Faith and Worship

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. 

Last updated: 
March 15, 2019

A reflection on Luke 13:31-35.

You’d think Jesus would be feeling at the top of his game.

Crowds are coming out to hear him every day of the week. The halt and the lame are waiting in line just for a chance to get near him. This chapter of Luke is peppered with parables and healings and teachings about the Kingdom of God. Every detail is breathlessly exciting.

And then some friends come — Pharisees, no less — with bad news. All the excitement is drawing the attention of the authorities. Herod, who already beheaded John the Baptist, has heard about...

Last updated: 
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...

Last updated: 
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.

Last updated: 
March 1, 2019

A reflection on "Transfiguration," (Luke 9:28-43a).

Peter, James and John follow Jesus up a mountain to pray this week, and to escape the crowds that were hounding them. Sadly the disciples just can't keep up; their prayers soon have them snoring. When they come to, they discover Jesus glowing like a candle and conversing with the two biggies of Israel's history — Moses the law-giver and Elijah, the greatest prophet.

It's one of the two moments of startling clarity that serve as bookends to the season of Epiphany that is ending this week. The Epiphany...

Last updated: 
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...
Last updated: 
February 14, 2019

There was a time, within the memory of many of us in The United Church of Canada, when a congregation could count on the culture around it to assist in the spiritual formation of its members. 

For children, weekly Sunday School classes and mid-week groups were supplemented by daily prayers and devotions in school. Even those adults who did not participate in Bible study groups were immersed in a culture that largely operated on the premise that there was consensus about morals and attitudes and that those morals and attitudes were shaped by the Christian story. Magazines, radio and...

Last updated: 
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...

Last updated: 
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...

Last updated: 
October 25, 2018

How are you getting ready for Christ(mas) this year?

If you are celebrating the Advent season as a family—or as an individual or an all-ages group of any kind—Advent Unwrapped offers an alternative to the advertisements, shopping lists, and hype that we are bombarded with at this time of year. Visit the At Home page for accessible, faith-based resources, scroll to the bottom to Connect with Us and sign up for frequent updates, and take part in social media with the hashtags #UCCan #AdventUnwrapped.

On...

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