (BRG) on Saturday November 1 for a workshop investigating questions about faith, ethics and biotechnology.

    Based on a curriculum prepared by the BRG, this workshop will also enable you to start discussing these important issues in your own congregation.

    Register online, or call (519) 760 2971

    Cost: $20 (payable at the door). Includes a light lunch and a copy of the workbook “When Christian Faith and Genetics Meet.”

    Date: November 1st, 2014, 9:30 am to 2:00 pm.

    Boardroom 2, Toronto School of Theology
    47 Queens Park Crescent E, Toronto, ON

    Copyright © 2014 The Canadian Council of Churches, All rights reserved.

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  • Engage Difference! Deepening Understanding for Intercultural Ministry

    Logo forumlogo2005less large                             Canadian Churches Forum

    Register now for
    Engage Difference!

    Deepening Understanding for Intercultural Ministry

    6 Days focused on faith, heart, mind, and skills
    for the art of intercultural ministry


    · Fall 2014 series: Oct 3-4, Oct 24-25, Nov 21-22
    Toronto – Registration deadline: Sept 5

    · Winter 2015: Feb 16-21
    Toronto – Registration now open

    · Spring 2015: dates TBA
    Manitoba – Registration open soon

    What people have to say about Deepening Understanding for Intercultural Ministry


    “I grew in self-awareness and grew in my capacity to be in right relationships with God’s people.”


    “It was one of the best learning events I have attended, in that it allowed me enough time to consider how I might apply learnings to my context.”


    “This course has helped equip me immensely with tools for intercultural ministry; with tools to help us be-come more self-aware”


    More information and registration at:



    Jonathan Schmidt
    Canadian Churches Forum
    47 Queen’s Park Crescent
    Toronto ON M5S 2C3
    416-924-9351 416-978-7821 (fax)
    Follow us on Facebook

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  • People’s Climate March

    KAIROS Logo
    People’s Climate March
    September 21

    Government leaders from across the globe will be meeting in New York City on September 23 for a one-day United Nations climate summit. The People’s Climate March precedes it on September 21 and will send out a massive, united call for climate justice and a strong climate treaty.

    We can’t all go to New York, but KAIROS invites you to participate in this historic mobilization from wherever you are! Some suggestions:

    This would be a good time to check out ClimateFast, which KAIROS has endorsed, as it counts down to this year’s fast on Parliament Hill (September 28 to October 2) and extends an invitation to everyone to join in fasting on the first day of each month.

    Citizens for Public Justice, in collaboration with the Canadian Council of Churches, has created resources for faith communities in Canada specifically related to the UN summit and the People’s Climate March. These include a bible study, bulletin inserts, an infographic on the moral implications of climate change, sermon notes, hymns for Creation, prayers of intercession and activities for youth and young adults, all of which would be particularly appropriate for worship services on Sunday, September 21.

    Green Faith, an interfaith coalition based in New Jersey, is offering resources and an invitation to faith communities to become Climate March Faith Communities.

    KAIROS has a long history of advocacy for climate justice and has produced in-depth analysis on climate change that can help to put the September events into perspective:
    Arctic Melting Sounds the Alarm for Life on Earth
    Time to Re-focus our Approach to Climate Change
    IPCC Confirms We Must Act Now on Climate Change
    Stay tuned for another analytical report following the New York summit.

    KAIROS also has a new Watershed Discipleship workshop hot off the press that includes biblical and personal reflection, consideration of the issues facing your watershed, and the opportunity to connect those issues with others across Canada and around the world. With climate change affecting every watershed in some way, this could be a timely opportunity to organize a workshop in your area. If you would like to host a Watershed Discipleship workshop, retreat, or train-the-trainer event and support a growing network, please contact Sara Stratton, KAIROS Members Relations and Campaigns Coordinator at

    If you would like to go to New York for the march and are in the Toronto, Ottawa or Montreal area, buses are being organized.

    As Archbishop Desmond Tutu reminded participants at the So Long as the Rivers Flow conference in Fort McMurray earlier this year, we are all connected by the urgent need to protect our planet from catastrophic climate change, the effects of which have been felt for some time by poor and vulnerable communities in the Global South. KAIROS invites and encourages you to join with others to participate in these efforts in whatever way you can.

    If you have questions or need more information, please contact John Dillon, KAIROS Ecological Economy Program Coordinator at

    Click here to make a donation to KAIROS today!

    For more information, please visit our website:

    KAIROS Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
    310 Dupont St. Suite 200, Toronto, ON, Canada M5R 1V9
    Tel: 416-463-5312 | Toll-free: 1-877-403-8933| Fax: 416-463-5569

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  • Peoples Social Forum August 21-24 in Ottawa, on Algonquin territory

    August 5th 2014

    New Polaris Logo web

    Are you going to the Peoples Social Forum in August in Ottawa, on Algonquin territory, August 21-24?

    If you haven’t heard about it yet, check out all the details about location, time, schedule (to be published this week), workshops and much more here: or on FACEBOOK.

    The Social forum will be four days packed with over 400 workshops, many keynote speakers, a march and popular assemblies on themes such as Water, Mining Justice, Climate justice, Pipelines, Indigenous Solidarity, and more.

    Polaris will be contributing throughout by hosting workshops or collaborating with others. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for:
    1. Polaris is hosting a workshop titled “Confronting Corporate Power in Canada”
    2. The Green Economy Network is hosting a workshop on “One Million Climate Jobs”
    3. Polaris and CUPE are hosting a workshop titled “Resisting Water Privatization”
    4. Polaris will be collaborating on a workshop titled: « Tribunal des peuples industrie minière canadienne (TPP): bilan 1re audience Amérique latine et poursuite de l’initiative »
    5. Polaris will be attending and helping out with the “Mining Justice Assembly” as well as the “People’s Climate Assembly”
    Polaris and its partners will be involved in many other activities at the Peoples Social Forum and we hope that you can make it out with friends and family.

    In solidarity,


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  • KAIROS Statement on Israel and Palestine


    Current Violence and Military Action in Israel and Palestine

    View from the Mount of Olives, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem.

    A Statement from Jennifer Henry, Executive Director,                            

    KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives

    15 July 2014

    In response to the violence and military activity in Israel and Palestine, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives continues to seek a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The escalation of violence will not achieve either peace or security for Israel and Palestine.  Such a peace requires an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian Territories and related actions such as the blockade of Gaza.

    Acts against civilians have occurred on both sides. Hundreds of rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel are being met with a disproportionate military response, including missiles, offshore shelling, and the raising of reserves to facilitate a possible ground offensive.  This occurs within the context of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, now in its eighth year, that has denied Gaza’s population mobility, access to markets, and employment. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza observes that the majority of the population cannot meet basic needs without humanitarian assistance, and the number of Palestinians depending on UNRWA for food aid has increased from 80,000 in 2000 to over 830,000 currently.

    According to a July 15 update from UNRWA, 174 Palestinians had been killed, including 32 children. 1152 had been injured. The destruction of hundreds of houses, and warnings of pending destruction from the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), have resulted in 17000 people fleeing their homes and seeking shelter with UNRWA.

    At this time, no Israeli deaths have been reported, but that does not detract from the fear, destruction, and potential for death that the rocket attacks invoke.

    We condemn the use of violence. We mourn for all those who have been killed. We pray for healing of the wounded and afraid.

    This situation is untenable. We appeal to all involved in these attacks, from Israel and from Gaza, to live up to their obligation under international humanitarian law to protect civilian life, and to take up the ceasefire proposed by the majority of the international community. Both sides need to agree to a ceasefire and to address issues that are at the root of the conflict.

    On July 10, the Justice and Peace Commissionof the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land issued a statement on the crisis and observed that “Breaking out of the cycle of violence is the duty of all, oppressors and oppressed, victims and victimizers. In order to commit themselves to this aim, all must recognize in the other a brother or sister to be loved and cherished rather than an enemy to be hated and eliminated.”

    This is a duty for all of us.  May it be so.

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  • Democracy Now: Henry Siegman, Leading Voice of U.S. Jewry, on Gaza: “A Slaughter of Innocents”

    Democracy Now:  a daily independent global news hour

                                                          with Amy Goodman & Juan González


    Given his background, what American Jewish leader Henry Siegman has to say about Israel’s founding in 1948 through the current assault on Gaza may surprise you. From 1978 to 1994, Siegman served as executive director of the American Jewish Congress, long described as one of the nation’s “big three” Jewish organizations along with the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League. Born in Germany three years before the Nazis came to power in 1933, Siegman’s family eventually moved to the United States. His father was a leader of the European Zionist movement that pushed for the creation of a Jewish state. In New York, Siegman studied the religion and was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi by Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, later becoming head of the Synagogue Council of America. After his time at the American Jewish Congress, Siegman became a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He now serves as president of the U.S./Middle East Project. In the first of our two-part interview, Siegman discusses the assault on Gaza, the myths surrounding Israel’s founding in 1948, and his own background as a German-Jewish refugee who fled Nazi occupation to later become a leading American Jewish voice and now vocal critic of Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories.

    “When one thinks that this is what is necessary for Israel to survive, that the Zionist dream is based on the repeated slaughter of innocents on a scale that we’re watching these days on television, that is really a profound, profound crisis — and should be a profound crisis in the thinking of all of us who were committed to the establishment of the state and to its success,” Siegman says. Responding to Israel’s U.S.-backed claim that its assault on Gaza is necessary because no country would tolerate the rocket fire from militants in Gaza, Siegman says: “What undermines this principle is that no country and no people would live the way that Gazans have been made to live. … The question of the morality of Israel’s action depends, in the first instance, on the question, couldn’t Israel be doing something [to prevent] this disaster that is playing out now, in terms of the destruction of human life? Couldn’t they have done something that did not require that cost? And the answer is, sure, they could have ended the occupation.”

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  • ELCIC National Bishop expresses deep concern for the people of Mosul; urges Prime Minister call for an end to violence, intimidation and expulsion



    600-177 Lombard Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 0W5
    Phone 1.204.984.9150 Fax 1.204.984.9185

    From the National Office of the ELCIC

    ELCIC National Bishop expresses deep concern for the people of Mosul; urges Prime Minister call for an end to violence, intimidation and expulsion

    Winnipeg, 30 July 2014-Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Bishop Susan C. Johnson wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and expressed her deep concern for the people of Mosul. In her letter, Bishop Johnson urged the Government of Canada “to call for an end to violence, intimidation and expulsion,” and provide humanitarian aid to those forced to flee as refugees.

    A pdf of the letter to the Prime Minister can be viewed here:

    The text of the letter follows.

    The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
    Prime Minister of Canada
    Office of the Prime Minister
    80 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

    July 30, 2014

    Re: Expulsion of Christians in Mosul

    Dear Prime Minister Harper,

    I am writing to express my deep concern for the people of Mosul, who are living with intimidation and violence. In particular, I hear of Christians being targeted with threats and expelled from their homes and communities.

    I am also concerned about reports that the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is destroying holy sites. This represents an atrocious and long-term violation of religious freedom.

    Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Baghdad, and Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, have called on Christians around the world to express their solidarity with those who are suffering. A report by Amnesty International indicates that violations of international humanitarian law are being carried out by all sides, including ISIS and Iraqi Government forces.

    The world seems to be in danger of ignoring this tragic situation.

    I urge the Government of Canada to take every opportunity to express its concern for the people of Mosul, and to call for an end to violence, intimidation and expulsion. And I encourage the Government of Canada to provide humanitarian aid to those forced to flee as refugees.

    My prayers are with all who suffer the effects of war, violence and expulsion. And my prayers are with you and the Government of Canada as you seek to promote peace, human rights and religious freedom around the world.

    Yours in Christ,

    The Rev. Susan C. Johnson
    National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

    c.c. The Honourable John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs
    The Honourable Thomas Mulcair, The Leader of the Official Opposition
    Justin Trudeau, MP, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
    Daniel Paillé, MP, Leader of the Bloc Québécois
    Elizabeth May, MP, Leader of the Green Party of Canada


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  • Basic Income Canada Network – Names new members of BIG PUSH Council


    Basic Income Canada Network – Réseau canadien pour le revenu garanti

    The Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) is pleased to name Dr. Dennis Raphael, PhD, and Dr. Danielle Martin, B.Sc., MD, CCFP, MPP, as its newest appointees to The BIG Push Campaign Council. The council is a group of eminent Canadians whom BICN can turn to for advice. With the addition of Drs. Raphael and Martin, we hope to emphasize how basic income and the social determinants of health are intimately connected. Please watch for an innovative announcement about this connection in the coming few weeks.

    Dennis Raphael is a professor of Health Policy and Management at York University in Toronto. His many publications focus on the health effects of income inequality and poverty, the quality of life of communities and individuals, and the impact of government decisions on Canadians’ health and well-being. Dr. Raphael is author of Poverty in Canada: Implications for Health and Quality of Life and editor of Social Determinants of Health: Canadian Perspectives and Tackling Health Inequalities: Lessons from International Experiences. With Juha Mikkonen he wrote Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts, which is a primer for the Canadian public that has been downloaded over 200,000 times. It is available at

    Danielle Martin is vice-president of Medical Affairs and Health System Solutions at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. She is a family physician in the Family Practice Health Centre at Women’s College Hospital and an assistant professor in the department of Family and Community Medicine and the department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. Her focus is on improving health at the system level as well as the individual level. Her clinical work has involved remote northern medicine, as well as a current focus on maternity care, and she is an active medical educator.

    Kelly Ernst, Ph.D.
    Secretary General, Basic Income Canada Network
    Basic Income Canada Network – Réseau Canadien pour le revenu garanti

    Basic Income Canada Network – Réseau canadien pour le revenu garanti · 2018 27 St SW, Calgary, AB T3E 2E8, Canada

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  • Christian Peacemaker Teams: Three day vigil outside Israeli Consulate, Toronto – 9 AM, July 24, to afternoon July 26.

    Jews, Muslims, Christians and people of conscience have begun a continuous three day vigil outside the Israeli Consulate in Toronto. Beginning at 9 AM on Thursday, July 24, the vigil will continue until the afternoon of Saturday, July 26.

    Located at 180 Bloor St. across from the Royal Ontario Museum, the vigil condemns the indiscriminate targeting of civilians, the seven-year blockade of Gaza and Canadian complicity with Israeli occupation. The vigil is calling for the immediate cessation of the Israel’s assault on Gaza, now in its 16th day.

    Canadian Jewish Holocaust survivor Ursula Franklin, when speaking against Israel’s 2009 attack on Gaza, said Never Again means “never again for all people.”

    Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has recently described Israeli policies as an “incremental genocide.”

    Concerned that Israel may be in violation of international law, Amnesty International is calling for an international investigation into the conduct of Israeli forces. Israel has targeted hospitals and civilian homes.

    Christian Peacemaker Teams will be maintaining a continuous presence at the vigil. Please join us if you can and spread the word.

     Aboriginal Justice Team
    310 – 25 Cecil Street
    Toronto, ON M5T 1N1
    +1 416-423-5525
    Website — Facebook — Twitter — Blog


    Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is an international, faith based violence reduction and human rights organization. CPT’s Aboriginal Justice Team (AJT) is mandated with undoing colonialism and supporting Indigenous communities seeking justice and defending their lands against corporate and government exploitation without community consent.

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  • ELCIC: Emergency appeal issued to support civilians in Gaza region



    600-177 Lombard Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 0W5
    Phone 1.204.984.9150 Fax 1.204.984.9185

    From the National Office of the ELCIC

    Emergency appeal issued to support civilians in Gaza region

    Winnipeg, 17 July 2014–The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) issue an appeal for prayers and financial support to treat Palestinian civilians injured as a results of hostilities between Palestinians in Gaza and Israel.

    “We stand with all the people in the Holy Land and keep them in our prayers,” says ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson. “We pray for peace for all who are affected by this violence and devastation. Gracious God, comfort all those who live in fear. May you bring mercy, compassion and grace to all in need and strengthen the will of those who can impact negotiations and bring peace.”

    Donations will provide urgently needed medical supplies to civilians receiving treatment at the Augusta Victoria Hospital, a program of the Lutheran World Federation in East Jerusalem.

    “Hospitals in Gaza are under great pressure as they suffer from an acute shortage of essential drugs, medical supplies and fuel to provide power,” said CLWR Executive Director Robert Granke. “The Palestinian health sector is relying heavily on the services of Augusta Victoria Hospital on the Mount of Olives,” he added.

    Lutherans are encouraged to participate in the appeal through prayer and financial support.

    Remember the people who live in the Holy Land and all those who yearn for peace in your prayers, especially on the 24th of every month (a date set aside for a regular global ecumenical call to prayer initiated by ACT Alliance), until a just and lasting negotiated resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict occurs. Please visit to sign up and see worship resources.

    Donations to the “Medical care for Palestinian civilians” appeal may be made in the following ways:

    1. By making a designated offering donation through any ELCIC congregation.

    2. By giving online through CLWR (

    3. By calling CLWR at 1.800.661.2597 (locally at 204.694.5602) to donate by credit card.

    4. By sending a cheque made payable to CLWR and mailed to CLWR, 600-177 Lombard Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 0W5. Please indicate that you wish to contribute to “Medical care for Palestinian civilians.”

    Further information on the region can be found in a release by The Lutheran World Federation issued earlier today:

    The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 145,376 baptized members in 594 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

    Material provided through ELCIC Information is intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner they may find useful.

    For more information, please contact:
    Trina Gallop Blank, Director of Communications
    600-177 Lombard Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 0W5

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