Many of you by now have met some of our new neighbours who are renting space in our building on a weekly basis. They are a Seventh-Day Adventist Congregation who rented space in Gatineau United Church for many years before the church building was recently sold. This lively congregation worships on Saturday mornings till 2:00 pm. They use the downstairs hall and parlour as well as the sanctuary. Some of their members have been a great help already in helping out with some maintenance and repair. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership with Pastor Luis and his congregation.
The Aylmer Community Café which has been meeting since last spring is beginning a pilot project to support our neighbours in Aylmer Arms. We at AUC have a long-standing relationship with Aylmer Arms and the residents there. We hope that this community initiative will be a positive one for the whole community.
An important part of the work of the Strategic Planing Working Group (SWGP) is researching our connections and partnerships in the community. As we go forward together we hope to strengthen our associations, and in so doing find renewed energy and insight into our place as the Body of Christ in our community.
This week the Quebec National Assembly passed Bill 62, legislation introduced by the Liberal government that bans public workers and anyone receiving public services from wearing the niqab or any other face covering.
Stated reasons for the successful passing of this bill include that Quebec is a secular society and that our safety as citizens are at risk if individuals cover their faces in public. I see no merit in either of these.
This law affects Muslim women more than anyone else. Women who choose to wear the veil or scarf as an expression of their faith. This is a women's issue. This is an issue of discrimination. One woman who chooses to wear the niquab who was interviewed on CBC said that she would rather stay home than be singled out as a threat to her fellow Quebecers. This is oppression.
This is not the kind of law that a civilized and inclusive society should be passing.
We as the United Church of Canada are known and applauded around the world for standing up for justice and supporting the oppressed. This action on the part of the Quebec government is a call to action for each of us speak love in the face of injustice. This is the call of our God, who we worship as the God of all creation. Not select parts of creation. Not just some people but all people. We cannot pick and choose who is welcome in God's family. Jesus made a point of going out of his way to welcome the stranger, the women, the children, the sick, the outcast. We cannot say we are his followers and not act like he did.
Here are some ways you can become involved:
What will you do?
The Truth Shall Make you "Frye?"
We are very, very lucky to have Margaret Virany as our very first guest blogger here on the Aylmer United Church website! Margaret is not only a beloved member of our congregation, she is an incredible writer and former student of the famous literary critic Northrop Frye!
With Remembrance Day not far away, we asked Margaret if she would be willing to share one of her blog entries on WWII vets and the bible study course Northrop Frye taught them when they returned from war at Victoria College in Toronto.
By the fall of 1947-48, ‘The Finest Generation’ had returned from WW II and gone back to school, looking for knowledge and inspiration to lead a peacetime society.
At Victoria College in Toronto English Professor Northrop Frye was ready and welcoming. He had compiled a punchy Bible course in line with the college motto, ‘The Truth Shall Make You Free‘.
These students were the most brilliant he ever taught, his diaries say. After an hour-long lecture, they’d head for a coffee with friends who wanted to know what “God” said today.
This fall students’ notes of those 24 lectures (36 pp) edited by Professor Robert Denham have been posted online. They have not lost their punch. You can read and download them as a PDF without paying fees.
Here’s what he told them in the beginning of his first lecture (direct, unabridged quotes):
1. The Bible is the grammar of Western civilization; it brings down an entire culture and civilization to us.
2. The Bible represents a vision of the whole of human life. Transcendental genius and ridiculous genealogies are side by side. It is crude, shocking, funny. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. The narrative from Creation to Last Judgment takes an epic survey of time. The perspective is of eternity. Jesus is the center of the Bible. Jesus and the Bible are identical.
3. Several theological systems are based on the Bible and all claim to be equally correct. All religions are on a level as far as moral doctrines are concerned; the moral loftiness of the Bible is accidental, like its aesthetic beauty.
4. Recurrent symbols in the Bible form a single pattern. The structure is complicated and must be studied. The whole Bible is the history of man’s loss of freedom and organization and how he got it back.
5. There are two kinds of symmetry: (1) the chronological story of creation, etc., as a legendary, mythical story of the fortunes of the Jewish people from 2000 B.C. to 100 A.D. and the spread of the Christian Church. (2) The second kind is circular. The conception of true and false as we think of it is not dealt with in the Bible. The fall of man and the apocalypse have nothing to do with history. The whole question of causation, order, purpose is not dealt with.
6. Christianity clings to revelation, and the only practical way to do this is in a book. All we know about God is in the Bible; there is no God in nature or “up there” in the sky. The association of God and Man is the basis of Christianity.
Frye gave his Bible course for decades and died twenty years ago. He became principal of the college; to honor him on an anniversary, the motto carved in stone into the arch over Vic’s entrance door appeared almost miraculously to read ‘The Truth Shall Make You Frye‘.
Download Frye's bible course here! https://macblog.mcmaster.ca/fryeblog/aa/
To read more of Margaret's blog visit it at Cozy Book Basics.