Round the Table

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

Last updated: 
February 19, 2019

The Asian Rural Institute in Japan is helping sustainable agriculture and Christian community go viral around the world.

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: 
February 11, 2019
Black History Month is about the history of all of us.

That was brought home to me loud and clear when I read Paul Douglas Walfall’s blog about the role of United Church ministers in supporting the Ku Klux Klan in the prairies in the 1920s. It is a part of history that I did not know about, and that I would rather not know about. But it is important that I know about it.

Why did I hear about this uncomfortable part of our history from Rev. Walfall, who began his life and his...
Last updated: 
February 7, 2019

 To describe Sarah (name is changed to protect her identity) in a few words is a difficult task, as she is a complex woman. She's a strong, dynamic woman of conscience who lives in several worlds. This sounds complicated, and it is.

I first met Sarah at our introduction to our EAPPI placement. She attended the “thank you party” that the outgoing team was holding as they prepared to leave. We spoke at length about her work for the organization, Combatants for Peace. (From their...

Last updated: 
March 4, 2019

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” —Maya Angelou, “On the Pulse of Morning”

In July 2017 I received the then latest issue of The Journal of the Historical Society of the Alberta and Northwest Conference of The United Church of Canada. In that issue I was particularly interested in the article “The KKK and the Church,” written by Rev. Lloyd Lovatt. It was interesting reading and yet it was also difficult at points to absorb. I read that the Ku Klux Klan came to Alberta in the 1920s through...

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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...

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January 29, 2019

Rigoberto Monge, a fisherman in El Salvador, has been to the United States and back. Now he sits in the yard of his home near the Guatemalan border with his wife and daughters. In 2012, Rigoberto left his home and family for the USA. “We had no livelihood,” he

Last updated: 
January 25, 2019
We finally have winter in Toronto. At least, we have had three or four days of winter, with beautiful fresh snow, and temperatures that have many staying inside.

Having lived in the far north, I have all the clothes to keep me warm in the cold weather, so I have been enjoying being out. There is something about winter weather that makes you feel very vigorous, very Canadian. I have to admit to being a little disdainful when I hear the voices on the radio talking about “extreme cold warnings”…I have never actually experienced extreme cold in Toronto.

Of course,...
Last updated: 
January 23, 2019

“We are six people in our tent,” Sory Rasno says. “At night, the wind keeps us awake. There is no privacy, no space. The children start school this year, but they have no place to study. 

Last updated: 
January 18, 2019

For the last decade, I have been teaching at Union Theological Seminary in the Philippines. Part of the curriculum is a field education program, which requires students to participate in community activities such as protest marches and weekend exposures during the semester; as well as six-week community immersions during the summer. During those immersion experiences, students live, eat, sleep, and work with vulnerable communities. They listen to the community...

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