A Liberating Liturgy

How The Eucharist is Related to Gentrification and Why Urban Housing Is Sacred – Part II

Stephen Setzer Continue reading

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A Liberating Liturgy

How The Eucharist is Related to Gentrification and Why Urban Housing Is Sacred – Part I

Stephen Setzer

The words “Eucharist” and “gentrification” may seem to be quite disparate in their context and meaning. One alludes to ceremony, tradition, religion, and sacrament, while the other connotes cities, housing, displacement, and economics. They are seemingly worlds apart. However, it is my contention in this paper that these worlds are not so far apart as they may initially appear. Rather they are connected at a foundational level through their respective understandings of place. What is it? Is it special? To whom does it belong? And do any of these things matter? As Christians we are a part of a story, a story that is centered, interestingly, on a particular understanding of place. Rooted in the Old Testament narrative of Abraham and Sarah and the stories of exile, the Scriptures are intent upon forming our understanding of the inherent specialness of place. Moreover, Christian tradition speaks to that same understanding through the development and process of its liturgy. Particularly, through the Eucharistic liturgy we are told a story week after week of the specialness of sacred space and our place. So then in this paper I will begin to build a bridge from Christian liturgy to our urban neighborhoods and explore how an understanding of the Eucharistic liturgy can provide the urban church with a prophetic voice against redevelopment at the cost of displacement. Continue reading

Singing Judgement, Singing Comfort

A Sermon for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Jeffrey Metcalfe (click here to listen)

Micah 5:2-5a

Hebrews 10:5-10

Luke 1:39-55

It was a difficult week.

Like the three ghosts of Christmas in a Christmas Carol, three revelations were made last week that may forever change the lives of many refugees in Canada. Continue reading

Our Christian Call to Care for the Strangers in our Midst

A Biblical and Theological Reflection

Maggie Helwig

The Hebrew scriptures are deeply marked by the experience of displacement. The story of the exile of Jacob’s descendents in Egypt, their time of wandering in the desert after being delivered from slavery, and, later, the deportation of a large part of the population of Jerusalem to Babylon, all became part of the self-understanding of the ancient Israelites. These stories of being uprooted and endangered in unfamiliar lands influenced the ethical teaching of the scriptures; frequently, the Israelites are reminded of their obligation to care for the stranger and the exile, “for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 22:21, Leviticus 19:34, Deuteronomy 10:19). Care for the displaced person is a priority in many Old Testament texts, not simply as an act of charity, but out of a sense of identity with the outcast. Continue reading

How Two and Two Made Four

Magda Trocmé and the Conditions and Phronesis of Hospitality

Jeffrey Metcalfe

In reality, it was no great merit on the part of those who dedicated themselves to the health teams, because they knew that it was the only thing to be done and not doing it would have been incredible at the time. […] Moreover, the narrator is well aware of the objection that you might make to him, namely that those men were risking their lives. But there always comes a time in history when the person who dares say that two and two make four is punished by death. […] And the question is not what reward or punishment awaits the demonstration; it is knowing whether or not two and two do make four. For those of the townspeople who risked their lives, they had to decide whether or not they were in a state of plague and whether or not they should try to overcome it. […] There was only one way to do this, which was to fight the plague. There was nothing admirable about this truth, it simply followed as a logical consequence.

–                Albert Camus, The Plague[1]

How does helping the other, especially at great personal risk to oneself, become simply a logical consequence of a non-admirable truth? Said differently, how can we affirm that two and two make four? Continue reading

The Ones Who Didn’t Make It

A Review of Benedek Fliegauf’s Film, Just the Wind

Emily Loewen

When thinking of the refugees who come to Canada every year, Europe likely isn’t the point of origin you would picture. But in 2011 the largest number of refugee applicants came from Hungary, and almost all of them are Roma.[1] Immigrating and building a life in Canada is not easy, and likely will get harder as Bill C-31 is implemented. But for many Roma, going back to the alternative in Hungary in unimaginable.

A new film, Just the Wind, which had it’s North American premiere at TIFF, follows the life of a fictional Roma family living in Hungary, waiting to join their husband and father in Toronto. Continue reading