Dec. 15, 2016
Dear VON Supporters,
We’re pleased to announce that negotiates with the City of Toronto for our 2016 Voices of the Nation’s event are progressing well.
In particular the City has given its explicit consent to allow the singing of Christian worship songs that praise God and Jesus. Furthermore, performers will be allowed to share their personal anecdotes that relate to their songs (as long as it’s not proselytizing or sermonizing) and encourage audience participation. eminent domain . This is a huge change from the position originally taken by the Yonge Dundas Square(YDS) management. Your help and support has been invaluable in our efforts to preserve this core tenant of the event.
However other issues have arisen with the City wanting to put an end to use of a prayer tent feeling this requires proselytizing even if people ask to be prayed for of their own accord. Legally, this is a non-constitutional requirement by the city but can be seen as being in alignment with their own YDS bylaws (which are also constitutionally questionable). Perhaps ironically, this is one part of the event that YDS (and previously Mel Lastman Square) staff hadn’t complained about during the previous ten years the event has been running. No decision on this has been made by VoN organizers on how to respond to this new issue as yet.
The City has also required that all literature and material that is to be made publicly available at the event first be vetted by YDS staff. Whether this becomes an item of contention remains to be seen, but both sides are in agreement that all material should be non-proselytizing in nature but that VoN organizers, sponsors and performers of the event have a right to share their informational material, CD’s or other promotional material to the public.
Other proposed terms are merely welcomed clarifications or restatements of existing agreements between VoN and the YDS. At this point negotiations and clarifications are still ongoing and nothing has been finalized but we are pleased with the City’s expressed desire to continue having Voices of the Nation events at the Yonge Dundas Square and with the progress made so far.
Pastor Peter Ruparelia