General Secretary

Posts and reflections from General Secretary Nora Sanders

Last updated: 
November 30, 2018

“Great is thy faithfulness, Great is thy faithfulness, Morning by morning new mercies I see…”

For no reason I could think of, this was the song I was humming to myself as I set out for my early walk with the dogs on a recent rainy, windy, November morning.

Heading out in the early light on such a morning, before some of the houses on our street even have their lights on, one could wonder, “Why?” What and where are the new mercies?

Yet, in the company of two large and enthusiastic canine companions, it is hard to not share at least a little in their...

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October 19, 2018
Time is such a precious commodity, and we often complain about not having enough of it.

Last weekend when the GC43 Executive Elect met to continue discerning how they will meet and be accountable and ensure that they hear from diverse voices, one of the things that was mentioned was that we may need to get over being so rigidly time bound. It was left as a challenge, an intention, but without a clear strategy for now.

I had cause to reflect on the value of time on Wednesday as I sat in the parking lot on the north edge of Toronto that is otherwise known as...
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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.