A United Church in Winnipeg has found a unique way to reach out to and engage the surrounding community: through art. For 11 weeks, from late February to mid-May, Crescent Fort Rouge United Church (CFRUC) held art-related activities at the church, complemented by a three-day art show in April.
The important work of Canadian missionaries in China in the years from 1892 to 1950 comes alive through hundreds of historical photos in the Canadians in China: Old Photos from Sichuan exhibit at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, from Oct. 14 to 18.
If you want to see how The United Church of Canada is building bridges to specific groups in Canada, look no further than College Street United in Toronto. For the past 18 months, this downtown church has been home to Pontes de Graça, a lively ministry aimed at Portuguese speaking people in the city.
For a United Church chaplain on his first naval posting, it was a “real baptism by fire.”
So says Padre (Major) Mike Gibbons, 37, recounting the evening of February 27, 2014, aboard HMCS Protecteur. The supply ship was 600 kilometres out of Pearl Harbor when a large fire suddenly engulfed its engine room, crippling its power supply, as four-metre waves tossed the darkened, disabled ship around.
I spent the first part of this week as an ecumenical guest at the annual gathering of the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops. There are some things about their meetings that are very different from ours in the United Church, (no lineups at the women’s washroom is one of them), but as with any Christian group, the things we hold in common are greater than the differences.
“When you do something, someone will come behind you.” Alberta Billy, who asked the United Church for an apology 30 years ago, said that. She and many others trusted that it would be so, and we have been blessed through their courage and trust.
Attracting young families is a challenge many churches face, but Castlegar United Church in Castlegar, British Columbia, thinks it may have a solution.
Every fourth Sunday, families from the surrounding community are invited to take part in a Worship for the Child Within event. Rev. Greg Powell, minister for Castlegar United, says that Castlegar has tried to design a style of worship that is “engaging for young and old alike.”
It’s the middle of September, and I’m still getting used to the idea of it being September!
Somehow the shift from the lazy, hazy days of summer to the pumped-up energy of the first week of school, the resumption of committee gatherings at the General Council Office, and the flurry of welcome back Sundays in congregations, is just a little abrupt.
In these transitional times of year many of us feel torn between the time past and the time coming.
To me, one of the great losses of the last 30 years in our church is that we do not often ask people about their experience of God. Perhaps we are afraid of appearing wacko or irrational but it has often shut us up. We can go for years and not know whether the person down the row from us may have had their pickup truck surrounded by a shaft of light and they felt encompassed by an overwhelming sense of love and rightness or whether they have struggled an entire lifetime wondering why God seemed absent in an abusive household.