Round the Table

Sharing stories of life, faith, and ministry in the United Church and beyond.

Last updated: 
May 31, 2017

The United Church of Canada doesn’t have a singular motto or slogan it is known for, though there are many strong statements already in use across the church. On our website’s home page, under our name, are these words: “Discover the power of prayer, action, and community.”

The ...

Last updated: 
August 23, 2016

Rev. Paul Douglas Walfall, the President of Alberta and Northwest Conference, writes on Blacks Lives Matter and the persistence of racial discrimination in Canada.

Friends, I speak on a point of personal privilege.

The unfolding events in the USA brings the question of race relations again to the fore. The reality that a Black male is more likely to be stopped, questioned and intimidated than any other racial groups in North America should not be understated nor taken for granted. While it is true that the issues of race relations in Canada are usually...

Last updated: 
August 25, 2016

Keith Howard, former executive director of the Emerging Spirit project, writes about the future of The United Church of Canada.

At the risk of sounding naïve, the shape of The United Church of Canada, in my corner of the continent, seems to be emerging from the fog generated by massive cultural shifts.

Congregations - Large, Medium, Small

In larger centres, we may have one large congregation - Vancouver, North Vancouver, etc. This congregation is heavily endowed or has another significant revenue stream. The property, in some form, will be a significant...

Last updated: 
August 31, 2016

Embracing the Spirit has been launched! It was launched at the Skylight Festival in Paris, Ontario.

Last updated: 
August 18, 2016

When the Canadian team enters the stadium at the 2016 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in Rio on August 5, Islington United Church member Jean MacLennan will be watching closely. For at the very front of that team will be her 27-year-old granddaughter, Rosannagh (Rosie) MacLennan, a seasoned trampoline gymnast.

“As a grandmother, I’m as proud as I can be of her,” says Jean. “I think she is wonderful, not only as an Olympian, but she is a nice, nice person. When she...

Last updated: 
July 29, 2016

When I was growing up, our family did not have a summer cottage, but we spent part of many summers at the cottage of our good friends, the Fosters. That cottage was on a beautiful lake in Muskoka, and although I haven’t been there for years, I have many clear images in my mind of the times there, swimming in the cold clear water, hiking over the rocks to pick blueberries, and reading by flashlight in the little bunkhouse down by the shore.

For years, if I was asked to name my favourite church, I would name the island on Muldrew Lake where cottagers gathered for outdoor worship on...

Last updated: 
July 25, 2016

Violence and racial injustice are making headlines these days, brought to attention by the Black Lives Matter movement and the tragic killings of black men and police officers in the United States. But this kind of violence and hatred isn't limited to the U.S. Canada has also suffered racial attacks and discrimination, as Canadian people of colour know all too well.

In 1976, (the soon-to-be Rev.) Anthony Bailey and his brother were attacked in Montreal by men shouting racial epithets and his brother was stabbed to death. This tragedy became part of the journey toward what Bailey...

Last updated: 
September 18, 2016

Walking home from work at this week at noon hour, I have seen groups of people congregating behind the community pool between the office and our house. I guessed what they were up to even before I noticed them all staring down at their cellphones. The resident Pokémon Go expert in our house had already discovered the Pokémon gym in that location about a week ago.

I understand that Pokémon are also being...

Last updated: 
July 15, 2016

Sun and shadows dancing across the pages of my book as the breeze moves through the branches above.
The earth moist and flowers perking up after yesterday’s much needed rain. 
The oppressive humidity cleared.
Two dogs stretched out sleeping under the patio table.

Last updated: 
July 6, 2016

Summer is an excellent time to schedule repairs to a heating system. Even though I can’t quibble with that logic, I am hoping that the man whose job it is to pound on a large metal heating vent with a hammer, right outside my office window, will soon be done his work.

Some things that are necessary are unpleasant, yet they still must be endured.

It’s easier to put up with unpleasant things when we understand the point of them. I know I will be grateful for this work when winter comes and the office stays warm.

Sometimes it is harder to understand the point of things...