Attracting young people is a challenge every congregation faces, but the Rev. Dr. Simon Muwowo thinks he has the answer: engaging youth using an outside-in approach
“Our engagement with the youth is not aimed at locating Christ in their hearts, but in their midst,” he explains. “Our ministry with the youth is not within the four corners of the church building, but outside.”
As part of her commitment to reconciliation and reaching out to Indigenous communities, Moderator Jordan Cantwell recently travelled to Manitoba, then British Columbia. She talks about what she learned in this interview with Paul Russell.
What was the most touching experience you had in 2016?
Seeing Lorna Standingready (former Elder, All Native Circle Conference) and Alberta Billy (who in 1985 asked the General Council for the Apology) at the 30th anniversary celebration of the Apology in Sudbury, Ontario. It was beautiful and poignant to see them sitting with their heads together, a great moment of mutual consolation and friendship.
A couple of years ago, my wife decided what she would give up for Lent was complaining about being tired and overworked. Amazingly, she discovered that once she stopped telling herself how tired and overworked she was, she felt a lot less tired and overworked! Changing how she talked actually changed her reality.
We can say things often enough that they start to actually determine reality rather than just describe it. They might be factually true, but they are unhelpful because of what they reinforce.
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.