Embracing the Spirit

Posts and ideas from the Embracing the Spirit initiative.

Last updated: 
March 16, 2017

Joe Ramsay and Allan Reeve are big fans of talking. Not just casual dialogue, but focused dialogue that explores specific issues. For the last year, these two United Church ministers have been leading “Sacred Conversations” in Ottawa and in the Bay of Quinte Conference. These “conversations that matter” involve both lay and clergy members, allowing participants to get to know each other better and explore complex issues in a structured, respectful environment.

“One of the big advantages of the program is...

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February 24, 2017

In his final year at seminary at The United Theological College in Montreal, Isaac Mundy worked on a special project that looked at the pastoral dimensions of social media and how it can be used for pastoral care.

When he started working as Minister of Youth, Young Adults and Families at Siloam United Church in London, Ontario, Mundy kept exploring social media’s outreach, as he launched a Siloam Twitter account, a...

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February 24, 2017

Connecting to young adults is a problem for churches across the land. Brenda Timpson, minister at College Hill United Church in Belleville, Ontario, may have found the answer: invite them to a cooking class.

“Everybody has to eat,” says Timpson. “These classes have proven to be very successful in reaching an age group that is traditionally very difficult for churches to reach out to.”

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October 17, 2018

Ministry at Emmanuel United Church in Ottawa doesn’t just stay inside the church walls — it regularly extends to Africa, Central America, and beyond.

“Pilgrimages are really embraced at Emmanuel,” says Jeannie Page, a licensed lay worship leader and Chair of the church’s Global Partners Committee. “The congregation has a long history of being the...

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January 13, 2017

Congregations undoubtedly do amazing work. We have health services, food banks, children’s programming, leadership development, summer camps, long term care facilities, and programming to support every subsector of society with almost any challenge (not to mention supporting our communities with spiritual grounding, emotional support, and connection).

If we were for-profits with these fantastic results, we would be shouting...

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December 21, 2016

About five years ago, the people of Knox United Church in Kenora, Ontario, had a vision to hire second minister, with two main duties: to work with youth and young families in the church, and to build connections with the wider community. For the past 17 months, the Rev. Meg Illman-White has been doing just that, with encouraging results.

“There are interconnecting roles between youth and outreach,” Illman-White said. “I try to make the connections stronger,...

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December 19, 2016

If you are part of a group working to improve the social good of your community — or if you have skills or experience that could help such a group grow and expand — the Social Mentor Network wants to hear from you.

The network is a joint project between the...

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December 12, 2016

Art has always played an important part in churches throughout the ages, ranging from simple sculptures to Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

The Rev. Jim Keenan of Bradford United Church in Bradford, Ontario, recognizes the important intersections between art and religion. “A healthy arts community is integral to the spiritual and overall health of the community and the overall well-being of its residents,” he says.

Since there is a shortage of performance and...

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December 8, 2016

For one evening every month, Grace United Church in Hanover, Ontario, is filled with the sounds of group drumming. Leading the session is the Rev. Micol Cottrell, who has led similar groups at two other United Churches in the last five years.

For Cottrell, Drum Circle Worship is much more than just making music.

“Drumming really engages people, as it helps them open up and connect with each other,” he said. “It’s quite an amazing,...

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November 14, 2016

Everyone loves a carnival, especially if it is free.

That is exactly what North Bramalea United Church in Brampton, Ontario, has offered to the community every second Saturday in July for the last 16 years. On that day, the Lucas Holtom Carnival Day fills a city park behind the church, with area residents — approximately 5,000 this year — coming out to enjoy the event.

“People are amazed at the size of the carnival, and the fact...