Round the Table

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

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October 13, 2017

The Millstream Pastoral Charge in New Brunswick may be small in size — less than 40 active families in a four-point charge — but its generosity towards others is major league. Its members already support various outreach services in the neighbouring town of Sussex, including a clothing depot, sponsoring a foster child in Africa, donations to the Red Cross for disaster relief, and a transition house for abused women. But with Canada’s 150th birthday falling this year, the pastoral...

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October 12, 2017

For the first thousand years of Christianity, and particularly since the Council of Ephesus in 431, Mary has held a special place in Christian faith as Theotokos, or “Bearer of God.” But for just as long, there has been debate about how “special” that place ought to be.

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October 10, 2017

Did you know that October is Clergy Appreciation Month? It was introduced in the United States in the 1990s but throughout church history people have taken time to thank their leaders.

“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.” (1 Timothy 5:17 NIV)


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October 5, 2017
A colleague mentioned that the salmon were spawning in the Humber River yesterday, so I chose that route for my run this morning. I stopped near a small waterfall and watched these sleek, gleaming, determined fish make their way against the current, trying again and again to overcome what looked like an insurmountable barrier. Science has explanations for these things, but not for the sense of wonder I felt as I observed it.
Later today I will get on a plane to go to Edmonton for "An Awkward Conversation." That is the name of the conference, a name that...
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October 19, 2017

October 31, 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, an important date in the history of the United Church and for Reformed Churches around the world. To commemorate the occasion, we are publishing a series of blog posts by Trisha Elliott on "What Makes Us Protestant." Take a look at all the blog posts in this series.

The Protestant Reformation is arguably the most...

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September 27, 2017

The United Church of Canada is participating in a dialogue process on reconciliation with the Uniting Church in Australia focussing on both countries' and churches' shared yet very different experiences of colonization and reconciliation. Rev. Dr. Chris Budden, a member of the delegation from the Uniting Church in Australia and the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, which visited Canada July 14-31, reflects here on their experience. A group from The United Church of Canada will visit...

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September 25, 2017

At the end of September 2017 the commissioners of the 42nd General Council will gather electronically for the reconvening of General Council. This purpose of reconvening the General Council will be to further the work began by the Comprehensive Review Task Force to make structural changes to The United Church of Canada. Yet these changes will not become final and definite until they are confirmed by the 43rd General Council, which will be held in July...

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September 22, 2017

I am writing from my new cubicle in the new open space General Council Office.

The move is complete, or as complete as it can be when there are still some renovations ongoing, and some boxes that can’t be unpacked until all the bookshelves and filing cabinets are in place. Our workspaces are all set up, and most of us had things unpacked and arranged and were already getting going with regular work within a couple of hours Monday morning. There is a lot to get used to, but overall, I am finding that there is a lot of energy and enthusiasm in the office. (See more ...

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January 26, 2018

1988. Even mentioning this date is enough to silence a room. For others in the United Church it is the beginning of new conversations around acknowledgement and lament, apology and reconciliation with lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and 2-Spirit (LGBTQ2) people.

Together in 2015 the church voted to support a national project of story-sharing and dialogue (The Living Apology) indicating that now is a good time to reflect and talk about what happened in the years leading up to (and following) our landmark 1988 vote that affirmed sexual orientation is not a barrier to full participation...

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September 12, 2017

On my desk I have an article posted behind my computer by William H. Willimon. In the February 17, 2016 edition of The Christian Century, Willimon wrote an article titled: “Why leaders are a pain.” When I was hired in my current job as program coordinator for ministry recruitment, I was enthusiastic about finding and encouraging the leaders of tomorrow to answer their call to...