Growing in Community at ESG

by Aidan Mitchell Legault

As the strange summer of 2020 winds to a close, our Grow Team is looking back fondly on the work that we’ve accomplished, the seeds that we’ve sown, and the community that we’ve built together in the gardens at Eglinton St. George’s United Church. Over the past weeks and months, our team has been hard at work in the soil at ESG, working to foster the growth of not only fruits, vegetables, and flowers, but also of our own connections to our church, our faith, and our God. 

Read Aidan’s blog post published by Faith and the Common Good here.

Fall Worship Services at ESG

ESG’s Reopening Work Group has been working hard this summer to develop a plan for ESG in compliance with Ontario Ministry of Health’s and The City of Toronto’s ever-evolving COVID-19 Guidelines and Bylaws for the reopening of places of worship. It is our responsibility to consider carefully how to prevent infection among our staff, members and visitors to ESG as we prepare to resume in-person worship services.

Online Worship

We will continue to offer online worship, presented by live streaming on Sunday mornings, so you can still watch from home in real time or later if you prefer to do so. We understand that many people may prefer to continue connecting to worship online, and will appreciate having that option.

In-person Worship

We are pleased to inform you that in-person worship services at ESG will resume on Sunday, September 27 at 10:30 am. Our first two fall services, on September 13 and 20, will be live-streamed online, with staff and a few volunteers present in the church. These “practice” live services will give us some time to ensure that things will go smoothly and safely for you on the 27th.

You likely have many questions about how the service will be organized.

Here are some important changes to what you are used to. More detailed guidelines for returning to in-person worship and pre-registration instructions will be provided soon in our weekly email and on the website. Please share it with your family and friends.

  • The maximum number for attendance in our Sanctuary is 50 persons.
  • An online pre-registration system will be used so you can be assured of having a seat.
  • There will be a brief health questionnaire to be completed each week
  • Masks will be worn and provided if you don’t have yours.
  • Ushers will guide you to your safely spaced seating
  • Family groups and close contacts may sit together
  • Children must stay throughout the service with their family
  • Church School and Youth Group will not take place at ESG. Kate Littler, our Family Ministry Coordinator and Aidan Legault, our Youth Leader, will continue their wonderful program online.
  • There will be live music with organ/piano and a soloist, but no full choir or congregational singing.
  • There will be no food or drink served
  • Hand sanitizer wall dispensers have been installed throughout the building
  • Many other precautions are in place for your safety.

We look forward to worshipping together with you again in whatever way you feel comfortable.

Anti-Black Racism Discussion Resources

Educating Ourselves: Anti-Black Racism Resources

The Anti-Black Racism Discussion Group at ESG invites you to have a look at these resources – books, videos, and podcasts – in order to further growth and learning.  And please, spread the word!


Video/Online resources:

Short interview with Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility

TED Talk by Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to be an Anti-Racist

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man – Emmanuel Acho leads a series of engaging conversations on a variety of topics to do with race.

Advocating for homeless individuals

Are you feeling helpless, wishing there was something you could fix during the pandemic?

The Peace with Justice Group has provided a draft of a letter you can use to send to members of city council and the mayor. If we bombard council with enough letters they might do something.

Homelessness has been a problem in the Toronto area for some time.  It is time for us to use our influence to insist that our local government stop promising and start building adequate shelter for all of the residents of Toronto.

Below is a link to a downloadable version of the letter. Simply fill in the blanks for the name of the politician(s) you want to send it to, and provide your name and address. Your address is important – politicians care about where voters live. You can send your letter by regular mail, or send an email version. Feel free to alter the wording to express your own thoughts.

Dear Politician letter

Politician’s Addresses

Year End Donations Appeal


Help ESG meet the revenue challenge posed by COVID-19

Mary went to the tomb that first Easter morning, found it empty and her life was changed. From that moment on, she spoke, taught, and lived her life in the Word and world of the resurrected Christ. The disciples called Mary the Migdal – the tower. She was, for them a place of strength at the centre of their circle, amid their grief and anxiety.

Amid pandemic anxiety, loss and isolation ESG is working tirelessly to be that tower of strength and stability as we learn new ways of being church.

We are actively reducing our expenditures, to soften the financial impact of COVID 19. As a congregation, we are lucky to have financial resources available in our “savings account.” Still, the reality is that we are facing challenging year-end results for our ESG Local Operations as June 30th approaches. Revenue is our challenge.

In addition to MONTHLY PAR donations, our goal is to raise $130K by June 30th

Thank you for your support of ESG. It is a congregation, a church family, that we are all proud to be a part of, and I am so glad that you call ESG home, for your life of faith. Amid this challenging and stressful time, I am asking you to help us continue in ministry together.

ESG has weathered storms and continued to find strength in the clear voice that reminds us that we are called and enabled to change the world through the gift of our faith.

Can you help us come closer to meeting our June 30th budget in this moment of vulnerability?

Thank you for the gift of your presence at ESG. Thank you for your support of this ministry we call home together. Thank you in advance for helping us reach our June 30th goal as the Ministry of ESG moves into the future confidently.

Wherever the path of life may lead us, wherever the journey may go, we are not alone.

Thanks be to God!

There are various ways to donate.

  1. Mail a cheque payable to Eglinton St. George’s United Church, 35 Lytton Blvd, Toronto, ON, M4R 1L2.  We have an outdoor mailbox at the church so that you can drop your cheque off.  
  2. Online Donations can be made to ESG via Canada Helps.
  3. Email or Phone our bookkeeper, Irina Denissova, to donate using your credit card or to increase your monthly MONTHLY PAR GIVINGS (automatic bank transfer or credit card), 416-481-1141 x230.
  4. Donating securities – Eliminate the capital gains tax that you’d have to pay if you sold the securities giving the proceeds. Instructions are on the ESG website.

Music Stories: Some History Notes about ESG’s Choir

 – story by David Lemmon, Member of the ESG Choir

Our Church Music heritage has been 60 years in the making. Throughout the decades, with the continuing unfailing support of the Congregation, it has provided inspirational leadership in Worship.

Some interesting notes from the history of our choir:

  • Our choirs have made 2 National Tours and 3 International Tours
  • For years our choirs regularly participated in Kiwanis Music Festivals, almost always earning First place awards.
  • Our choir was invited to form, rehearse and perform as the resident Toronto Symphony Chorus
  • Our choir was the basis of The Bach Consort, performing major Bach choral works at ESG under the direction of internationally renowned conductors
  • Our teenage choirs mounted annual productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas – 12 in total – each with 4 performances at Lawrence Park Collegiate.
  • Our choir has mounted public concerts at Roy Thomson Hall, Massey Hall and the North York Performing Centre for the Arts
  • Over the years, our choirs have produced and sold 6 major recordings for our Congregation and the community at large
  • For a number of years our choir offered the congregation and the community chancel performances of Amahl and the Night Visitors

Asked “why do you sing?” one of our choristers replied as follows: “I love to sing because it feeds my soul and it brings me into community with others who share a passion for choral music” (an alto)

We want to enhance our music program and include an even wider selection of music on Sundays. You can help by supporting our Hooray For Hollywood Gala music fundraiser event. Learn more…

Music Stories: Why I joined the choir

 – story by Gord Brookes, Member of the ESG Choir

Music has always been an element in my life.  When I was a child I had aunts that lived in a not large house in mid-town Toronto who had “dueling piano and organ” on either side of the living room/dining room with one aunt at each side of the room with the rest of the family in the middle singing heartily and occasionally even playing on brass or woodwind instruments.  Later, I married a woman who had spent her youth in a good choir and when we had children we made it almost a vocation to learn a vast repertoire of songs to sing to our children at bed-time.  My children both joined the Toronto Children’s Chorus and when they were learning the music I found I could not help but want to sing along with them.  In the mean-time the children became too old for me to sing them at bed-time and I found I needed a musical outlet and joined the choir at ESG.  My wife, 2 teenage children and I hold varied and not always compatible pursuits and activities but I must say that in the last few years that choral music has grown to be a pleasant source of common interest and passion in our family.  The family that sings together, stays together?  I hope so.

We want to enhance our music program and include an even wider selection of music on Sundays. You can help by supporting our Hooray For Hollywood Gala music fundraiser event. Learn more…

Music Stories: Choir Tour in Italy – 2008

– story by Cathy Macdonald, a beloved Member of the ESG Choir who passed away in 2016

“Singing in Italy’s beautiful venues was as exciting as it was humbling. We were inspired by our exquisite surroundings. We were amazed by the incredible acoustics – occasionally in churches that were over 1000 years old. We were HOT – we got used to feeling little rivers of perspiration trickle down our backs during our concerts! And, truth be told, we were occasionally a bit nervous as we tried to look confident at Catholic Masses performed completely in Italian and Latin. We must have stood, sat, prayed and sung at all the right times, however, since we were invited to return to St. Peter’s in Rome to sing a second Mass, an enormous honour, and we’re even invited to perform on Italian TV!”

An unforgettable moment in the history of the ESG choir, the choir’s experience of Italy stands as a testament to ESG’s rich music heritage.

ESG Choir in Italy, 2008

We want to enhance our music program and include an even wider selection of music on Sundays. You can help by supporting our Hooray For Hollywood Gala music fundraiser event. Learn more…