Rosedale Presbyterian Church (416) 921-1931

Rosedale Presbyterian Church 129 Mount Pleasant Road
(at South Drive) Toronto


This Sunday (December 8) is the Second Sunday of Advent when we present our annual Advent Cantata service featuring Pachabel's "Magnificat in G" and Buxtehude's "Rejoice Heaven and Earth." The RPC Choir offers this beautiful and exuberant seasonal music with accompaniment from our magnificent Karl Wilhelm organ.

During worship the Rev. Wes Denyer will be preaching a sermon entitled “Reorder, reset, return.” John the Baptist is the last in a long line of Jewish prophets. John baptized Jesus and many others in the Jordan River as he called the Israelite nation to repentance. The difference between John’s message and that all of all the prophets before him, was that his message is a promise, while the others offered a deal or a transaction. In John’s promise we are invited to participate in the coming Kingdom of Heaven.

Also during the service, we will Celebrate of the Sacrament of Baptism for Piers, infant son of Victoria Smart and Ted Mercer and welcome family and friends who will be joining us to celebrate this special occasion.

After worship, the RPC Knitting Guild will be holding its annual sale of wonderfully hand-crafted hats, scarves, mitts and more. A great chance to buy stocking stuffers and more!

In the afteroon from 4 pm to 6 pm, the Penthelia Singers will present A Ceremony of Carols, featuring a selection of classic, seasonal treble choral works by Britten, Chilcott, Larkin, Rutter, among others. Join us for rousing drinking songs and quiet, cozy moments that frame the beauty of this season. Tickets are $20; Children 12 and under pay their age. (at door or through

Our MUSIC/MEDIA area contains the monthly Word & Music list, the Weekly Service Bulletin, Weekly Music Notes, and Current recorded Audio Content.

This Sunday's Music

Guest musicians: Norman Engel, Mike Fedyshyn - trumpets

PRELUDE: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645 - J.S. Bach

Cantata of Service: Magnificat in G – J. Pachelbel

Cantata of Joy: Rejoice, Earth and Heaven, BuxWV 69 – D. Buxtehude

CHORAL AMEN: Amen for Advent Sundays - C. Dawes

POSTLUDE: auf, ruft uns die Stimme - J.L. Krebs

Music Notes

By Chris Dawes, Music Director

Over and over as we regard history, things we might have supposed to be older turn out to have fairly recent causes, and one such example is the tradition in Protestant Churches of “Special Music” and at this time of the year, that special instance of Special Music, the ‘Christmas Cantata.’

The Italian term ‘Sonata’ describes a multi-movement work for instruments. Its root ‘Sona-‘ comes from sound: it is music to be heard. The related term ‘Cantata’ describes a work similar in most ways, except that it incorporates voices, and comes from ‘Canta-‘: it is music to be sung. The seemingly parallel terms Sonata and Cantata are in fact not parallel, though – the former describes how the piece is received (through sound), whereas the latter describes how it is offered (by singing). Presumably Cantatas, also received through sound, should just be a special case of ‘Sonata’, right?

Wrong. In the Biblical context singing, as opposed to other sorts of music making, seems to have a special imperative all its own. True, the Psalms and a handful of other biblical stories mention instruments, but instances and explicit exhortations to singing, perhaps the most intimate and personal way of making music, far outnumber them.

So much so, that when in Reformation times our denomination’s Calvinist precursors were ‘cleaning house’ of various corrupt and non- or dubiously-scriptural practices, instruments (including the organ) were summarily removed from worship, while singing remained. Along with selling indulgences (essentially ‘salvation paid for in cash’) and the instruments went the elaborate ritual practices and sublime choral music of the Catholic tradition. Ah, you say, but what about the Lutherans and the great Cantata tradition of Bach? Yes, on this point (as well as others) Lutherans and Calvinists appear to have differed, and Lutheran worship retained, at least in principal churches, a place for elaborate music.

Fast-forward to the 20th century, when scholars of both music and liturgy became deeply interested in returning to both the works and the ‘authentic’ practices of earlier times. The Calvinist streams of Protestantism had by then re-introduced instruments and non-scriptural sung texts (i.e. ‘hymns’). And a society placing some emphasis on music in education and public life was producing fine musicians to lead public worship, who felt drawn to the riches of the Cantata tradition, then re-emerging mostly on the concert stage. The accomplished and aspirational church musician sought occasional special musical goals for their church choirs and other ensembles, and found in history (or created brand-new in history’s honour) – the Cantata.

So, music from an earlier tradition is restored (as we do at RPC this morning with masterpieces of the German Baroque before Bach), and a new repertoire of Christmas, Lenten and Easter Cantatas emerges, mostly in the English west – not every week as in the impressive practice of Bach at Leipzig – but rather on special occasions and in special seasons.

The Church Cantata today reminds us of the unique role of singing in worship throughout God’s church, of the aspirations of choirs like other ministry teams working in service, and the compelling ability of artistic beauty to offer us a window upon a Gospel of truth.


The Giving Tree One too many travel-sized toiletries in your closet? Have you been collecting for the Giving Tree all year? It’s that time of year again - the Sunday school is asking for donations of travel-size toiletries. Boxes will be available at entrance ways and donations collected until Dec 1. Items will be placed into small gift bags, sold on Dec 1, and used to decorate our Christmas tree. The toiletries and money raised will help support mission programs in the city. Donations of knitted items, such as hats and mitts, also make great decorations for our tree! Consider making Christmas a little warmer and a little brighter for our neighbours.

The Globe and Faith considering current events in the light of our Christian faith will meet on Wednesday, December 11th at 10:30 am. Please feel welcome to participate in this group when you’re available, even if you’re unable to attend regularly. For more information, please contact Wes Denyer who will be facilitating this conversation each week.

Please join us for our Welcome Home Christmas Luncheon to be held after the Service of Worship on Sunday, December 22rd. This annual event is an opportunity to extend hospitality to students, friends and family, who may be visiting or home for the holidays, as we celebrate the Christmas season together. Look for the sign-up sheets at coffee hour. Let us know that you plan to attend and also to contribute something to the menu of sandwiches and Christmas treats.

The Bridge and Scrabble Group will not be meeting again until January. If you have a card table you would like to donate to the group, please contact the church office.

From the Mission Team: Christmas Giving Please use the third line of your envelope to help us with Rosedale’s annual Christmas Givings to Boarding Homes ministry and Portland Place.

Boarding Homes Ministry Our Visiting Team shall again celebrate Christmas on Saturday December 14 with the 40 residents at the Kennedy House on Sherbourne. We shall provide Swiss Chalet Festive dinners and $25 for each resident (approximate cost Swiss Chalet: $650, monetary gift $1000).

Portland Place To participate in Christmas Celebrations with the 57 adult residents, (Female 31, Male 26) and 10 children at Portland Place, RPC will give each adult resident a $25 gift card of their choice. Each child will receive a gift. (estimated cost gift cards: $1425, children’s gifts: $250.00). The 10 children include: 4 boys – 8, 5, 4 and 2 yrs; 5 girls – 13, 8, 5, 4 and 10 mos.; 1 new-born due in February.

The Anglican Foundation is publishing Children’s Prayers with Hope Bear to coincide with its 60th anniversary. This book features 24 prayers for liturgical seasons, holidays, and special moment in a child’s life (starting school, moving home, loss of a loved one), with text by Judy Rois and  beautiful images by Canadian illustrator and watercolorist Michele Nidenoff. Perfect for children from preschool up to age 12. Available here. $15 each. Judy Rois is the wife of our minister, the Rev. Wes Denyer.  Michele Nidenoff ( is a member of our congregation.