Church Life

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June 19, 2018

The old, grey stone steps of my local United Church in Toronto were recently transformed. They are now awash in a cheerful rainbow of hues, almost daring people who bustle by on the busy Toronto street not to stop and smile. I’m sure more than a few pedestrians have wondered, “What’s going on?”

The steps leading up to the traditional wooden double-doors of Roncesvalles United are vibrantly decked out for Pride month. The concept of a church celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and 2-Spirit (LGBTQ2) people is not new to those of us steeped in United Church values, but it is...

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June 8, 2018

We are not alone.

I remember the day that these words took on new meaning for me.

I was on an almost empty subway, in the middle of the day, when an easily identifiable White supremacist got on the train. He was carpenter with a hammer hanging from his utility belt, a body inked with hateful symbols, and a toolbox full of threatening things. As soon as he got on the train, I started to plan my exit. I’ll get off at the next stop…but so will he (it was the terminal). I’ll stay on the train, but so might he. I’ll press the emergency strip, but then we...

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May 11, 2018

Our God is a God of relationship, who seeks us out and longs for us to live in relationship with others and all of creation. (You may be saying to yourself right about now, well duh!) I believe that on Christian Family Sunday we are called to celebrate these relationships. Relationships that enrich and challenge us to live our faith.

On this particular Sunday we may be challenged for not focusing primarily on Mothers. Often we find ourselves engaging in either/ or conversations but what I’d like to suggest is that...

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April 5, 2018

The United Church of Canada is kicking off the 43rd General Council with the Festival of Faith. This celebration of our work and witness through the arts takes place July 21-22, 2018 in Oshawa, Ont.

The festival will be infused with an old-time country fair vibe, and feature an inspiring and joyful line-up of workshops, musicians, authors, dancers, storytellers, and craftspeople. There will also be opportunities to connect and offer your own voice and artistry in the coffee...

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March 23, 2018

Ever so often in the church I hear statements and experience attitudes that cause me concern. One such incident occurred recently in response to the outcome of Remit 6 (One Order of Ministry.) My concern is not about the apparent merits or demerits of Remit 6, or about who voted either for or against it. They say fools rush in where angels fear to tread (and I hope that I am not the former), yet there is something about the conversation swirling around Remit 6 that doesn’t sit well with me. Here’s why.

I believe mission...

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March 7, 2018

During this upcoming year, as major changes to our church structure are under consideration, many of us will be planning worship services for people who are dealing with and working through the complex feelings involved with change: the grief, loss, and sadness in saying goodbye to the courts of the church as we have known them; the hope, anxiety, and anticipation for the emergent structure; and the ever-present complexity of feelings that come with being a part of any community.

As worship leaders, we attempt to create liturgies that meet people where they are, which is hard to...

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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 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 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...