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.
Winter months are cruel. I can make my way through sharp winds, mounds of dreary slush, and sheets of menacing ice. But the darkness often deflates my spirits, leaving me longing for more light and signs of green shoots emerging from the earth. This is why I keep a photo of a stained-glass window at my local United Church taped inside my bedroom closet. It’s a reminder that there is more “light”— hope, kindness, and love—than I may see.
Members of The United Church of Canada responded generously to the Hurricane Matthew emergency appeal, launched last fall after powerful winds and torrential rain washed away fields, livestock, livelihoods, and homes in Haiti. More than $184,000 was donated and that money was divided among three partners: the Methodist Church in Haiti, the Institut Culturel Karl Lévêque (ICKL), an education and development agency and long-time partner; and ACT International, an ecumenical emergency and development coalition.
Marina Abramović and Ulay have a performance piece called Rest Energy in which a drawn bow pointed directly at Marina’s heart is tautly held by both Marina and Ulay’s opposing body weight. Marina is holding the back and grip while Ulay is holding the drawn bowstring and arrow.
Since the beginning of the year, more than a hundred refugees have crossed into Manitoba seeking asylum. Fearful of how the new American administration will affect their chances at finding safe haven, they have been walking across the US/Canada border, often for hours through waist-deep snow and freezing temperatures.
I am writing from midway through my sabbatical. It’s my first ever experience of a sabbatical, and a wonderful experience. It’s wonderful, but also slightly disorienting.
Right now I am sitting in the front room upstairs at our cottage, (my past and future home). There is a strong wind off the lake and a bit of fresh snow outside but inside all is peaceful. The dogs are stretched out on the floor next to me, sound asleep.
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.”