Round the Table

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

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January 5, 2018

A full moon in the clear night sky beckons us into 2018. It is not quite the same as the star that called three magi to journey in search of the Christ child, yet still it presents as a symbol of hope and possibility as we begin this new year.

Christmas trees may be down, cookies eaten, and decorations put away in most of our homes, but the celebration of Epiphany reminds us not to lose sight of the gift given with the birth of our Saviour in such lowly earthly circumstances in Bethlehem those many years ago.

Maybe that glowing moon will illuminate some corner of...

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January 4, 2018

On November 21, 2017, 12 United Church delegates participated in a day-long event on Parliament Hill, in recognition of the UN's Universal Children's Day. Senator Art Eggleton and MP Liberal Kate Young, were instrumental in bringing this event to fruition. Honoured to be the Bread not Stones lead organizer of this event, I was privileged to work with many others to ensure this day was a success, including our event partners, Anita Khanna from Campaign 2000 and Darlene O’Leary from Citizens for Public Justice.

A very...

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December 21, 2017

A United Church minister who doesn’t like guns and who describes himself as a pacifist recently received the Order of Military Merit, which recognizes exceptional service or performance of duty. The Rev. Jim Short received the blue-enamelled, straight-end cross from Governor General Julie Payette in November. Reached at his church office at Ladner United in British Columbia, Short said he was...

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January 8, 2018

While at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2 Spirits in Maliotenam, Quebec, I heard many families express relief and gratitude to finally share their stories. Over 60 families provided testimony in public and private hearings in Maliotenam, Quebec. Families have come from Pakua Shipi, La Romaine, Natashqan, Maliotenam and Uashat, Pessiamit, Manawan, and Baie Comeau. I was touched to see a woman drummer accompany each family to their seats in front, while singing a healing song before they testified.

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January 8, 2018

I attended the National Inquiry of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Thunder Bay, Ontario. As a member of the Aboriginal Ministries Council, I went there to be in solidarity with the families and to witness. These are my reflections.

Hovering over a blanket of Sacred objects and Eagle Feathers, a beautifully coloured red jingle dress embellished with bright red jingles, hung empty and motionless on a hanger. It was the unfulfilled promise of tomorrows never lived. Underneath the dress, on a stone Qulliq, a flame danced, carefully tended by an Inuit Elder on the...

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December 15, 2017

As the season of Advent began, I found myself singing the song, “Come Down Jesus” made famous by Jose Feliciano some years ago. It is not necessarily an Advent song, but the statement in the song “Jesus, you won’t believe the things you see today,” caught my attention. During Advent we remember that the God we worship is the God who comes to us. In the Season of Advent, we acknowledge that God comes to us in every circumstance of our lives. However, when God comes, what will God find? What will God find in our world, and...

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January 8, 2018

I’ve been blessed on several occasions to have heard and read the beautifully articulated words of Mardi Tindal, former moderator of The United Church of Canada, as she has reflected on her participation in United Nations (UN) climate conferences. I’ve been inspired by her compassion, her conviction, and her unwavering commitment to hopeful prayer and action in the face of “among the most urgent spiritual and moral challenges of our day.”

I am now just back from the 2017 UN climate conference, COP23, which took place from November 6-18 in Bonn, Germany, under the leadership of...

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December 8, 2017

Setsuko Thurlow, a long-time United Church member who is also a survivor of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, will receive the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) in Oslo on December 10.

Joining Setsuko in receiving the award, one of the most grassroots Nobel prizes ever awarded, will be Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN. “...

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December 6, 2017

Blackmail. Blackhearted. Black as sin. Washed white as snow. Over time, in our English language, we have become accustomed to equating evil as black, and purity as white. Even the dictionary adds credence to this. One dictionary defines “black” as “without any moral quality or goodness; evil; wicked.” The same dictionary defines “white” as “morally pure; innocent” (from dictionary.com). Similar definitions exist for the words “light” and “dark.”

Our ingrained – and at times binary – notions of black/white and darkness/light as inherently good and evil can guide how we...

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January 8, 2018

As an Aboriginal Ministries Council member in The United Church of Canada, I am often asked to attend meetings or events that address issues important to Indigenous communities of faith. Recently, I attended the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) in Edmonton. When I went there, I knew it would be difficult, but my partner, Charlene, and I wanted to be there to support our relatives. I knew I would have many emotions because this issue is so close to my heart. This is especially important for my partner because she had a sister, Phyllis, whose...

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