hosting the word

Whenever it gathers to worship the church gives the Holy Bible (literally, the “Book set apart for God”) a place of prominence. For us it is scripture.  In other words, it is the church’s script.  In the Bible we discover the plot that is God’s saving mission in the world. Scripture provides us with parts to perform as actors in the great drama called “Gospel.” The Bible is our source book, the deep, thick memory that reminds the church of its peculiar identity in every cultural context. Reading the world through the lens of the cruciform biblical narrative gives us new eyes to see (II Corinthians 5:16-20).


after velcade

It has been nearly two years since I began treatments with Velcade (bortezomib) and dexamethasone. Last summer we added cyclophosphamide to the treatment in order to extend its effectiveness. The second round of ten treatment cycles ended last month. Yesterday I visited my hematologist to discuss next steps. The first piece of good news is that my free light chain count is only up from 100 to 125 in the thirty-five days since my treatment ended. While the number is on the rise it is not a large enough increase to call for new treatments to begin. Yay! It means I will continue to have the free light chain blood test taken monthly. When the numbers increase more rapidly or incrementally become significantly higher we will begin a new treatment regime. In the meantime, I can live without chemo (including, of course, my old friend dexamethasone). The other piece of good news has to do with the next treatment ...



A sermon preached at the Memorial Service of Gil Dyck at Crescent United Church on March 21, 2014.

Matthew 5:1-16

Thirty years ago I was the minister of this church. It was here that I first came to know Gil Dyck. I recall, in particular, a day when Gil invited me to coffee at Gil and Marion’s home down at the beach. In the course of our conversation we went downstairs in search of a magazine. It was "Sojourners", the publication of a group of evangelical social activists living a in a poor neighbourhood in Washington, DC. I went home and ordered a subscription. Today I still keep up with the Sojourners community, though now I do so via Twitter. Thinking of my conversations over the years with Gil I am reminded of G.K. Chesterton’s famous line: “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” Or more to the point, given Gil’s Mennonite background, these words written by Menno Simons in 1539 come to mind: “True evangelical faith ... cannot lie dormant; but manifests itself in all righteousness and works of love; it ... clothes the naked; feeds the hungry; consoles the afflicted; shelters the miserable; aids and consoles all the oppressed; returns good for evil; serves those that injure it; prays for those that persecute it.”

A few weeks ago Gil and I found ourselves sharing another cup of coffee in Crescent Beach, over at the Sunflower Café. We have been neighbours all these years, but when I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma three years ago Gil and I found we shared not only a faith but also an illness. Since then we have caught up with one another from time to time, comparing treatments and sharing information, offering mutual encouragement. Brothers in arms. Companions on the journey. Sojourners.


2014 online daily lenten devotional

"Blessing the Dust" by Jan Richardson
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. It is the day when Christians begin the season of Lent, a forty day preparation for Easter. Those who take the time to count the days until Easter Sunday will note that it actually totals forty-seven days in all. That is because the Lenten season of preparation and fasting does not count the Sundays. Sundays, for us, are always mini-Easter celebrations. For University Hill Congregation this is the thirteenth year in which we have marked Lent by creating our own home-made Lenten daily devotional book. In the early years it was a hard-copy printed booklet for use within our congregation. Now it is an online resource used by our congregation and others who join us in the practice of reading, hosting and praying scripture as a means of continuing our formation as faithful witnesses to God's grace revealed in Jesus. You are most welcome to join us in this practice and are invited to spread the word to others who may be interested. Here is the introduction to this year's devotional, along with a link that will take you to it ...