Church Life

Last updated: 
May 23, 2017

Windsor / Detroit churches commemorate their connection to rum-running and the Underground Railroad.

Last updated: 
May 18, 2017

I’ve travelled enough that I know it’s possible to find a feeling of home away from home. I mean real, authentic familiarity, not just a good friend’s place or a comfortable motel. I’ve also travelled enough to know that this is really quite rare. A sense of belonging doesn’t come easy.

My dad is a United Church minister, which means I grew up deeply involved in The United Church of Canada. It was always comfortable. When I was young, it was a place to steal communion bread and play with my siblings, a place to sing and accidentally break stuff. During high school, it was a place...

Last updated: 
May 5, 2017
This is an excerpt from Moderator Jordan Cantwell's Accountability​ Report for the meeting General Council Executive, May 6-7, 2017. Please pray for those meeting for GCE as you consider the Moderator's reflection below. You can read the full GCE Workbook here
I was reflecting recently on the story of Jesus and
Last updated: 
May 4, 2017

A review of Parker Palmer's Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation (Jossey-Bass Inc: San Francisco, 2000, 109 pages).

Sometimes we want to be people and things that we aren’t. These desires can be aspirations, and are sometimes even altruistic goals. But if we force ourselves to do and be things that we aren’t, we won’t be happy, God won’t be pleased.

God has made us each as we are and when we deny who we are, with all our various gifts and faults, we are denying the uniqueness and individuality that God blessed us with at our Creation....

Last updated: 
April 20, 2017

Doves have been an important symbol of peace for Christians since early biblical times. In 1944, when the United Church Crest was adopted, a dove representing “the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:10) whose transforming power has been a distinctive mark of Methodism” was placed at its peak.

Another dove — this one much harder to see — has been flying high in the main reception area on the second floor of the General Council...

Last updated: 
March 28, 2017

A couple of years ago, my wife decided what she would give up for Lent was complaining about being tired and overworked. Amazingly, she discovered that once she stopped telling herself how tired and overworked she was, she felt a lot less tired and overworked! Changing how she talked actually changed her reality. 

We can say things often enough that they start to actually determine reality rather than just describe it. They might be factually true, but they are unhelpful because of what they reinforce....

Last updated: 
January 24, 2017

Last week I published a blog, 5 Reasons the Church May Not Find a Way Ahead. This blog is the counterpoint.

First, a couple of preliminary clarifications.

When using the word “church” I do not mean the abstract theological concept of wherever there are people who try and follow the Way of Jesus there is church. While I believe that is true I have in mind some version of a more mainline oriented church, like The United Church of Canada, who hold some centre like the Basis of Union and...

Last updated: 
December 7, 2016

One of my all-time favourite compositions is Edward Elgar’s Op. 36 (popularly known as Enigma Variations). This piece is a love story where each movement is a tribute to one of Elgar’s friends. It is complex, playful, and heartfelt; it rouses my heart, my memory, and my imagination all at the same time. Starting when I was 14, my high-school concert band played an arrangement of the adagio movement, “Nimrod,” all the time as a warm-up piece. Eventually, the constant repetition started to dampen my enthusiasm and love for the music...

Last updated: 
November 29, 2016

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night…

As we enter into Advent, we bring to mind the birth of Christ and the mystery of the Incarnation. It’s a time when we become a little more awe-filled with the chaotic, gracious business that is Emmanuel – God-with-us.

When I read over the nativity account from Luke’s Gospel, I’m struck by the proclamation of good news of great joy for all the people. A messenger of God brings the good news of Jesus’ birth to a group of socially-outcast “public sinners”:...

Last updated: 
January 29, 2018

The United Church of Canada doesn’t have a singular motto or slogan it is known for, though there are many strong statements already in use across the church. On our website’s home page, under our name, are these words: “Discover the power of prayer, action, and community.”

The ...