Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a Few
Why should I come to Bathurst United Church?
Bathurst United has strong values of inclusion (we are an Affirming congregation), relationship, community and social justice. We find the root of our longing for connection in the story of Jesus and the Judeo-Christian faith. We put a lot of energy into worship, nurturing relationships among ourselves and in the community, and in striving for justice. We also know how to have fun! If this sounds like a community you’d like to get to know better, please visit us on a Sunday morning. We would love to meet you.
What do I need to know about Sunday services?
We worship in the chapel at Trinity St. Paul’s Centre at 427 Bloor St W (at Walmer Rd). The entrance is along Bloor, several steps to the west of the Centre’s main doors. The service begins at 10:30 a.m. and lasts 60-90 minutes. Dress is casual. People do sometimes dress up for special events such as Baptisms or the Christmas Carol service. We worship in the round, with a large, low table in the centre. Our services are generally informal with an emphasis on participation from the congregation. We don’t have a formal Sunday School Program. Children are welcome to sit at the low table and use the drawing and craft materials provided, or they can join the Sunday school program at Trinity St. Paul’s.
Is Bathurst United part of a larger Christian denomination?
We belong to the United Church of Canada. The United Church was founded in 1925 when four Protestant denominations merged. It is now the largest Protestant domination in Canada. The Bible is the major source of authority for its faith. Visit www.united-church.ca for more information.
Do I have to follow a particular set of beliefs to be part of Bathurst?
No. We are more concerned with how we are called to live. For many of us, the story of Jesus is the key. That story teaches that we live life to the fullest when we are connected. We are called to be in relationship with one another in community, and to do all we can so that others may live their lives to the fullest. We are to reach out to the marginalized. The story of Jesus also tells us that we are part of the divine and the divine is part of us. We are called to love and protect all living things and all creation. For inspiration and guidance, we look to the Bible as well as to some of the important statements from the United Church such as the Song of Faith. We also draw from the wisdom of other faiths such as Canada’s Indigenous Peoples’ spirituality, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism.
Why are you called Bathurst United? You aren’t on Bathurst St.
Our original location was on Bathurst Street at the corner of Lennox. We moved to Trinity St Paul’s Centre in 1985 after the congregation decided to sell the building.
What is involved in becoming a member?
Currently, Bathurst does not have a formal process. You are invited to attend our services, participate in our various activities, and/or volunteer for different tasks/committees. If you are new, we can pair you with an existing member so that you can learn more about us. If you wish to become a member, please speak to your buddy or the chair of the Volunteer and Personnel Committee. For those who wish to have a more “formal” recognition of their membership, we have “an embrace of welcome” during a Sunday service.
Where do members come from, and who are they?
We come from all parts of Toronto and beyond. Some of our longtime members joined in the 1950s and are now seniors. Others include young adults and middle aged, singles and married, infants and children. Many of us were born in other countries and some people are new to Canada. We are gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, trans, celibate, queer, or searching. We represent varied economic backgrounds and employment. We have been blessed by many members who have shared their challenges with mental health.
I hear you are very committed to social justice. What is Bathurst doing to promote justice?
Bathurst has a long tradition of fostering social justice. Many members of the congregation are actively involved in promoting justice in their work or as a volunteer. See the section “Our Work” for our current initiatives to promote social justice.
Do you hold any community events to help members keep connected?
We have many events! The most frequent is our monthly spaghetti dinner. The host provides pasta and sauce; the guests bring sides and desserts. Autumn is usually the time for our annual fundraiser that can be a pot luck and concert or a games night. Our Good Friday pot luck is also an important tradition. The congregation has two annual retreats: a fall event at Friends’ House and a spring weekend at Crieff Hills, near Guelph. The autumn retreat is an opportunity to spend a day exploring an issue. The Crieff Hills weekend is often a time to relax and strengthen community. In June, we hold a solstice service and picnic on Toronto’s eastern beach. Members of the Pastoral Care Committee call or visit people who may be ill or in need of company or assistance. Everyone offers care through informal friendship and getting together.
How are decisions made?
We govern ourselves through a “committee of the whole” where the congregation meets several times a year to reach consensus on matters of concern. Committees make decisions on more operational matters related to their area of responsibility. A major focus of the Coordinating Group sets the agenda for congregational meetings including the annual general meeting.
What kind of financial contribution is expected from members?
At Bathurst, members donate according to their means. Some people make monthly contributions through the United Church’s direct withdrawal program. Others put their offering in the collection plate at Sunday services or donate by cheque or e-transfer.
Can I attend services or be a member without volunteering?
Of course! We appreciate your presence among us. You are not required to volunteer. While one aspect of Bathurst is the involvement of members in all aspects of community life, you decide what and how much you can do.
What is available for families, children, and young adults?
We encourage children and youth of all ages to help plan and be part of Bathurst services. Bathurst does not have a Sunday school. During the Sunday service, we start with a “table talk” geared specifically to younger members of the congregation. Young children are invited to stay in chapel, and a designated person interacts with them as they stay around the table. Sometimes children choose to play in the gym (beside the chapel). Parents have the option of having children join activities held at Trinity St Paul’s.
There is a youth group for older children and young adults. Some of the activities are held jointly with youth from Bloor Street and Trinity St Paul’s. The parenting group brings parents together for evenings of conversation and delicious snacks. They also enjoy outdoor get togethers in parks.