Concert Fundraiser for Bloor Lansdowne Community Dinner

Bloor Lansdowne Community Dinner presents

A Cup of Cold Water

in concert, Saturday May 23rd at 7:00 pm

Where: 1307 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario

South side of Bloor Street, just west of Lansdowne, steps from the Lansdowne TTC subway stop, extra parking at the Value Village next door

Why?

A “Pay What You Can” fundraiser with all proceeds going to support the weekly Wednesday night community dinner. For over a year BLCF has been hosting a free meal program for residents of the neighbourhood – homeless or under-housed, lonely seniors, young single parent families, residents of nearby transitional housing and the working poor. Every week we have more than sixty guests, some nights serving over one hundred home-cooked meals.

This is not a “soup kitchen’ program. It’s more like inviting neighbours over for dinner. Developed and operated in partnership with Project417. The tables are set, the ambiance is friendly and we serve our guests at the table restaurant style – hearty and homemade meals and tasty desserts. Dinner is served fr0m, 6 to 8pm. All night there is live music – folk, roots rock, acoustic – often featuring our friend Terry, guitarist / vocalist and songwriter of the duo A Cup of Cold Water.

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BLCF Bloor Lansdowne Community DinnerBloor Lansdowne CommunityDinner is hosted by the Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship at the church located at 1307 Bloor Street West, where they have been serving the local area for more than 70 years.

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Come on down for a great night out and help feed the hungry right in our neighborhood. Questions, call (416)535-9578

On the web at blcf.info

Visit the Facebook group

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Panhandlers Feeling Effects Of Staggering Economy

A great article and video of many of our homeless friends panhandling and the impact of the current downward economic trend. From that article, they interviewed and photographed our good friend Terry, busking on Queen:

Source: citynews.ca – “Huddled in an abandoned store front stoop on Queen West, Terry is playing the guitar with gusto when I approach him.  He isn’t a panhandler, he stresses, and never begs for money.  But he does rely on the generosity of others to get by.  He’s been busking for 12 years and admits he’s noticed a slow down lately.

“It affects everybody, from the guy who’s making the most money to the guy who’s making the least money.  It’s like a trickle down type thing.  If they’re not making as much money they’re not dropping as much money.  People are depressed, angry, you can literally see it, like when it went downhill with the U.S. stocks, you could literally see it.  People look tired, people look fed up, worried, concerned.

Terry and friend...

“There’s no security anymore.  Those people work really hard and they lose it all.  They invest in stocks and think that it’s going to be good, and it ends up falling through.” [end of excerpt]

I also have a great video of Terry and friends busking in the same spot two summers ago. Click here to see the YouTube video. I used to busk with them myself, and jam at the Knox Out-of-the-Cold youth dinner too – The Knox program (founded by Joe at Project417) starts up again next Tuesday to run through the winter: a great home-cooked hot meal, foodbank, clothing, haircuts and dye-jobs, open mic and more – all for street youth 25 (ish) and under. And don’t forget our Wednesday nite Community Dinner, free to all, over at Bloor Lansdowne. If panhandling takes are down, I expect we’ll see more of our friends at those meals. I know we’re not seeing too much of a decrease in our street friends when we go out distribute bag lunches. We have a team out tonite taking sixty meals and I’ll post an update.

There’s quite a few of us here at Project417 who are involved as volunteers in trying to get an alternative to the current “street” newspapers our homeless friends can sell. It should improve the take, and provide a dignified alternative to panhandling. Hopefully, and here’s the tough part, it will be a real community effort, with top down involvement from our street friends. Come back and check out the Mission Log for updates.
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Leadership vs. Teamwork

Grunt work - getting your hands dirty.Sunday is a great day to reflect and, if you’re lucky, to be inspired. I got lucky yesterday and heard a great message by our Pastor, Joe Elkerton, at the Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship. It was on leadership.

It made me think how our society is so focused on “leadership” but seems to forget what really makes things work – service. Everyone wants to be a great leader but we’ve all forgotten how to get any real work done. Who does the grunt work? Who gets their hands dirty?

A quick search on Google turns up 185 million results for leadership and only 22.5 million for teamwork. (less than 5% of the sites dealing with teamwork were related to the church or Christianity) How are we getting any work done? Well, the answer is simple – We’re not. As a society we have a fixation with celebrity and stardom. Not just in sports and entertainment, but in politics, government, business and public works. We think it is great leaders who accomplish great works. I don’t think this is exclusively a characteristic of Western society but it seems to have been taken to the extreme here in North America.

Marshall McLuhan said, “The medium is the message”. (Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, 1964) Basically that the media influence and even overshadow the messages or information being delivered to us. Those media have changed drastically since McLuhan coined the phrase. Not just print, radio, film or television, now the internet and video hold the place of preeminence with a host of new delivery technologies – on-demand, podcasts, mobile messaging, streaming video, HD-DVD, HDTV, MP3, iTunes, P2P, satellite, Twitter,  Facebook. A raging torrent of information roars to capture our attention and the primary means the agents of delivery utilize to achieve this is still that old Hollywood magic act – the “Star”.

In 1968 artist Andy Warhol said, ” In the future, everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes” which has morphed into our idea of 15 seconds of fame. Warhol was reading the pulse of evolving media delivery and how it shaped society around us. It is mirrored in U.S. presidential races. We’ve just seen the Obama – Clinton parade go by for the democratic nomination and now we will witness the the most stupendous circus act of all – Who will be the next president of the United States? Barack Obama or John McCain? All of the world shaping issues that affect the daily lives of every person on the planet will be distilled down to into some live streaming version of American Idol. I wouldn’t be suprised to see some future election decided by voters texting their choice to a five digit number from their cellphone.

This is leadership miscontrued. The personal glorification raised above the interests of the public good. And we all want it for ourselves. We want to be leaders, we want to be stars, we want to be famous, if only for fifteen minutes. As a matter of fact, we want this so much that many of us choose infamy rather than obscurity. Ask any corporate public relations person and they’ll tell you “even bad press is good publicity”.

In the workplace, in school, in the public shere, we all want to lead (or think we should). Very few are willing to serve and follow. The church is not immune. Perhaps it is even more susceptible to the star making machinery. Witness the excesses visited upon Christians everywhere hungry to cozy up to the next prophet, looking for their share of the fame. How many churches hold leadership seminars?

No really great leader in the bible asked for the job. Rather they were called from positions of service. As a matter fo fact, like Moses or Jonah, they tried to decline the calling.  We need to do the same. Rather than seeking for opportunities to use our skills to lead others, we need to seek opportunites to serve. We need to get our hands dirty, even when there’s no one recording the moment on camera to post photos on Facebook. Pick up the garbage, sweep out the corners, carry the burden, bind the wounds, offer the cool drink of water. Join the team. It already has a captain, coach and superstar – Jesus Christ.

BIG on Bloor Festival June 21st

Saturday June 21, Bloor Street West will be “car free” from Christie Pits Park to Lansdowne from 1pm to 9pm. Celebrate local community, business, arts and culture. Join the festival. Sell something, share something, teach something
—use your imagination! Visit Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship & Project417.com
At 6:00 pm, World’s Biggest Dinner Party!

Jan. 21, 2009 update – Get ready for Big on Bloor 2009

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Bloor Lansdowne Community Dinner – Toronto

Every Wednesday night the Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship Church (1307 Bloor St. W) opens its doors to the community to serve a free home-cooked meal to the homeless, lonely and marginalized members of this Toronto community. Volunteers help with everything and make friends and share conversation with the guests – real community development. Make poverty history!

Visit the website at blcf.info

updated Jan. 21, 2009

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