Round the Table

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

Last updated: 
September 5, 2019

What does home mean to you?  Does it include a source of clean water? Perhaps a patch of grass or access to parkland?  Does it include safety and security – it will be there day after day to help keep you safe and secure from the elements? Does it mean connection to larger community or neighbourhood? Does it include a source of livelihood?  As people of faith we have affirmed that we live with respect IN creation, that “we cherish and respect the diversity of life and celebrate the beauty of the Earth. For us as members of one family, love and caring are the basis of our relationships with...

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September 5, 2019

I have run in the intense heat of Ontario summers and the deep cold of Arctic winters, but if I am ever asked about the perfect day for running, what will come to mind is this past weekend in Toronto. Cool but not cold, with the sky deep blue and yellow and orange leaves on the ground and still clinging to tree branches.  

On these glorious late fall days, the words from Isaiah 65 in this week’s lectionary passage feel so right.

…. Be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.

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September 5, 2019

My visit to Jakarta, Indonesia, to take part in the Amplify 16 Conference, has been an eye-opening experience.

On the opening day I offered the morning keynote address at an LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning) symposium. It was hosted by the Jakarta Theological Seminary, one of only two LGBT-affirming seminaries in Asia. When seminary principal Stephen Suleeman invited me to the conference, he explained that many Indonesian...

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September 5, 2019

These are my blessings: seven adopted First Nations children that have chosen me as their mom. Our family has included many children, including White, Asian, transgender, Two Spirit, and more. As a family we choose to celebrate our differences and learn from each other. Sadly, we have seen many who do not share our beliefs that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

I have learned much from my diverse family. From my birth children who chose to share...

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September 5, 2019

The stories of Jesus often make me uncomfortable.

We - Grandma and two of the grandsons - were rushing towards Safeco Field to see the Toronto Blue Jays play the Seattle Mariners. The delay at the border had been long, traffic had been heavy, the shuttle was overbooked and the hotel was a distance from the ballpark.

We were scurrying. All hope of seeing batting practice had been abandoned; the goal now was simply not to miss the first pitch.

Not only has the yearly journey with the grandsons to see the Blue Jays and Mariners become a semi-sacred yearly ritual but...

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September 5, 2019

He was beautiful to me. We exchanged knowing glances and I thought “he could be my son.” Then a subway authority officer stopped him, the twinkle left his eye, and my heart sank.  

I observed from a distance. I watched the youth slowly deflate as the subway authority reciprocally buffed up (clutching his club). I watched the boy carefully and respectfully go through all the steps we teach young black boys to get home safe...
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September 5, 2019

A glimpse into the lives of LGTBQ people around the world who face real struggles most of us can only imagine, by freelance journalist Kaitlin Bardswich.

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September 5, 2019

A United Church in Winnipeg has found a unique way to reach out to and engage the surrounding community: through art. For 11 weeks, from late February to mid-May, Crescent Fort Rouge United Church (CFRUC) held art-related activities at the church, complemented by a three-day art show in April.

When asked about the impact in terms of church attendance and outreach to the community, visual...

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September 5, 2019

The important work of Canadian missionaries in China in the years from 1892 to 1950 comes alive through hundreds of historical photos in the Canadians in China: Old Photos from Sichuan exhibit at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, from Oct. 14 to 18.

The exhibit is in conjunction with The Canadian School Association, a group made up of those who attended The Canadian School in West China from 1909 to 1950. Although the school closed almost 70 years ago, executive member Marion Walker says members...

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September 5, 2019

Within hours of arriving in Cuba for celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the ecumenical seminary in Matanzas, rumours spread through our group that Hurricane Matthew was headed our way.