Church Life

Last updated: 
March 18, 2019

In the blog post Rev. David Sherwin writes that being a Christian isn’t something we are, it is something we aspire to be. When we practice our faith we set ourselves free. 

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March 9, 2019

A reflection on the temptation of Jesus (Luke 4:1-13).

I seldom imagine Jesus as vulnerable to temptation. For me, Jesus is confident, outspoken, insightful, inspiring – even unshakable in his conviction that the world can and must be better, and that love is the way. But Jesus vulnerable to temptation? Doubting his calling, or his strategy? Second-guessing himself? That adds a whole different level of complexity to his mission for me.
 
We only get a couple of glimpses of that in the gospels – one is in this week’s reading, at the very beginning of his...

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March 8, 2019

Lent is a time for contemplation, for going a bit deeper, for finding the places where pain and joy and fear and hope intersect.

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March 7, 2019

The editor of Mandate magazine finds that in these times of change, there are no easy answers when it comes to talking about God with youth.

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February 22, 2019
Most of Canada celebrated a long weekend recently, and in several provinces, the February holiday is called Family Day. The holiday’s name is a good reminder for all of us about the importance of appreciating our families and spending time together with those we love. I appreciated that my son (and his girlfriend) were willing to enjoy family time with me in Port Stanley over the weekend, including dinner one night with my two brothers and a nephew.

Family life can get obscured in the details of daily living, and it is important to take time to remember how important our...
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January 31, 2019

Everyday Skeptics: Devotions for Spiritual Growth is the new United Church Lenten devotional for 2019. It features reflections from United Church partners who do local and global ministry, often in challenging situations of "prophetic risk." We spoke with the editor of the book, Alydia Smith, to find out more about it.

Q. Everyday Skeptics is an interesting title for a book of Lenten devotions. Can you tell us more about the book and where the title comes from?

Alydia: It was a struggle picking a title for this book. There are...

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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 seabornsong.com, 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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March 14, 2019

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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