Saturday, January 31, 2009

Faith on the side of a bus

United Church advertisement turns London slogan on its head in bid to provoke debate

31st January 2009

A provocative and highly controversial religious ad set to debut today is being welcomed by church groups who say it encourages open discussion about the validity of God.

In response to a popular British billboard that will appear soon on the TTC, the United Church of Canada has launched the ad in today's Globe and Mail.

The original ad, featured on buses in the U.K., declared: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

The United Church plays off the London campaign, with a key change: "There's probably a God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."


"The United Church is always interested in talking about these things," said Dr. Keith Howard. "We hope we can posture some debate between folks that say there is a God and folks that say there isn't. We want to get a conversation going."

Howard said motivation for paying homage to the British ad came from a lack of connection with Canadians between age 30 and 45.

"We realized we don't have a relationship with a lot of people in that demographic," he said. "That group sees religion as kind of being arrogant and unwilling to listen. We want to tell them we're here to listen."

Other church leaders have not responded to the much-hyped ad, but they encouraged religious debate.

"We don't necessarily agree with the content of the message," said Neil MacCarthy, director of communications for the Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto.

"But if we can invoke a respectful discussion and reflection of people's beliefs, we support that."

Waiting to see how the newspaper ad will play, Howard said he hasn't yet decided if he will go the way of the original slogan and pursue ad space on the TTC.

The London ad has been approved by the transit system, TTC spokesman Brad Ross said, and is likely to be on display in vehicles and subway stations in the next few weeks.

"I think it's a good idea," commuter Brandon Aarsma told the Sun yesterday when asked outside the Dundas subway station. "If somebody sees the ad and says, 'Oh, that's nuts' and I overhear them, I'm going to talk to them about it."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The ember

A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the preacher decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The preacher found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.
Guessing the reason for his preachers visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited. The preacher made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs.
After some minutes, the preacher took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone then he sat back in his chair, still silent.
As the one lone ember's flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead. Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.
The preacher glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.
As the preacher reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, 'Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday.'

“From Ralph Milton's RUMORS, a free Internet ‘e-zine’ for Christians with a sense of humor."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ten Ways to Green Your Home for Under Ten Bucks

Free. Nothing. Nada.
Things you can do that will make a real difference for no money at all.

Lower water heater temperature to 120°F
Decrease Thermostat temperature by 3°F
Wash clothes in cold water
Air dry clothes during summer
Turn off unneeded lights

Under Ten Bucks

1...Save Heat
Seal your windows with strippable caulk
This is the clear stuff that is designed to peel off when it is time to open the windows again, and seals the gaps that occur at any moving part of a window. This is particularly important if you have old windows where the seals have loosened up a bit.

2...Shrink-wrap your windows Get the plastic films that tape around your windows and then shrink tight under the heat from a hair dryer. They cut heat loss and are almost invisible. Not suitable for houses with cats, as we found out the hard way.

3...Weatherstrip your doors
A surprising amount of air leaks around them. Just be sure that the door will still close properly; I have added weatherstrip and then had to remove it again as the door just wouldn't close properly with the added foam.

4...Get a snake
Or make your own—a door snake stops draughts from under a door where it is hard to weatherstrip.

5...Get some cheap slippers
Or a hoodie. The easiest way to feel warmer and save energy is to wear more clothing. It also keeps your house cleaner and warmer.

6...Change your furnace filter
The furnace has to work harder to push through all the schmutz that gets caught in your filter if it is doing its job.

7...Lose the drips
A dripping faucet can waste 20 gallons of water a day. A leaking toilet can use 90,000 gallons of water in a month. Get out the wrench and change the washers on your sinks and showers, or get new washerless faucets. Keeping your existing equipment well maintained is probably the easiest and cheapest way to start saving water.

8...Add a faucet aerator
Mixing in the air reduces the water consumed. Some aerators have an on/off lever so that you can stop most of the water flow without affecting the temperature, saving even more water.

9...Get a switched power bar
Plug all your wall-warts into the power strip so that it is easy to turn things off when you are not using them.

You can't get them for ten bucks, but there are some very slick power bars out there now.

10...Change a light bulb
Still have any incandescent bulbs lighting your home? Time to change them; they have better color, faster starts and less mercury than ever.

Just be sure to recycle them properly!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Water awareness tour comes to Guelph

Topics include world water shortage, unsafe water and water bottles

"We're on this tour to defend public water. We're here because we don't have all the water in the world, and there is a global water crisis, and it is the most fundamental and unjust reality in the world" Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians

If Maude Barlow is even remotely accurate in her claims, then we have a serious problem on our hands.

On Jan. 14, Barlow was speaking at the Norfolk United Church in downtown Guelph as part of the Unbottle It! tour. The tour has been traveling Ontario for the past month in an attempt to raise awareness about the importance of water as a human right, as well as to help build the case for a provincial bottled water ban.

More in the article from the Ontarion

Green Recycled Shopping Bag

...Crochet this green shopping bag using old recycled plastic bags. The plastic bags are cut into strips to create Plarn (plastic bag yarn.)

This is a true green crafting idea in every sense of the word. It is crocheted from recycled plastic grocery bags into plarn, then of course it’s green in color, and lastly it is eco-friendly as it saves the use of plastic bags as you can reuse this roomy bag over and over again.

This crocheted shopping bag is created in three pieces and then assembled as shown in the photos below...

Here is the free pattern link at Green Shopping Bag

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How to Go Green: Work from Home

Working from home sounds like a sweet deal: trade work clothes for sweats, skip rainy and crowded commutes, and set a schedule that fits you best—whether you’re an early bird or a night owl. And while there are some obvious environmental pluses to giving up commutes, take-out lunches, and weekly printer paper deliveries, setting up a home office comes with its own opportunities to cut back on energy use, trim waste production, and condense your carbon footprint.

Planet Green’s How to Go Green: Working from Home guide gives you all the information you need to green your daily grind, from where to look for comfortable chairs made from recycled materials to how to arrange your workspace for maximum productivity. Find more suggestions after the jump.

...more info at

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Yes We Can!

Millions of people around the world are embracing the Web 2.0 phenomenon of
"Social Networking", creating profiles on popular sites like Facebook,
LinkedIn, and MySpace. Change.Org is a cool website that represents a bold
new step in online community-building, combining the exciting format of
virtual networking with the a higher purpose of charity and social activism.

The only important question to ask yourself while creating your personal
profile on Change.Org is "What Do You Want to Change in the
World?" Members of this pro-active website can meet people all over the
world who are working to protect Nature, prevent and fight diseases,
promote peace, change politics, and address other local and global
issues. Make a Difference!

Visit the website here

Friday, January 16, 2009

Quotations .....

"Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right." - Isaac Asimov

"Someday I want to be rich. Some people get so rich they lose all respect for humanity. That's how rich I want to be." - Rita Rudner

"I never know how much of what I say is true." - Bette Midler

"A man can't make a place for himself in the sun if he keeps
taking refuge under the family tree." - Helen Keller

"You were born an original. Don't die a copy." - John Mason

"We're so busy watching out for what's just ahead of us that
we don't take time to enjoy where we are." - From Calvin & Hobbes

"Never spend your money before you have earned it." - Thomas Jefferson

"Through humour, you can soften some of the worst blows that
life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how
painful your situation might be, you can survive it." - Bill Cosby

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Breakfast for a Winter Morning

There is nothing better than a leisurely, home-cooked breakfast to start a winter day. This weekend, plan to invite friends over to do just that.

Light a fire, put on a pot of coffee, and cook up some apple cinnamon pancakes.

Or, try these wonderful baked apples filled with sausage.
Later, after you’ve had your fill and the kitchen’s cleaned up, get out in the fresh air and take a brisk walk.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Nine Ways To Get Your Vegetables


I'm wondering how many of you made resolutions to eat a healthier diet this year. And how many of you are actually doing it, one week into the new year? For those of you who are taking your first steps toward becoming vegetarian, you may have resolved to eat less meat. Well, how about resolving to eat more vegetables as a corollary.

When my son became a vegetarian a number of years ago, I was a bit concerned because he was never a big vegetable eater. He still doesn't like common vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli or eggplant, but now he'll eat things like celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes and lots of asian greens. Now that he can no longer rely on eating meat, he has become a much more adventurous eater. ... more

Camp Ganadaoweh Information

There is some new information regarding Camp Ganadaoweh.
A task force has been formed to look at all options for the camp: this includes re-opening year round, being a summer only camp or closing for good. If they make the decision to re-open for the summer of 2009 I am sure that brochures will be sent out sometime in the New Year. As we are not sure about the outcome at this point, I have agreed to send you information on the three other Hamilton Conference United Church Camps. Please also note that the website will remain active and new information will be posted periodically. The email address will also remain active.
If you are looking for other United Church camps, possibly closer to your cottage or trailer, you can visit this website
If you are looking for other Christian or private camps, check out More information is on our bulletin board.

posted from the Mount Carmel-Zion United Church Newsletter