Round the Table

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

Last updated: 
December 7, 2016

One of my all-time favourite compositions is Edward Elgar’s Op. 36 (popularly known as Enigma Variations). This piece is a love story where each movement is a tribute to one of Elgar’s friends. It is complex, playful, and heartfelt; it rouses my heart, my memory, and my imagination all at the same time. Starting when I was 14, my high-school concert band played an arrangement of the adagio movement, “Nimrod,” all the time as a warm-up piece. Eventually, the constant repetition started to dampen my enthusiasm and love for the music.

Last updated: 
December 5, 2016

Moderator Jordan Cantwell had a busy November. It started with her keynote address at an LBGT conference in Jakarta, Indonesia. She then “chilled” at a youth forum in British Columbia, before heading back to Toronto to take part in difficult discussions during a two-day meeting of the Executive of the General Council. She discussed the importance of these three events with Paul Russell.

Last updated: 
November 28, 2016

General Secretary Nora Sanders on the racist graffiti attacks in Ottawa. Even when acts of fear and hatred are in the news, we must keep our Christian values.

Last updated: 
November 29, 2016

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night…

As we enter into Advent, we bring to mind the birth of Christ and the mystery of the Incarnation. It’s a time when we become a little more awe-filled with the chaotic, gracious business that is Emmanuel – God-with-us.

Last updated: 
November 18, 2016

I have had a long love affair with Leonard Cohen, or rather, with his words. I furiously read his poems in university; I saw him in concert in 1970, when he came to play in a small indoor hockey rink in Kingston, Ontario; I learned to play “Suzanne” on my guitar, and channelled Cohen’s angst-filled love. I was envious of his time in the Greek Islands, and was determined to do the same, even to the point of taking a year’s worth of evening classes in conversational Greek – but alas, my visit only lasted a couple of months.

Last updated: 
November 14, 2016

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.

Last updated: 
November 9, 2016

I have run in the intense heat of Ontario summers and the deep cold of Arctic winters, but if I am ever asked about the perfect day for running, what will come to mind is this past weekend in Toronto. Cool but not cold, with the sky deep blue and yellow and orange leaves on the ground and still clinging to tree branches.  

On these glorious late fall days, the words from Isaiah 65 in this week’s lectionary passage feel so right.

…. Be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.

Last updated: 
November 8, 2016

My visit to Jakarta, Indonesia, to take part in the Amplify 16 Conference, has been an eye-opening experience.

Last updated: 
November 1, 2016

The stories of Jesus often make me uncomfortable.

We - Grandma and two of the grandsons - were rushing towards Safeco Field to see the Toronto Blue Jays play the Seattle Mariners. The delay at the border had been long, traffic had been heavy, the shuttle was overbooked and the hotel was a distance from the ballpark.

We were scurrying. All hope of seeing batting practice had been abandoned; the goal now was simply not to miss the first pitch.

Last updated: 
October 25, 2016

A glimpse into the lives of LGTBQ people around the world who face real struggles most of us can only imagine, by freelance journalist Kaitlin Bardswich.