What will it take to bring peace to the Middle East? Mission & Service partner the Middle East Council of Churches believes it includes creating opportunities for youth to relate to one another across differences and to reject judgment and stereotypes.
The realities of the region mean that Christians and Muslims live in a state of heightened tension and potential conflict. In Lebanon these tensions have been exacerbated by the influx of a large number of displaced persons, many from Syria, who have stretched to the breaking point communities’ capacity to cope.
In the Six Nations First Nations community in southern Ontario sits a simple white building. For over five years Nations Uniting in Ohsweken, Ontario, has offered a place of community and provided educational workshops to the surrounding communities on and off the reserve at various locations up and down the Grand River.
Life is a constant struggle for Palestinian Muslims and Christians living in the West Bank. Separated from family living in Israel, Gaza, or further abroad, many also face land confiscation or are unable to reach their land to work it because of Israeli restrictions on travel. Those who want to build new agriculture-related structures rarely receive permits from the Israeli authority; if they build anyway, they are subject to demolitions.
In May 2016 United Theological College in Montreal, Quebec, presented Dr. Reinerio Arce with an honorary doctorate. Dr. Arce took the opportunity to thank The United Church of Canada for its decades of solidarity with Cuba. “We will not forget your friendship,” he said. “Even as it becomes easier to relate directly with the U.S. churches, we need you to be with us.”
He recalled shipments of food in the late 1990s through 2001 organized by the United Church through its membership in the Canadian Foodgrains Bank during a time of drought in eastern Cuba.
Around the world tens of millions of people are forced to flee their homes due to natural disaster, violence, conflict, and persecution. Some are pushed across international borders and become refugees. Others remain in their own country but cannot return to their homes.
God is calling us to find new ways of being church together. It is not simply a matter of continuing with traditions we have become comfortable with and allowing others to join us. Rather, our intercultural vision calls us to be aware of who is at the centre and who is at the margins and to empower those at the margins to lead us into change.
“In theological education we are trying to make preparing for ministry in the name of Jesus as difficult as it ought to be. I have thought a great deal about why ministry is so hard—secularity, post-Christendom, multiculturalism, shrinking church, opportunities to golf.
Laura H. Hambley was born in Port Perry, Ontario, in 1877. She was a member of the Woman’s Missionary Society appointed as a teacher to West China in 1904.
By all accounts a strong woman, Laura’s major contribution was in girls’ education. She overcame widespread resistance in a city in China to build a four-storey girls’ school. She gathered architectural plans from across Canada, then created the plan for her school. Starting with a handful of students, enrollment grew as more and more parents saw value in their daughters receiving an education.
Stuart Jackson, ministry personnel at Chalmers Castle Downs United Church, tells the behind-the-scenes story of a Mandate magazine cover:
The cover of the Mandate 2015–2016 Mission & Service special edition showed a father and son who are part of the Bissell Centre’s family support program in Edmonton, Alberta. The background of the cover photo is an alphabet quilt.