The Speed of Relationship

Sermon by Rev. Ben Robins, Summer Minister.

Building Trust In a Relationship

How long does it take you to make a friend? How long does it take you to meet your neighbour? How long does it take you to notice the other, to overcome difference, to overcome the past?

On my first Sunday as your Summer Minister, I invite us to sit with the challenges of nurturing relationship. There is a tenderness to the topic: with hundreds more children found in unmarked residential school graves, with hearts broken again from sea to sea, reconciliation can seem more daunting and distant. And there is an urgency: the 8 billion of us on this planet need to build the trust and cooperation needed to end the pandemic and the climate emergency.

I don’t promise to have answers, but I will share what has helped people, in some contexts, to move at the speed of relationship.

How deep can we go on this first Sunday together? We’re not starting from zero. I treasure the memories and relationships from my time as a member and then student minister at First. If you’re new at First since I moved on to my internship, I’ll share a little bit about myself: I have a physics background and love the big questions, deep mysteries and beautiful patterns of this universe; I love improv dance, and how ritual and connection (to self, other and all) can be discovered and rediscovered in ways old and new; and I love intentional community, and how different norms, structures and contexts can bring us out and bring us together.

Now it’s your turn: Open up an email to and share 5 random things about yourself (if that’s too hard, try 10), and perhaps share your first memory of Toronto First, or your first memory of doing good in the world, or your first memory of the simplicity or complexity of this life. Or just share whatever is in your heart or on your mind this week.

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