Literalist? Progressive? Traditionalist? Skeptic? Humanist?
You are welcome at George Street United Church.
In a time when Christians are deeply divided, we are trying to have new conversations about Jesus Christ. Who was he? What did he really teach us? Why does he still matter today? He was a religious revolutionary who brought transformation – both personal and political – not doctrine. The original name of the Jesus movement was The Way. At George Street, we are trying to discern the way, and follow it.
That means all are welcome to our grand old building with our brand new thinking. We are a diverse group. The liturgy, while familiar, includes the congregation as leaders. We do more than speak out against injustice; we act out. There is a lot of questioning going on; it is not always comfortable, but it is deeply caring. Through our leadership, our guests, our congregational ministry, we are trying on new ways of seeing; a new perspective that we think can overcome the differences between the literalists and the progressives. You are welcome.
In the beginning….
To all our members at George Street United, we invite you to help fill up the pages of our new website. Our team has developed the basic information for the site, but we know there’s much more to be described, displayed and celebrated. Every few months we will open up the site for discussion. We need your active engagement to make this adventure meaningful and useful. Once you are familiar with the site, we’re sure you’ll have many suggestions for additional material. Check out our photo gallery. Think about any archival material you may have. Let us know about upcoming events. Feel free to discuss the site with the Minister, with Doris Neufeld, Joan Moriarty or Mary Gordon.
"What brought me back was not purely nostalgia. George Street was pulsing with something special, a new energy and vision of faith which I wanted to embrace as an adult. This church holds rich memories and many anticipated promises."
Excerpts from a letter, October 14, 2007
Hopes for a radical hospitality
The Right Reverend David Giuliano, 39th Moderator (2006-2009)
To loose the bonds of injustice,…
to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house…
then…you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 58:6–7, 11
Some of our congregations are struggling. Some are experiencing a renewal of Spirit. In either case our hope is not for our survival or even growth but in what God can accomplish through us. The Book of Isaiah records a promise that we will flourish like a watered garden when we care for the homeless, hungry, and oppressed. The health and vitality of our congregations depends on our response to the suffering of the world around us.
Jesus put it even more starkly: "For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it" (Mark 8.35). We need to continually rediscover not how to save our life but how to give it away for the gospel.
I am praying that more of us become concerned with Jesus’ call to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and visit those who are sick, lonely, or in prison. I am praying that our preoccupation with getting people into church is transformed by a passion for getting the church out into the world. I am praying that we welcome strangers with a radical hospitality that sees in them the face of Christ—not an "identifiable giver" or a "potential committee member"! I am praying that our worries about buildings and budgets are overtaken by excitement for the mission of our church.
I do not know what that will look like, there in your community. Perhaps you do. I do know that it will involve risking familiar and precious belongings and customs.
I think I was elected Moderator because of three simple words that were put in me for our church: "Be not afraid." They are words that resound throughout the gospel story. They are not a call to courage, but a call to faith. Let us move forward in faith, not fear, to embrace our call to life. Let us encourage one another toward God’s dream for us and through us in the world.