Round the Table

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

Last updated: 
March 16, 2018

It’s the children of Palestine I think about the most!

In the summer of 2015 I spent two months in Susiya, a small village in the South Hebron Hills of Palestine on a UN assignment. The homes of Susiya were once again being threatened with demolition by the Israeli government. The people of Susiya had twice been forced out of their village in recent years. This time they were determined to stand their ground!

Our assignment was to provide a protective presence for the village and advocate for changes in policy. If there was a demolition, there would be witnesses.

...

Last updated: 
January 29, 2018

Walking home from work at this week at noon hour, I have seen groups of people congregating behind the community pool between the office and our house. I guessed what they were up to even before I noticed them all staring down at their cellphones. The resident Pokémon Go expert in our house had already discovered the Pokémon gym in that location about a week ago.

I understand that Pokémon are also being...

Last updated: 
July 15, 2016

Sun and shadows dancing across the pages of my book as the breeze moves through the branches above.
The earth moist and flowers perking up after yesterday’s much needed rain. 
The oppressive humidity cleared.
Two dogs stretched out sleeping under the patio table.

Last updated: 
March 16, 2018

Canadians have made huge progress in advancing LGBTI rights here. But what about the rest of the world? Is there something in our experience from which others could draw? How might we act in solidarity with people who live under more repressive regimes?

These were some of the questions that drew about 70 people from 30 organizations to the Dignity Initiative Roundtable in Ottawa June 1-2. The Dignity Initiative came about after efforts in 2014 to press the government of Canada to play a more...

Last updated: 
July 6, 2016

Summer is an excellent time to schedule repairs to a heating system. Even though I can’t quibble with that logic, I am hoping that the man whose job it is to pound on a large metal heating vent with a hammer, right outside my office window, will soon be done his work.

Some things that are necessary are unpleasant, yet they still must be endured.

It’s easier to put up with unpleasant things when we understand the point of them. I know I will be grateful for this work when winter comes and the office stays warm.

Sometimes it is harder to understand the point of things...

Last updated: 
February 16, 2017

When the Toronto Pride Parade hits the streets on July 3, Rachel Lauren Clark will be marching and celebrating. The Emmanuel College theology student is very happy that organizers of this year’s Pride celebrations “made an effort to be much more adept at highlighting trans people and trans issues, plus the unique struggles they face.”

That awareness campaign got off to a big start early in June, when Clark, who transitioned in 2013, threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Toronto Blue Jays game. That toss—“a really good...

Last updated: 
June 30, 2016

Welcome to Round the Table, a new blog from The United Church of Canada.

The Round the Table blog will cover topics related to the life of faith lived through the people and ministries of The United Church of Canada, including thoughtful messages from church leaders, stories from our partners  around the world, exciting new worship ideas, theological reflections, Bible studies, testimonies of faith, ministry best practices, and more. Each blog post will offer a peek at the work and life of The United Church of Canada.

In this time of increasing...

Last updated: 
March 16, 2018

Since 2010 the people of Grassy Narrows have continued to bring focus to their 50 years of frustration over mercury contaminated water in their community. Every second year they journey to Queen’s Park to lobby the provincial government through their River Run—demanding justice for their people and protection for the waters and forests that give life.

In 2016 the members of St. John’s United Church in Marathon, Ontario, followed their core ministry of “radical and...

Last updated: 
March 16, 2018

On April 28, 2016 in Ottawa, an impressive turnout of close to 300 people showed up for Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna's townhall for the government's consultation on climate action. This first climate townhall kicked off two months of similar consultations, to be held by Members of Parliament in communities across Canada.

“The room was packed – people were lining up to speak up for real climate action,” said Aurore Fauret of 350.org and the People’s Climate Plan...

Last updated: 
March 16, 2018

There was a sense of hope, and of moving forward, when on March 31 the United Church made a public statement on adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. But without doubt, there were also questions, not the least of which was “why?”

There is an easy answer: because we were asked.

Almost a year ago, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), after seven years investigating the roots, facts, and legacy of abuses committed Indian Residential Schools, asked the churches that ran those schools to adopt the Declaration as “a...

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