Transcripts

Parables of Community

Parables of Community

I Don’t Want to Die

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Dn. Theodore, the Director of Community of St. John the Compassionate Mission, tells a suffering man to pray, but is that enough?

“I don’t want to die.”

A few weeks ago, one of our community members—his name is Jacob—came to the mission and was quite visibly shaken. I asked him if everything was all right. I then asked if we could speak privately. He told me about his health and how it was failing, how he suffered from severe pain, but nothing seems to help, not even the medication he is prescribed. In fact, he said how he ended up in the hospital the other…

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Parables of Community

The Tenderness of God; the Tenderness of the Poor

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Fr. Roberto Ubertino, Founder and Executive Director of St. John the Compassionate Mission, demonstrates how part of the challenge and the beauty of living Orthodox mission is learning to accept the tenderness of God in our lives through the poor.

Part of the challenge and the beauty of living Orthodox mission is to learn to accept the tenderness of the God in our lives through the poor. One evening I was taking a walk through the neighborhood of the mission. I observed families and friends walking together enjoying one another and that evening I was feeling particularly alone. Out of nowhere Lucy crossed the street towards me.

Lucy is a beautiful elderly woman who for a while lived at St. Xenia house,…

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Parables of Community

Church as a Community

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It's called the Agape meal because that is where we are challenged to live what we have experienced in the liturgy.

Last week, Fr. Deacon Pawel shared at our weekly clergy meeting the story of a Church that was celebrating its 105th anniversary. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy the priest announced that this was the last liturgy in that Church, the parish would be closed due to lack of membership. Over 100 years ago the founders of the Church walked through the doors of the Church he said, but later he reminded them, “you closed those doors behind you with other people…

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Parables of Community

Lessons from a Space

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Dn. Pawel, the prefect of the Lived Theology School Program, discusses the narthex of St. John the Compassionate Mission and its meaning.

Usually parables of community are about a person or a persons but today I’d like to speak not about a person as such but about a place and what this space means. For those of you who’ve never been here a little lesson on the geography of St John the Compassionate mission.

To start at the bottom of St Johns entering by a set of steps at the side of the building you will find yourself at the basement. The basement includes a laundry area essential…

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Parables of Community

Compassion Has No Price

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Dn. Theodore, the Director of Community of St. John the Compassionate Mission, reminds us that by thinking that the sole purpose of a mission is to convert everyone, you put a price tag on compassion.

The mission is such a unique place. It’s amazing how the poor are our teachers and open our eyes to the realities of what our faith means. Not long after I was ordained to the diaconate, I was asked by a seminary to give a lecture on Orthodox mission and what our mission does. Unfortunately the group was only able to come on a day that the mission was closed. I thought to myself: How could I teach about mission without the community being present?


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Parables of Community

Unable to Love

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Dn. Theodore, the Director of Community of St. John the Compassionate Mission, discusses a man at the mission who wanted to love God but felt as though he just couldn't love back anymore.

One day, while I was consumed with meeting a particular deadline and trying to reply to endless emails, I glanced up and noticed a man in his mid-thirties eating his lunch. His hair was long; his face was unshaven; his clothes were not too clean. But what I noticed most were his eyes. They were this bright blue color, but they were watery and puffy. He looked as though he had just stopped crying. Initially, I wanted to stop what I was doing and talk to him, but I…

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Parables of Community

The Doors, the Doors

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Fr. Roberto Ubertino, the Founder and Executive Director of St. John's, discusses the open doors of the mission.

We express Orthodox mission incarnationally. When the people you’re reaching out to, particularly when they are poor, you really have to get out of your head. You have to start with the body as St James says in his epistle, “if someone comes to you and says I’m hungry or I am cold, don’t say to them ‘God bless you’ or ‘the Lord loves you’. But begin by feeding them and clothing them.”

And this is what I…

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Parables of Community

Learning to Listen

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Fr. Roberto Ubertino, Founder and Executive Director of St. John the Compassionate Mission, explains how mission work begins by showing how God is already working in people's lives.

The mission is the only place that is open in the city of Toronto for the homeless during the winter months at five o’clock in the morning. Dedicated staff and volunteers come here sometimes as early as four o’clock am to prepare the breakfast.

That morning I was able to spend some extra time at the breakfast program. And wandered from table to table speaking to some of the people who had come in.

I noticed that there was a man sitting by…

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Parables of Community

More Lessons from the Wall

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What does The Rule of St. Benedict have to say to an Orthodox mission in 21st-century Toronto?

If you were to go into the office on the main floor of the mission, one of the first things you would notice is that one wall is covered with photographs.  I spoke of this wall in Corina’s story, but this wall is more than the story of one person, it is in some ways, the story of the Mission itself.  As I mentioned before, these are the photographs of those who no longer alive, but still part of the community here.  The photographs span almost…

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Parables of Community

Arguing About Freedom

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What does it mean to be mentally healthy?

Arguing About Freedom.

A lot of the stress comes nowadays from within, from within ourselves, but today this stress is sometimes totally theoreticized. Our world has names or other words for everything: concepts that people use to identify or to be identified by others with them; first identified and consequently diagnosed. That, it is said, should help us to better understand ourselves and so to support our constant need for change. The mental health field…

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