Round the Table

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

Published on: 
April 3, 2017

As part of her commitment to reconciliation and reaching out to Indigenous communities, Moderator Jordan Cantwell recently travelled to Manitoba, then British Columbia. She talks about what she learned in this interview with Paul Russell.

In February you attended the Keewatin presbytery meeting in Winnipeg. Tell me about that.

Keewatin only meets once per year, when the winter roads are open. For the rest of the year, many of the communities can only be reached by airplane. The cost of flights in the north is prohibitive, making presbytery gatherings at any other...

Published on: 
March 24, 2017

What was the most touching experience you had in 2016?

Seeing Lorna Standingready (former Elder, All Native Circle Conference) and Alberta Billy (who in 1985 asked the General Council for the Apology) at the 30th anniversary celebration of the Apology in Sudbury, Ontario. It was beautiful and poignant to see them sitting with their heads together, a great moment of mutual consolation and friendship.

What was your...

Published on: 
March 22, 2017

A couple of years ago, my wife decided what she would give up for Lent was complaining about being tired and overworked. Amazingly, she discovered that once she stopped telling herself how tired and overworked she was, she felt a lot less tired and overworked! Changing how she talked actually changed her reality. 

We can say things often enough that they start to actually determine reality rather than just describe it. They might be factually true, but they are unhelpful because of what they reinforce....

Published on: 
March 16, 2017

Joe Ramsay and Allan Reeve are big fans of talking. Not just casual dialogue, but focused dialogue that explores specific issues. For the last year, these two United Church ministers have been leading “Sacred Conversations” in Ottawa and in the Bay of Quinte Conference. These “conversations that matter” involve both lay and clergy members, allowing participants to get to know each other better and explore complex issues in a structured, respectful environment.

“One of the big advantages of the program is...

Published on: 
March 10, 2017

Winter months are cruel. I can make my way through sharp winds, mounds of dreary slush, and sheets of menacing ice. But the darkness often deflates my spirits, leaving me longing for more light and signs of green shoots emerging from the earth. This is why I keep a photo of a stained-glass window at my local United Church taped inside my bedroom closet. It’s a reminder that there is more “light”— hope, kindness, and love—than I may see.

The stained-glass window depicts the 1800s painting “The Light of the World.” Jesus holds an illuminated lantern; his other hand is poised to knock...

Published on: 
March 10, 2017

The gospel calls us to seek health and wholeness for all God’s people. In 2014 the church signed the Canadian Health Coalition (CHC) statement, Secure the Future of Medicare: A Call to Care, stating that health care in Canada is a fundamental right. We continue to support for Canada’s single-tier, publicly-funded, universal health care system.

A National Drug Plan...

Published on: 
March 2, 2017

Marina Abramović and Ulay have a performance piece called Rest Energy in which a drawn bow pointed directly at Marina’s heart is tautly held by both Marina and Ulay’s opposing body weight. Marina is holding the back and grip while Ulay is holding the drawn bowstring and arrow. (You can watch it online; trigger warning: anxiety...

Published on: 
March 1, 2017

Since the beginning of the year, more than a hundred refugees have crossed into Manitoba seeking asylum.  Fearful of how the new American administration will affect their chances at finding safe haven, they have been walking across the US/Canada border, often for hours through waist-deep snow and freezing temperatures.

CCS student Jordan Basso is in ministry at a three-point United Church pastoral charge near the border, including the town of Emerson.  “It has certainly...

Published on: 
February 23, 2017

I am writing from midway through my sabbatical. It’s my first ever experience of a sabbatical, and a wonderful experience. It’s wonderful, but also slightly disorienting.

Right now I am sitting in the front room upstairs at our cottage, (my past and future home). There is a strong wind off the lake and a bit of fresh snow outside but inside all is peaceful. The dogs are stretched out on the floor next to me, sound asleep.

Flexibility is one of the great things about sabbatical time: being able to work from different locations; being able to do the drive on days with good...