Round the Table

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

Published on: 
September 19, 2016

Attracting young families is a challenge many churches face, but Castlegar United Church in Castlegar, British Columbia, thinks it may have a solution.

Every fourth Sunday, families from the surrounding community are invited to take part in a Worship for the Child Within event. Rev. Greg Powell, minister for Castlegar United, says that Castlegar has tried to design a style of worship that is “engaging for young and old alike.”

The services start and end in the...

Published on: 
September 16, 2016

It’s the middle of September, and I’m still getting used to the idea of it being September!

Somehow the shift from the lazy, hazy days of summer to the pumped-up energy of the first week of school, the resumption of committee gatherings at the General Council Office, and the flurry of welcome back Sundays in congregations, is just a little abrupt.

In these transitional times of year many of us feel torn between the time past and the time coming.

I had some good opportunities over the summer for rest, recreation, and reconnection with family and friends. I hope you...

Published on: 
September 15, 2016

To me, one of the great losses of the last 30 years in our church is that we do not often ask people about their experience of God. Perhaps we are afraid of appearing wacko or irrational but it has often shut us up. We can go for years and not know whether the person down the row from us may have had their pickup truck surrounded by a shaft of light and they felt encompassed by an overwhelming sense of love and rightness or whether they have struggled an entire lifetime wondering why God seemed absent in an abusive household.

Part of this reticence is that many of us feel...

Published on: 
September 13, 2016

On the surface, the British Columbia community of New Denver seems like an odd place to find a grassroots reinvention of church. Tucked away in the Kootenay region in the province’s southeast, 500 people live in the small village, where the pastoral charge has not had a minister in over 25 years. The village’s United Church was recently sold, and when meeting in the sister church down the road proved impractical, the small congregation began meeting in members’ homes.

Still, there is a real sense of spiritual renewal here. That’s evident every other Sunday in Rory’s, New Denver’s...

Published on: 
September 12, 2016

Another world is necessary, urgent, and already in the making.

These are the core beliefs of those who attended the 12th World Social Forum (WSF) - a convergence of solutions, energies, and goodwill for the building of another world.

I attended the WSF (August 9–14, Montreal, QC), and also participated in the World Forum on Theology and Liberation (WFTL), a parallel event organized by local ecumenical organizations and attended by people of faith from around the world. We walked together in the WSF’s opening march in support of...

Published on: 
September 9, 2016

Every Tuesday, people gather in the chapel of First United Church in Ottawa to offer healing. They are there to conduct Healing Pathway sessions. Practitioners learn to be spiritually grounded, heart-centred channels of God’s healing love. Across Canada, more than 100 other congregations are doing the same thing, as trained practitioners embody God’s unconditional healing love for those who come to receive.

Sharon Moon, a retired United Church minister...

Published on: 
September 7, 2016

In The United Church of Canada there is an affirmation of faith that says, “In life, in death, in life beyond death, we are not alone.” Jenn Kline has lived that reality with the story of her brother.

When you first meet Jenn, you would think she is a caring and considerate student at Appalachian State University. She’s studying to get her master's in clinical mental health counseling, and her smile does a great job of...

Published on: 
August 31, 2016

The United Church of Canada doesn’t have a singular motto or slogan it is known for, though there are many strong statements already in use across the church. On our website’s home page, under our name, are these words: “Discover the power of prayer, action, and community.”

The ...

Published on: 
August 23, 2016

Rev. Paul Douglas Walfall, the President of Alberta and Northwest Conference, writes on Blacks Lives Matter and the persistence of racial discrimination in Canada.

Friends, I speak on a point of personal privilege.

The unfolding events in the USA brings the question of race relations again to the fore. The reality that a Black male is more likely to be stopped, questioned and intimidated than any other racial groups in North America should not be understated nor taken for granted. While it is true that the issues of race relations in Canada are usually...

Published on: 
August 10, 2016

Keith Howard, former executive director of the Emerging Spirit project, writes about the future of The United Church of Canada.

At the risk of sounding naïve, the shape of The United Church of Canada, in my corner of the continent, seems to be emerging from the fog generated by massive cultural shifts.

Congregations - Large, Medium, Small

In larger centres, we may have one large congregation - Vancouver, North Vancouver, etc. This congregation is heavily endowed or has another significant revenue stream. The property, in some form, will be a significant...