They have the weather right, that’s for sure. The day was blustery and cold. But they also have everything else right, too, and for a magazine article about a topic as nuanced as religion and the secular, that is an amazing feat.
Thank you to Managing Editor Jaren Kerr and journalist Tom Yun for a great article exploring what Toronto Oasis is all about and why most people think of it as being Outside the Circle.
“February 12, 2017 was a Sunday. The roads were treacherous and the sidewalk was slippery. There was a snowstorm; the kind that encourages most people to stay in their homes, but that didn’t stop over 100 people from visiting U of T to talk about anything other than God.
“The first gathering — service, meeting, it’s still not decided what to call it — of the Toronto chapter of the Oasis network was held in the Koffler House Multi-Faith Centre. The Oasis network, established in the US, provides a community similar to that of a church or a mosque for the non-religious, the secular, the skeptical, and the curious.
We have the address. We’ve checked out the room. Flicked the light switches on and off and on and off again. We even know where the tables and chairs are stored. But figuring out how everything is going to work is not something we want to be doing on our big day. So, we’re getting together this Sunday, February 5th, for a “soft launch” and you’re invited.
What we mean by a “soft launch” is that we will arrive at the planned set-up time – 10:00 a.m. – and we’ll run through everything we’re going to need to run through to ensure as smooth a launch possible. We’ll set up the chairs and time how long it takes us to do that. We’ll plug in the sound system to make sure we know how to use it for the big day and every Sunday following. We’ll brew some coffee and figure out how long that takes, too, and figure out where to put the cookies. In fact, we’ll run through as much as we possibly can so that next week, when Toronto Oasis officially launches, we’ll be able to set up easily and focus on the fun.
But we don’t want to be exclusive about it so we’re inviting you to join us. Yep. This Sunday. The 5th. If you’re interested in getting involved with Canada’s first Oasis community, this is your first opportunity. And you’ll get to hang with some awesome people, see some of the obligatory bloopers, and then head off for Superbowl Sunday at a local hangout.
Sound like fun? Great! Send us an email and let us know you’re coming or just show up at 10 and lend a hand. We’ll be glad to have you with us!
We are delighted to announce the speaker for Toronto Oasis’ launch. Rick Miller has been a theatrical force for good over the course of his amazing career as a writer, actor, director, and collaborator. Now, he comes to Oasis to share some of his contagious enthusiasm for what is good, what is right, and what is downright awesome.
Rick showed up on the radar of those exploring progressive religious thought when, collaborating with Daniel Brooks and Beth Kate‘s, he created and performed the provocative Bigger Than Jesus in 2004. The play, a critical exploration of the assumptions of Christianity, was a sensation and after its award-winning run in Toronto, went on to play in five different countries in four different languages (all by Rick, of course!).
But Rick’s interests are broader than just religion. In HARDSELLhe explored the corporatization of our lives; in MacHomer, he uses his spectacular talents to act out MacBeth by mimicking the voices of over fifty characters from The Simpsons; in BOOM, he brings the entire history of the boomer generation to life through song, story, and a brilliant interweaving of the lives of ordinary three people. Children have been entranced with the Kidoons project and 20,000 Leagues Under the Seacaptivates all ages. Rick has been an outspoken and creative advocate for Plan Canada’s Because I am a Girl project. He is now working on his next theatrical production, MONEY.
Toronto Oasis, Canada’s first secular Oasis community, is scheduled to launch on February 12th at the University of Toronto’s beautiful Multifaith Centre, Koffler House, 569 Spadina Avenue. The site is accessible. Child care will be provided. Our gathering will officially start at 11:00 but we encourage you to come early to meet others, have a coffee, and help create the energy that Toronto Oasis is sure to build. Plan to stay for a bit after the program to chat with Rick and others about how Toronto Oasis might fit into your life, too.