One year ago, Embracing the Spirit was officially launched at the 2016 Skylight Festival. Since then, more than 180 initiatives across Canada have received a total of $581,470 funding, with grant sizes ranging from $500 to $27,000. This funding allows congregations to try new and innovative forms of ministry. These efforts are not just gimmicks or one-time experiments — they are real and tangible new ways of “being church.”
If First Nations people in Kenora, Ontario, ever need to be reminded of how their traditional land has been lost to make room for white settlers, they only need to look up at street signs. Many of these in Kenora are named after settler families, but one is a particularly striking reminder of an ugly past. That street sign reads: Colonization Road.
If you are part of a group working to improve the social good of your community — or if you have skills or experience that could help such a group grow and expand — the Social Mentor Network wants to hear from you.
Attracting young people is a challenge every congregation faces, but the Rev. Dr. Simon Muwowo thinks he has the answer: engaging youth using an outside-in approach
“Our engagement with the youth is not aimed at locating Christ in their hearts, but in their midst,” he explains. “Our ministry with the youth is not within the four corners of the church building, but outside.”
Joe Ramsay and Allan Reeve are big fans of talking. Not just casual dialogue, but focused dialogue that explores specific issues. For the last year, these two United Church ministers have been leading “Sacred Conversations” in Ottawa and in the Bay of Quinte Conference. These “conversations that matter” involve both lay and clergy members, allowing participants to get to know each other better and explore complex issues in a structured, respectful environment.
In his final year at seminary at The United Theological College in Montreal, Isaac Mundy worked on a special project that looked at the pastoral dimensions of social media and how it can be used for pastoral care.
Connecting to young adults is a problem for churches across the land. Brenda Timpson, minister at College Hill United Church in Belleville, Ontario, may have found the answer: invite them to a cooking class.
“Everybody has to eat,” says Timpson. “These classes have proven to be very successful in reaching an age group that is traditionally very difficult for churches to reach out to.”