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Imperial Food Systems Then and Now:
Jesus and Indigenous Food Sovereignty
- Aileen Verdun

Thursday, April 11, 2019
Chaplain's office, Wycliffe College (basement)
6:00 – Dinner
7:00 (or so) – Something After Dinner – Presentation, discussion, prayer etc.
Dear friends,

The above picture is of manoomin, or wild rice, an aquatic grass that is native to certain parts of North America. Wild rice has been a staple of the traditional food systems and economies of the Anishnaabeg communities for centuries, though colonial systems have worked to diminish its prominence. Colonization of the Indigenous peoples in the land known as Canada has involved stripping them of control over their own foodways, largely because of the important role food has in cultural identity. By controlling food systems, colonizers worked to rupture Indigenous identity for the purposes of assimilation. These colonial strategies are not new, but rather trace back to empires of old. The Roman empire in the first century also worked to control the food systems of those under its rule, always to the benefit of those with power and at the expense of those with none.

This week at GCF, we will be discussing my recently completed thesis work, and further exploring the connections between the first-century Roman imperial and twenty-first century colonial practices of control and exploitation of land and food. These connections serve as a basis for a deeper understanding of our own context, but also help us to better comprehend the context in which Jesus lived. Hearing Jesus’ teachings as coming from life in the middle of the Roman empire helps us to understand his actions and words in ways we may not be able to otherwise. By framing Jesus’ teachings, specifically those on food, in the imperial context of Rome, we are also better able to consider the ways those teaching impact the food systems in our own “imperial” context. We will look specifically at how Jesus’ words and teachings may apply to the issues facing Indigenous peoples around food sovereignty, as Indigenous peoples have long experienced exploitation and oppression at the hands of imperial colonial systems.

I would love for you to join us this Thursday evening as we explore these ideas and have some interesting conversation!

Food for this week:

Carol, Aileen

Host (earlier)
Host (later)
Sun April 14, 6pm
Palm Sunday Service
(details below)

Mon April 15
Junia's Daughters early bird registration deadline (details below)

Thurs April 18
Maundy Thursday

Thurs April 25
Easter celebration Potluck
Remembering the Year
Sunday April 14 – Combined CRC Palm Sunday Evening Service
Join several Christian Reformed congregations and ministries for a Palm Sunday service. Brian Walsh is preaching, members of Wine Before Breakfast will help lead worship and music, and Leah will share a brief testimony. The service will also celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the CRC campus ministry at UofT. It is being hosted by First CRC (67 Taunton Road, near Mount Pleasant and Eglinton). Food and fellowship at 5 pm, service at 6 pm. Everyone is welcome.  It would be great to have a good number of GCFers there to support the ministry (and Leah) and join in the celebration.
Saturday, May 25, 9-4 – Junia’s daughters Conference
A Conference for Every Woman in Ministry (poster below)
Come and be inspired by women who are living out ministry lives of passion and insight. Share with and learn from other women on topics like wage justice, healthy sexuality, and the challenges of maintaining a vibrant personal, professional, and spiritual life as a woman in ministry or considering ministry. This is a conference by question-filled women for question-filled women. Expect a day full of personal stories, faith reflections, and interesting questions.
If you are a woman involved or interested in ministry, we encourage you to visit our website for more details and registration. Tickets are $50 until April 15, and $70 after that. Bursaries are available. Location: Wycliffe College.

Housing Request:
I am a 26-year-old Christian grad student who will be starting at UofT in the fall. I have a co-op in the city this summer that starts in May, and so am hoping to have a place by then. I am looking for an unfurnished 1-bedroom unit within a reasonable transit commute of the university, and my budget is about $1800/mo. I have an old, well-behaved cat, and would need parking for my old and also well-behaved car. If you have any leads, please contact me at

Once a term, we approach the community about supporting the ministry financially.  So much of what we do depends on the generosity of our community members.  We recognize GCFers are at different places financially, but want to encourage members to consider giving what they can.  Here are a few ways you can give to this campus ministry:

1. PAR. For those who have a PAR arrangement with the campus ministry, thank you. These monthly donations are absolutely foundational to our daily ministry. You can, of course, adjust your monthly giving (increase or decrease) at any time. If you would like to set up a new PAR with the ministry, complete the Pre-Authorized Remittances form and mail it to the address on the form. 

2. By cheque. Write cheques to “Classis Toronto” with “UT Campus Ministry” on the memo line and either place them in the offering bowl or mail them to:
CRC Campus Ministries
c/o Wycliffe College
5 Hoskin Ave.
Toronto, ON M5S 1H7

3. Cash donations. Place donations in the offering bowl or drop them off at the office. If you would like a receipt, please put the cash in an envelope with your name and address on it.

4. Canada Helps. Go to and then choose UoT Campus Ministry under the “Apply your donation” box.

5. Donations from the US. Details on our website.
Christian Reformed Campus Ministries
(University of Toronto)
Wine Before Breakfast 
Tuesdays, 7:22 am
Graduate Christian Fellowship 
Thursdays, 6:00 pm

Carol Scovil   <>
Aileen Verdun <>
Marcia Boniferro   <>
Brian Walsh    <>
Geoff Wichert is on Sabbatical until Aug 2019

Facebook: UT-GCFWine Before Breakfast
Brian's blog: Empire Remixed
Map and directions to our office
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