Church Life

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January 9, 2019

I join other people in the ecumenical world to celebrate and recognize an honour that has been bestowed on the Rev. Jose Belo Chipenda. The President of the Republic of Angola, João Lourenço, recognised the contributions to the gaining and preservation of National Independence, as well as peace and democracy. The Rev. José Belo Chipenda was honored with the Medal of Bravery, Civic, and Social Merit, first class. He received the award in November, 2018 at the Presidential Palace in Luanda, Angola.

I met the Rev. José Belo Chipenda in the 1990s. I was then a young ordained minister...

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December 13, 2018

My earliest church memories are tethered to St. James-Bond United Church in Toronto. (Of course, we called it “Bond…St. James Bond, United Church,” with a Sean Connery burr.) I won’t elaborate with tales of basketball courts and bowling alleys, wonderful ministers, witty musicians, finger sandwiches, ukuleles, and poster paint because you likely have similar memories of a church with a slightly less cool name. These days, when I travel along Avenue Road, I see condos where there was once a church. And I feel a little sentimental tug—a nostalgia that I can often confuse with sadness....

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December 14, 2018

We have received many comments and questions about whether or not to incorporate the “’Twas in the Moon of Wintertime” into Christmas carol services. Thanks to Dana Lynn Seaborn, of, who offered us a helpful response to start the conversation. Dana Lynn writes:

The English lyrics were written by an Anglo-Canadian in 1926 to the tune of the French folk song, "A Young Maid." As a Métis woman who has lived in territory named for the Wendat, and studied traditional Wendat culture and history, I find those...

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November 28, 2018

In the summer of 2018, our church decided to try Vacation Bible School camp (VBS).

The last time the United Church had organized a Vacations Bible School in the Gatineau Hills was circa 1955. Unsure of whether we could do this alone, Église Grace United Church asked our Anglican neighbours at St. Mary Magdalene in Chelsea if they would like to work together. They agreed!

We chose a theme: “Weird Animals” and adapted resources for our own context as we planned activities.

We advertised and prayed that children would sign up. On the first day of camp, 13 children...

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September 26, 2018

During their visit to Saskatchewan Conference, the GC43 Pilgrims learned more about the First Nations groups in the area and more.

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September 21, 2018

Are you a clergy person needing a little reminder about why you are in ministry? Are you a person considering ministry? This is the book for you!

This Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers takes a personal look at the joys and challenges of congregational ministry. Lillian Daniel and Martin B. Copenhaver take turns writing chapters about what it has meant for them to serve in ministry. They have different...

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September 20, 2018

The United Church of Canada is celebrating a number of milestone events which have played a significant role in shaping this United Church of ours. These anniversaries will be reflected upon at Marking Moments, a special seminar being held Monday, September 24 at Emmanuel College in Toronto (sign up to join us via the livestream).

Below, Moderator Richard Bott shares a few thoughts on each of the...

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September 14, 2018

The GC43 Pilgrims learn about human rights movements, Métis culture, and community in Winnipeg.

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September 13, 2018

Our first stop in this Conference was to the All Native Circle Conference office where we met with Indigenous leader, Rey Anderson, and Conference staff Cheryl Jourdain. As we gathered around their conference table — the same table the members from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission gathered around in their meetings — we talked and listened to the history and teachings that have come from the office we were visiting.

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September 10, 2018

It’s an anniversary year for the United Church as we celebrate and reflect on numerous milestone events that have played a significant role in shaping the church that we know and love today. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview a variety people about these anniversaries (see below) for a story in the fall 2018 issue of Mandate.

Here are some highlights of the legacy left by various milestone moments, and why the work and decisions that came out of these anniversaries is still highly relevant...