Round the Table

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

Last updated: 
March 1, 2019

A reflection on "Transfiguration," (Luke 9:28-43a).

Peter, James and John follow Jesus up a mountain to pray this week, and to escape the crowds that were hounding them. Sadly the disciples just can't keep up; their prayers soon have them snoring. When they come to, they discover Jesus glowing like a candle and conversing with the two biggies of Israel's history — Moses the law-giver and Elijah, the greatest prophet.

It's one of the two moments of startling clarity that serve as bookends to the season of Epiphany that is ending this week. The Epiphany...

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February 26, 2019

Row on row we stood… in the brand new courtyard… row on row of young girls in navy tunics or navy skirts, white starched shirts, ties, and polished oxfords. I wore my new navy blazer with its red school crest, because it was a special occasion. The Honourable Lieutenant Governor Lincoln Alexander was coming to our school’s reopening, so row on row we stood. I remember it was a bright autumn day, and it was so warm that I did not need my pea jacket. I thought, “This new private all-girl school is interesting! We...

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February 22, 2019
Most of Canada celebrated a long weekend recently, and in several provinces, the February holiday is called Family Day. The holiday’s name is a good reminder for all of us about the importance of appreciating our families and spending time together with those we love. I appreciated that my son (and his girlfriend) were willing to enjoy family time with me in Port Stanley over the weekend, including dinner one night with my two brothers and a nephew.

Family life can get obscured in the details of daily living, and it is important to take time to remember how important our...
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April 2, 2019

The Asian Rural Institute in Japan is helping sustainable agriculture and Christian community go viral around the world.

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February 14, 2019

There was a time, within the memory of many of us in The United Church of Canada, when a congregation could count on the culture around it to assist in the spiritual formation of its members. 

For children, weekly Sunday School classes and mid-week groups were supplemented by daily prayers and devotions in school. Even those adults who did not participate in Bible study groups were immersed in a culture that largely operated on the premise that there was consensus about morals and attitudes and that those morals and attitudes were shaped by the Christian story. Magazines, radio and...

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February 11, 2019
Black History Month is about the history of all of us.

That was brought home to me loud and clear when I read Paul Douglas Walfall’s blog about the role of United Church ministers in supporting the Ku Klux Klan in the prairies in the 1920s. It is a part of history that I did not know about, and that I would rather not know about. But it is important that I know about it.

Why did I hear about this uncomfortable part of our history from Rev. Walfall, who began his life and his...
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February 7, 2019

 To describe Sarah (name is changed to protect her identity) in a few words is a difficult task, as she is a complex woman. She's a strong, dynamic woman of conscience who lives in several worlds. This sounds complicated, and it is.

I first met Sarah at our introduction to our EAPPI placement. She attended the “thank you party” that the outgoing team was holding as they prepared to leave. We spoke at length about her work for the organization, Combatants for Peace. (From their...

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March 4, 2019

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” —Maya Angelou, “On the Pulse of Morning”

In July 2017 I received the then latest issue of The Journal of the Historical Society of the Alberta and Northwest Conference of The United Church of Canada. In that issue I was particularly interested in the article “The KKK and the Church,” written by Rev. Lloyd Lovatt. It was interesting reading and yet it was also difficult at points to absorb. I read that the Ku Klux Klan came to Alberta in the 1920s through...

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January 31, 2019

Everyday Skeptics: Devotions for Spiritual Growth is the new United Church Lenten devotional for 2019. It features reflections from United Church partners who do local and global ministry, often in challenging situations of "prophetic risk." We spoke with the editor of the book, Alydia Smith, to find out more about it.

Q. Everyday Skeptics is an interesting title for a book of Lenten devotions. Can you tell us more about the book and where the title comes from?

Alydia: It was a struggle picking a title for this book. There are...

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January 29, 2019

Rigoberto Monge, a fisherman in El Salvador, has been to the United States and back. Now he sits in the yard of his home near the Guatemalan border with his wife and daughters. In 2012, Rigoberto left his home and family for the USA. “We had no livelihood,” he