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.”
Congregations undoubtedly do amazing work. We have health services, food banks, children’s programming, leadership development, summer camps, long term care facilities, and programming to support every subsector of society with almost any challenge (not to mention supporting our communities with spiritual grounding, emotional support, and connection).
About five years ago, the people of Knox United Church in Kenora, Ontario, had a vision to hire second minister, with two main duties: to work with youth and young families in the church, and to build connections with the wider community. For the past 17 months, the Rev. Meg Illman-White has been doing just that, with encouraging results.
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.
Art has always played an important part in churches throughout the ages, ranging from simple sculptures to Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
The Rev. Jim Keenan of Bradford United Church in Bradford, Ontario, recognizes the important intersections between art and religion. “A healthy arts community is integral to the spiritual and overall health of the community and the overall well-being of its residents,” he says.
For one evening every month, Grace United Church in Hanover, Ontario, is filled with the sounds of group drumming. Leading the session is the Rev. Micol Cottrell, who has led similar groups at two other United Churches in the last five years.
For Cottrell, Drum Circle Worship is much more than just making music.
Everyone loves a carnival, especially if it is free.
That is exactly what North Bramalea United Church in Brampton, Ontario, has offered to the community every second Saturday in July for the last 16 years. On that day, the Lucas Holtom Carnival Day fills a city park behind the church, with area residents — approximately 5,000 this year — coming out to enjoy the event.