Round the Table

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

Last updated: 
March 3, 2017

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. (You can watch it online; trigger warning: anxiety...

Last updated: 
March 1, 2017

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.

CCS student Jordan Basso is in ministry at a three-point United Church pastoral charge near the border, including the town of Emerson.  “It has certainly...

Last updated: 
February 24, 2017

I am writing from midway through my sabbatical. It’s my first ever experience of a sabbatical, and a wonderful experience. It’s wonderful, but also slightly disorienting.

Right now I am sitting in the front room upstairs at our cottage, (my past and future home). There is a strong wind off the lake and a bit of fresh snow outside but inside all is peaceful. The dogs are stretched out on the floor next to me, sound asleep.

Flexibility is one of the great things about sabbatical time: being able to work from different locations; being able to do the drive on days with good...

Last updated: 
February 24, 2017

In his final year at seminary at The United Theological College in Montreal, Isaac Mundy worked on a special project that looked at the pastoral dimensions of social media and how it can be used for pastoral care.

When he started working as Minister of Youth, Young Adults and Families at Siloam United Church in London, Ontario, Mundy kept exploring social media’s outreach, as he launched a Siloam Twitter account, a...

Last updated: 
February 24, 2017

Connecting to young adults is a problem for churches across the land. Brenda Timpson, minister at College Hill United Church in Belleville, Ontario, may have found the answer: invite them to a cooking class.

“Everybody has to eat,” says Timpson. “These classes have proven to be very successful in reaching an age group that is traditionally very difficult for churches to reach out to.”

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Last updated: 
February 16, 2017

Ministry at Emmanuel United Church in Ottawa doesn’t just stay inside the church walls — it regularly extends to Africa, Central America, and beyond.

“Pilgrimages are really embraced at Emmanuel,” says Jeannie Page, a licensed lay worship leader and Chair of the church’s Global Partners Committee. “The congregation has a long history of being the...

Last updated: 
February 13, 2017

Attendance at a Friday afternoon Muslim prayer service at the General Council Office (GCO) almost doubled last week, thanks to the presence of about two dozen GCO staff members and guests. They were there to show solidarity, following the mass shooting at the Centre Culture Islamique de Québec in late January.

The Muslim prayer group meets in the GCO chapel each week. Prayer group leader Mohamed Osman thanked the visitors for coming, noting that he is grateful that Canadians from coast to coast have been reaching out to their Muslim neighbours after the deadly shootings in the...

Last updated: 
February 10, 2017

Moderator Jordan Cantwell is halfway through her three-year term in office. She has a very ambitious plan for what she hopes to accomplish in her remaining 18 months in office, as she explains in this interview with Paul Russell.

Paul: 2016 was a busy period in the church’s life. How did you feel at the end of it?

Jordan: I was utterly exhausted at the end of last year. When the General Council Executive meeting at the end of November was done, I was done.

Paul: How did you re-energize?

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Last updated: 
February 3, 2017

Somewhere in The United Church of Canada’s General Council Office (GCO) in Toronto lies a piece of the Berlin Wall.

That important piece of mortar is mentioned in two undated documents, both stating it was once shown in a display case near the reception desk. The Wall remnant was presented as a covenanting gift from the German-based Evangelical Church of the Union in 1992. While the chalice, paten, and pyx (goblet, plate, and container for consecrated bread) that were also presented as covenanting gifts are still on display, the Berlin Wall fragment is nowhere to be seen.

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