Church Life

Last updated: 
September 5, 2019

I was eighteen, heading off to university, full of both excitement and anxiety for the new adventures of learning and life ahead. I was also already thinking about entering ordained ministry in The United Church of Canada. My spirit was bursting with passion for all things related to faith and theology, and so, at university, I sought out the Christian groups. It was a delight to meet other young people who were just as passionate about their faith, and quickly I made friends.

...

Last updated: 
September 5, 2019

We started this wonderful journey together separately, working in our home Conferences to get a handle on the work our Conference does. When that week was over however, we traveled to Gander, Newfoundland to covenant, get to know each other, and to learn from the wisdom of the place.

Last updated: 
September 5, 2019

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...

Last updated: 
September 5, 2019

With the remits likely moving us toward a three-council model in The United Church of Canada, Living Waters Presbytery (Toronto Conference) wanted to ensure that local communities of faith will receive the support of being connected to other faith communities that is currently provided through presbytery.

One aspect of the upcoming changes is the development of clusters and networks. According to the Executive of the General Council, clusters will “provide community and support for communities of...

Last updated: 
September 5, 2019
I was probably going to make a fool of myself.
 
My colleague asks all of us, kids and adults, to sit in a circle. She pulls out a single roll of toilet paper. She tells us to pick off as many sheets of toilet paper as we wish. But she doesn't say why. It's for our first activity together. There is tension in the air. She hands me the roll first. I tear off several sheets. 
 
The roll goes around the circle. More sheets are torn off. The kids who have been with us before pepper my colleague with ideas about what the purpose of the activity...
Last updated: 
September 5, 2019

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...

Last updated: 
September 5, 2019

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...

Last updated: 
September 5, 2019

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...

Last updated: 
September 5, 2019

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 determines ministry. In other words, the understanding of ...

Last updated: 
September 5, 2019

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...