Reverend Denise Gillard had some celebrating to do last night. After years of using older instruments for her youth based organization, The Hopeworks Connection, the Trillium Foundation approved their grant application and came through with a $14,100 grant towards the purchase of musical instruments. With this purchase, HWC is able to support the youth-led organization ‘Soundcheck’ in the Weston community. Through HWC, SoundCheck’s youth mentors are able to offer “Hear Me Play“- a program which provides personal development workshops and the opportunity for youth to work with experienced musicians and learn to play an instrument.
‘In the past, SoundCheck had to use HWC’s older equipment and rent instruments and it really cut into our fundraising for youth programming’, said Gillard. ‘This grant will allow us to do more with our donations.’
When Westminster United Church closed last year, the Weston Village Daycare was forced to close as well. Many parents (and citizens) wondered why that had to be so—isn’t it better, after all, to make a little money from rent rather than none at all?
Almost a year after the church shut down, it remains unsold and vacant. (Your humble correspondent thought about buying it but found the $3,850,000 asking price slightly out of reach.)
Next week, City Council will debate a motion by Paula Fletcher that would ask staff to figure out what can be done in situations like this. If passed, staff will inventory the services provided in churches and come up with options for preserving them when churches close.
While some Westonians were watching Santa go by, others were cozy and warm listening to some stirring gospel music from TC3 (Toronto Children’s Concert Choir & Performing Arts Company) and their special guests, the U of T Gospel Choir.
TC3 recruits students between the ages of 7 to 18 from all over the city with the aim of enriching academic and artistic talents of their members. An impressive 90% of TC3 alumni continue to higher education after high school.
Founder and Choir Music Director, Reverend Denise Gillard expressed the hope that one day, TC3 members would be singing in the U of T Gospel Choir.
In addition to their busy touring schedule, TC3 will be performing on Breakfast Television in the next few days.
I couldn’t bring myself to cover it. I knew I would be too sad, and too mad. Despite my pretensions, I don’t have a reporter’s objectivity. Happily, talented Hilary Caton was there, and she’s done a better job than I ever could of covering the final service of Westminster United.
Under the church’s wooden roof, people of all ages gathered to sing seven traditional hymns and say their own good-byes to a church that has been a staple not just in their community, but in their family history, too.
St John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church celebrated its 160th anniversary last week. Laura Albanese celebrated it in the Legislature:
A hundred and sixty years ago the Catholic community in Weston came together to establish a church so they could worship together. The community of St. John the Evangelist has grown through many difficult and exciting decades, always being an important part of the community of York South–Weston.
The church is, Mr. Speaker, the little parish with heart in the big city, and I wish to extend my most heartfelt congratulations to the church, pastor Father Michael McGourty, laypersons and staff, and to all its parishioners for 160 years of playing a vital, vibrant, central role in the community. This community will soon also be looking forward to having a new school built next to it, a brand new elementary school that bears the name of St. John the Evangelist Catholic School.