General Secretary

Posts and reflections from General Secretary Nora Sanders

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September 28, 2018
By season, fall is a time of endings, but in most of our lives, and certainly, in our regular church cycles, it is a time of new beginnings.

For us in The United Church of Canada, this fall is a time when endings and beginnings are swirled alongside each other as we say goodbye to former structures and roles and prepare for new ones. As is always the case with change, we are preparing for the new as well as we can, yet knowing that there will be unexpected experiences or issues or feelings that we encounter. That is something to be both nervous and excited about.
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August 4, 2018
The 43rd General Council is over and I have been catching up on laundry, sleep, and family since arriving home on Saturday. I imagine that most of those who attended are feeling much the same way after a very full time together.

It is always good to be together with such a great variety of people who love God and love the United Church.

This meeting had a new format, with a combination of the ...
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May 18, 2018

Most of us feel pulled in many directions at once.

How to be prepared enough for Conference annual meetings and General Council? How to do what is expected of us in our jobs, whether within the church or outside it? How to respond to the news of snipers firing at protesters and medical personnel in Gaza, and pedestrians being run over on the streets of Toronto? How to juggle the various schedules in a household and meet the needs of different generations of family members? How to find time to clean the house and make dinner? How to carve out time to accompany...
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February 9, 2018

I don’t know about you, but at our house we are preparing to begin binge watching the Olympic coverage starting this weekend. I am generally not a big sports fan, but there is something about seeing young people from so many parts of the world offer their peak performances after years of preparation that really captures me.
 
There are some United Church families with more personal connections to Canada’s Olympic team. No doubt Sharon Moyse (former Maritime Conference UCW president) and family in Summerside, PEI are very excited to see daughter ...

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November 10, 2017

We are over a week into November and as I write this on Thursday night, the weather forecast says that we may get the first snowfall of the year in Toronto this weekend.

I am a little excited about the snow coming. Oh sure, it can be inconvenient in many ways, but I like winter. I also like spring, summer and fall. I tend to like whichever season we are in, or about to be in. Each time of year has something wonderful about it. Even though science gives us explanations for the changing seasons, our experience of them holds both mystery and miracle.

This week we mark...

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October 5, 2017
A colleague mentioned that the salmon were spawning in the Humber River yesterday, so I chose that route for my run this morning. I stopped near a small waterfall and watched these sleek, gleaming, determined fish make their way against the current, trying again and again to overcome what looked like an insurmountable barrier. Science has explanations for these things, but not for the sense of wonder I felt as I observed it.
 
Later today I will get on a plane to go to Edmonton for "An Awkward Conversation." That is the name of the conference, a name that...
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September 22, 2017

I am writing from my new cubicle in the new open space General Council Office.

The move is complete, or as complete as it can be when there are still some renovations ongoing, and some boxes that can’t be unpacked until all the bookshelves and filing cabinets are in place. Our workspaces are all set up, and most of us had things unpacked and arranged and were already getting going with regular work within a couple of hours Monday morning. There is a lot to get used to, but overall, I am finding that there is a lot of energy and enthusiasm in the office. (See more ...

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September 8, 2017

Labour Day is past, kids are back in school, and churches across Canada are gearing up for all the busy activities of the fall season.

At the General Council Office, we are in the midst of massive upheaval unrelated to the change of seasons. After months of preparation, and weeks of camping out in temporary office spaces, we are in the final stages of our big office move.

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August 10, 2017

Not far from Pinawa, Manitoba there is a fascinating place where centuries ago, people arranged rocks into the shapes of turtles, snakes, fish, and humans. There is a sense of mystery, even of the sacred, as you walk among these ancient figures. God has spoken to people throughout history. God continues to speak to us today.

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July 13, 2017

Thunder is rumbling outside the giant hall in Indianapolis where the General Assembly of the Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ) is meeting. I am here because we are in a full communion conversation with the Disciples, who are already in full communion with our full communion partner, the United Church of Christ. That’s quite a mouthful...

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