On Pentecost, Crux Books, and the Pan-Am Games

This Sunday, the church celebrates the Feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the first followers of Jesus 50 days after the resurrection. Historically, Pentecost was one of the principle celebrations in the Christian year. Rejoicing in the gift of the Holy Spirit to all those baptized in the name of the Trinity marks the birthday of the church as we know it. The church which manifests itself not just in the beautiful sacred spaces in which we worship or the ministry of our clergy — but in the ministry and calling of all the body of Christ. The presence of God’s spirit within us means that each one of us has special gifts and callings within the broader ministry of the church.

One excellent example of this within our own Diocese is the ministry of Crux Books. Although the founder tragically died several years ago, the current owner and staff are committed to carrying on the ministry which he started. To create a rich theological resource in Toronto, where students and all those interested in exploring questions of faith can find affordable (!) resources. They are an assent to our church, and have been a wonderful resource for our own ministry at Grace Church.

Unfortunately, it seems Crux is running into problems with the Pan Am games taking place in Toronto this summer. They will be forced to close, with no compensation, for nearly two months this summer. We know that we live in a highly consumer-oriented world. One where big business and big corporations readily expand at the expense of ordinary people and smaller businesses. What we do not often see is tangible evidence of such economic disparity. Now, I have nothing against the Pan Am games themselves. I know several people volunteering with them, and I am sure they will be an exciting time for our city. But let us not fool ourselves — the games are a big business. And I am sure this is not the only small local business they will be negatively impacting. Offering some compensation to impacted businesses and individuals will make little difference to the bottom line of the games. But it will possibly mean the difference between life and death to small businesses.

I am dedicating the space on my blog this week to supporting Crux Books. And to encourage those in Toronto to do the same. Crux themselves have asked for a few simple means of support. To quote their own communication, this is what you can do in the coming weeks/months:

  1. Please keep us in your prayers;
  2. Through purchases of books for your summer reading;
  3. Contacting/writing local and provincial politicians; and
  4. Contacting/writing local media in an effort to bring awareness to the injustice of our situation.

Crux provides a vital source of theological depth in our city. Perhaps even more importantly — it is staffed by committed people of faith who believe that what they do is a ministry to our spiritual community (several of them are personal friends). If you’ve alway thought about investing in your spiritual library, now is the time to do it! Take a walk down Hoskin Avenue and check out some titles and authors you’ve always wanted to explore. Support this wonderful independent store, and keep them going through the summer months. Let us be the body of Christ we celebrate in the coming of the Holy Spirit and minister to one another.

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