Round the Table

Sharing stories of life, faith, and ministry in the United Church and beyond.

Last updated: 
May 23, 2018

Maximum engagement for peace in Korea.

That was the commitment of the International Women Peacemakers Delegation made at the end of the January 2018 Vancouver Foreign Ministers Meeting on Security and Stability on the Korean Peninsula co-hosted by Canada and the U.S. Nothing like the U.S.-led focus on “maximum pressure” and increased sanctions against North Korea. Instead, we wanted to maximize efforts to reduce tension, promote people-to-people contact, and enable humanitarian and sustainable development efforts in North Korea. I was in Vancouver, representing...

Last updated: 
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...
Last updated: 
May 17, 2018

I am a third-generation Japanese Canadian living in southern Alberta among the third-largest concentration of Japanese in Canada; the other two concentrations of population are in Vancouver and Toronto. In my city of Lethbridge, no one questions our presence here, because people have grown up with us in their midst.

During the Second World War, the Japanese were deemed to be “enemy aliens” and were forcibly removed from the West Coast of Canada to exile in relocation camps in the Interior of BC. Others came to do the hard labour of sugar beet farming in southern Alberta. Both of my...

Last updated: 
May 16, 2018

On Sunday (May 20), Venezuelans will elect a president and other local officials. It will be the fifth presidential election and 25th election of any type to take place in Venezuela since 1998, when Hugo Chávez was elected. His successor, Nicolás Maduro, is the front-runner in the current campaign.

I work as Latin America program coordinator at The United Church of Canada, and I am getting ready to travel to Venezuela and to serve as an election observer. Given U.S. (and...

Last updated: 
May 11, 2018

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: 
May 10, 2018

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

—Margaret Mead

I have heard this quote often. So often that when I hear someone starting to say it I begin to think, “Oh no, isn’t this a bit of a cliché?” But I don’t completely go there—because I still believe there is truth in it. Indeed, a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens change the world (or their world) in the direction of love, justice, and mercy; this has happened more times than we will ever know.

On the...

Last updated: 
May 7, 2018

Last fall, Aboriginal Ministries Circle and Indigenous Justice staff dined together in the dark at a Toronto restaurant called O Noir. O Noir draws its inspiration from Blindekuh, a restaurant opened in Zurich by a blind pastor named Jorge Spielmann. The idea is to give sighted diners an experience of what it is like for visually impaired individuals to dine out. And as at Blindekuh, all of O Noir’s wait staff are visually impaired.

This would be a new experience for us. A blind diner, of course, would have many more strategies for independence than we did. But I was excited about...

Last updated: 
May 4, 2018

The silence of the streets is eerie. Everywhere that we have gone in Palestine has been busy with people, traffic, and commerce as well as the ubiquitous military presence. Not so in the old city of Hebron. Hebron reflects a microcosm of the conflict in this ancient land. Generations of peoples have struggled here each claiming land and the right to exist on it. Violence can break out at any time and it has often done so.

Cell phone connections have been made with our guide from the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment...

Last updated: 
May 2, 2018

To be candid, when I received an invitation to create a worship service and Bible study for Asian Heritage Month 2018, I hesitated at first. I am grateful for this opportunity to share why I accepted.

Why me? I wondered, when I was asked. Is it because I am “Asian?” There is nothing politically incorrect or derogatory about calling me that, but still, this identification is never easy to accept. Judith Butler writes, in Vulnerability in Resistance, that names, categories, and descriptions are applied to us before...

Last updated: 
April 26, 2018
Excited to see old friends and make new ones.
 
Frustrated that we aren't going to do all of the same activities that we did last year, especially the ones I was really good at.
 
Hopeful to experience God's grace in a safe, fun, and nurturing environment.
 
Anxious to see how I will fit in.
 
Happy to learn new ways to be together with people from diverse places and homes but share many of the same rituals as I do.
 
Worried about how good the snacks will be this year...
united