The Rev. Dr. John Joseph Mastandrea

The Rev. Dr. John Joseph Mastandrea became minister of spiritual growth and pastoral care development at Metropolitan United in 2000. John Joseph cut his teeth in the Etobicoke area of Toronto and now resides in Cabbagetown, he is "connected with the urban landscape, with the internal and eternal song."

He has Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Master of Divinity, Master of Religious Education, Master of Arts and Ministry  of Spirituality degrees , all from the University of Toronto. John Joseph completed his Doctorate from Chicago Theological Seminary, May 2009. Ordained in 1989, he is a certified Labyrinth Facilitator, Stephen Leader, and Spiritual Director following in the footsteps of Ignatius Loyola and Teresa of Avila. John Joseph believes in nurturing body, mind and spirit. Monday to Friday at the local gymn, reading and meditating daily  weaves three key components of life. Nurture for self to nurture for others. This is the credo he lives by. John Joseph is a Christian Mystic who lives by these words.

“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing... not healing, not curing... that is a friend who cares.” Henri Nouwen

John Joseph has served congregations from the Maritimes, Saskatchewan, northern Ontario and rural Quebec to urban and suburban parts of the Greater Toronto Area.

John Joseph's volunteer work for the church and community includes: Chairperson of the Toronto South East Presbytery Pastoral Relations Commission,  membership in the Toronto Area Interfaith Council, Police Chaplin to 51 Division, Membership in the Toronto Rotary, Chair Person the Toronto Rotary Community Services Committee and Chair of the World Aids Concert Committee a benefit for Casey House. Volunteer ministry has included positions as chairperson of the Worship and Liturgy Committee of Toronto Conference for four years, chairperson of the Mission Committee of Toronto South Presbytery, chairperson of the Planning and Development Committee and co-chairperson of the Christian Development Committee in York Presbytery north of Toronto, chairperson of the AIDS Committee of York Region since 1998, and member of the Pastoral Care Committee of York Central Hospital in Richmond Hill. He represented Canada as a delegate to the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland, in February 1990.

Recently, John Joseph was awareded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012 to celebrate the ongoing spirit of his community work in the surrounding neighbourhood.

Today John Joseph seeks to meet people where they are and  build the capacity for relations between people in a diverse spectrum of society.

Dr. Mastandrea's Thesis: icon Mastandrea - Even The Rocks Will Cry Out



The return in summer is the daily experience of summer days. There are daily excursions or extended or holidays, even perhaps stay cations. The return home to the familiar sanctuary is the end goal.  The writers of the text proclaim the message of return, for the people of Israel, redemption is crossing the Jordan. When we cross our Jordan and make our return we take a piece of the adventure with us in the people we have encountered the conversations that we shared. This summer in the early days of August we returned to Ireland to meet again our friend Julie Malone the Dingle Druid. We renewed our wedding vows on August 7 our 13th wedding anniversary. Julie is a bright light in our lives. Each of us can be a bright light for each when we discover the thin place between heaven and earth. The return home for us has become the gift of savouring the blazing memory, the milestone of renewal, our lives forever transformed. 

The Long Night

The long night has come upon us. The moment where we cross the threshold to meet winter. On the other side of the long night is the growing day. Two ancient solitudes of Oak King for summers day and Holly King for Winter’s night bring the ballad of polarities in this season alive. It is music to the ear.

The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown,
Of all trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown

 O, the rising of the sun,
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.  Wadsworth

The writers of John record these words “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. We are in the beginning of culmination of a cycle, the end of the long night.

For many the year has been filled with many long nights waiting for the end, listening for a word in the voice of a tribal member or distant stranger to just say “yes, I am here for you and with you, we belong to the same tribe of life.”

The earth expanding right hand and left hand,
The picture alive, every part in its best light,
The music falling in where it is wanted, and stopping where it is not wanted,
The cheerful voice of the public road, the gay fresh sentiment of the road.

Walt Whitman

The long night gives way to the longer day.

When we meet the light something breaks through, the cracks, we listen to the ballad in the long night stepping aside to  the longer day.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” Charles Dickens

The Fire of Pentecost

“And suddenly there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, fire, appeared among them. All of them began to speak in other languages."What does this mean?"Listen
Your old ones shall dream dreams, and shall see visions”

In the second month, week 6, day 40, of Footsteps of Ireland in the hills of Tara we saw stone of destiny, the place of dreams.

Tara’s story is Ireland’s story. Tara’s symbols are Ireland’s symbols - the harp, the shamrock, the ancient gold. Prominent in the oldest myths and legends, the hill has been at the centre of things Irish since the earliest times. In some mysterious way, Tara touches the very soul of Ireland. Dream , dreams There is a hill in this fair land, t'was never owned and never can,
And from its prow the eye can see, the very ends of Inishfree,
Here once stood the Royal Seat, and here once trod the Fianna feet,
Silent now but not forlorn, for this is still the Ard Riogh's home,
Grainne, Cormac, Fionn, t'was here they loved and lost and won,
Their secrets lie 'neath Tara's soil, known only to the Lia Fail.

Dream , dreams, Listen to the people, Seamus Fay spoke on the hills of Tara.

Listen to the word of the land

I HAVE heard the pigeons of the Seven Woods ,Make their faint thunder, and the garden bees

Hum in the lime-tree flowers; and put away ,The unavailing outcries and the old bitterness

That empty the heart. I have forgot awhile ,Tara uprooted, and new commonness

Upon the throne and crying about the streets ,And hanging its paper flowers from post to post,

Because it is alone of all things happy. I am contented, for I know that Quiet

Wanders laughing and eating her wild heart ,Among pigeons and bees, while that Great Archer,

Who but awaits His hour to shoot, still hangs ,A cloudy quiver over Pairc-na-lee.

Dream, dreams, Live the vision

There is a time we must pause reflect and look at the road we are travelling.

Summer days give us that opportunity. Once created, summer days enabled the farming community to tend their livestock and cultivate their fields to which there was a greater demographic .

Now summer days have become a certified North American ritual and rite of passage for people to play in be great outdoors and dance in streets.

Now is the time of September days to return to the ritual of the fall School Days, business times and church life.

Church life is where ritual is born and nurtured in the hearts of community. At Metropolitan our September Days include time to savour a new text, discover the bouquet of fresh song, look at the familiar and first time church goer seeking a spiritual home.

           There is something to be said about the ritual of September days. As we ignite the insights of the summer and they become the fodder for imagination in our meeting times formal and informal.

The ritual of September Days is the first time towards the dream time and moments for the vision keepers to bring us boldly forward.

Welcome back, “where every valley shall be exalted and every hill brought low. “

Look down to look up

As we approach the festival of the Ascension, there is a beckoning to look.

We need to look down to look up. When we look down we follow our gaze, the vista that takes us to the end of our horizons and we look up. The writers of Acts were looking down, in their horizon was the Christ saying farewell.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."“ When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, "People of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven?

Why do we stand looking up? We cannot help ourselves. It is the month of May, in our Carlingford Home we have a spectacular view of the Carlingford Mountain in real time. There is something awe inspiring to look up and recall the words of Psalm 121. I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come. My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

When I looked down, I ran into the local poetry of Francis Ledwidge

Sweet by the river's noisy brink
The water-lily bursts her crown,
The kingfisher comes down to drink
Like rainbow jewels falling down.

And when the blue and grey entwine
The daisy shuts her golden eye,
And peace wraps all those hills of mine
Safe in my dearest memory.

When I look down, I look up to find the horizon calling my name.

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