Round the Table

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

Last updated: 
April 20, 2017

Doves have been an important symbol of peace for Christians since early biblical times. In 1944, when the United Church Crest was adopted, a dove representing “the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:10) whose transforming power has been a distinctive mark of Methodism” was placed at its peak.

Another dove — this one much harder to see — has been flying high in the main reception area on the second floor of the General Council...

Last updated: 
April 18, 2017

If you are part of a group working to improve the social good of your community — or if you have skills or experience that could help such a group grow and expand — the Social Mentor Network wants to hear from you.

The network is a joint project between the United Church’s EDGE and Embracing the Spirit networks and The Presbyterian Church in Canada. Since launching in June 2016, it now...

Last updated: 
April 12, 2017

Moderator Jordan Cantwell urges everyone to watch and share this powerful three-minute video, “Letter to a Terrorist,” made by a group of young Muslims in Winnipeg. 

The Rev. Dr. Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd of Westworth United Church in Winnipeg sent the video to the Moderator, noting that the group used the Assiniboine...

Last updated: 
April 6, 2017

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 minister for the Burin Pastoral Charge in Newfoundland, Muwowo helped start Coffee House Two 52. The group, open to anyone between the ages of...

Last updated: 
April 5, 2017

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.

In February you attended the Keewatin presbytery meeting in Winnipeg. Tell me about that.

Keewatin only meets once per year, when the winter roads are open. For the rest of the year, many of the communities can only be reached by airplane. The cost of flights in the north is prohibitive, making presbytery gatherings at any other...

Last updated: 
March 28, 2017

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.

What was your...

Last updated: 
March 28, 2017

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....

Last updated: 
March 16, 2017

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.

“One of the big advantages of the program is...

Last updated: 
March 14, 2017

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.

The stained-glass window depicts the 1800s painting “The Light of the World.” Jesus holds an illuminated lantern; his other hand is poised to knock...

Last updated: 
March 8, 2017

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.

On a trip to Haiti in February, I visited...