Round the Table

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

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January 17, 2019

The United Church of Canada has long been involved in interfaith dialogue and action to build respectful, mutual relationships. The church has recognized Islam as a religion of peace, mercy, justice, and compassion and has affirmed that we want to journey towards reconciliation, understanding, and cooperation with our Muslim neighbours. For more information, see Interfaith Relations.

Eleven members of Grace United Church participated...

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January 9, 2019

I join other people in the ecumenical world to celebrate and recognize an honour that has been bestowed on the Rev. Jose Belo Chipenda. The President of the Republic of Angola, João Lourenço, recognised the contributions to the gaining and preservation of National Independence, as well as peace and democracy. The Rev. José Belo Chipenda was honored with the Medal of Bravery, Civic, and Social Merit, first class. He received the award in November, 2018 at the Presidential Palace in Luanda, Angola.

I met the Rev. José Belo Chipenda in the 1990s. I was then a young ordained minister...

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January 7, 2019

During this past Advent, we put ourselves in the shoes of God’s people in biblical times as they wait for God to act. But the difference is that for us, we know what we’re waiting for (or we think we know), whereas for God’s people at the time, I don’t think they were quite sure what God had in mind or knew how long they were going to have to wait.

The Korean people can identify with this. They have been waiting for decades. When World War II ended, they thought the long years of Japanese occupation were over and the Korean people had finally found their independence. But it...

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December 24, 2018

If I am a little bit turned upside down this Christmas there is some reason for it. I am recently back from “Down Under” where I met with my counterpart from the Uniting Church in Australia and those in similar roles with the United Church of Christ (U.S.) and the United Reformed Church (Great Britain). When we are together, which doesn’t happen...

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December 20, 2018

Quebec City, traditional territory of the Wendat people, hosted one of the last hearings of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). This particular hearing focused on the Justice System and Indigenous women. On arrival at the National Inquiry, I was surprised to see a familiar name in the agenda. Presenting for Nishnawbe Aski Police Services was Chair of the Board, Mike Metatawabin and Terry Armstrong, Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Police Services. I knew Mr. Metatawabin because we are from the same community. They spoke about the safety issues that the...

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December 18, 2018

This blog post marks International Migrants Day, December 18, 2018.

This October, with the support of The United Church of Canada, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a delegation from the World Student Christian Federation-North America (WSCF-NA) to the Ecumenical Gathering on Migratory Theology, a conference organized by the Fraternidad Teológica Latinoamericana in Mexico City.  As so often happens, the journey began before I left home. The Sunday before I left for Mexico, I worshiped at a United Church in...

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December 13, 2018

My earliest church memories are tethered to St. James-Bond United Church in Toronto. (Of course, we called it “Bond…St. James Bond, United Church,” with a Sean Connery burr.) I won’t elaborate with tales of basketball courts and bowling alleys, wonderful ministers, witty musicians, finger sandwiches, ukuleles, and poster paint because you likely have similar memories of a church with a slightly less cool name. These days, when I travel along Avenue Road, I see condos where there was once a church. And I feel a little sentimental tug—a nostalgia that I can often confuse with sadness....

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December 10, 2018

Ahmed (name is changed to protect his identity) is a 29-year-old university accounting graduate. He is married and works on his family's organic farm inside the Seam Zone in Tulkarm. Recently, to make ends meet, he found a part-time job in roofing. He told me that he cried some tears when he realized he could not support his family and had to find extra work.

The Seam Zone is an agricultural area in the West Bank located east of the Greenline and west of The Wall. One Israeli soldier explained that Israel is on the west side of “The Wall” and no-man's land (Seam Zone)

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December 14, 2018

We have received many comments and questions about whether or not to incorporate the “’Twas in the Moon of Wintertime” into Christmas carol services. Thanks to Dana Lynn Seaborn, of seabornsong.com, who offered us a helpful response to start the conversation. Dana Lynn writes:

The English lyrics were written by an Anglo-Canadian in 1926 to the tune of the French folk song, "A Young Maid." As a Métis woman who has lived in territory named for the Wendat, and studied traditional Wendat culture and history, I find those...

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December 5, 2018

They say a picture is worth more than 1,000 words, and I agree.

To try to understand the Rohingya crisis, I had read much about who the Rohingya Muslims are and why they are being persecuted. It has been pretty much an exercise of thinking—a head exercise. That changed when I saw the picture (above) taken by ACT Alliance photographer Paul Jeffrey. I looked into the eyes of this girl, her eyes filled with hope as she holds up her card from the UNHCR (the United Nations’ refugee agency) in Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Bangladesh.

Behind her eyes you can see that she has been...

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