Round the Table

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

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January 25, 2019
We finally have winter in Toronto. At least, we have had three or four days of winter, with beautiful fresh snow, and temperatures that have many staying inside.

Having lived in the far north, I have all the clothes to keep me warm in the cold weather, so I have been enjoying being out. There is something about winter weather that makes you feel very vigorous, very Canadian. I have to admit to being a little disdainful when I hear the voices on the radio talking about “extreme cold warnings”…I have never actually experienced extreme cold in Toronto.

Of course,...
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January 23, 2019

“We are six people in our tent,” Sory Rasno says. “At night, the wind keeps us awake. There is no privacy, no space. The children start school this year, but they have no place to study. 

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January 18, 2019

For the last decade, I have been teaching at Union Theological Seminary in the Philippines. Part of the curriculum is a field education program, which requires students to participate in community activities such as protest marches and weekend exposures during the semester; as well as six-week community immersions during the summer. During those immersion experiences, students live, eat, sleep, and work with vulnerable communities. They listen to the community...

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January 17, 2019

The United Church of Canada has long been involved in interfaith dialogue and action to build respectful, mutual relationships. The church has recognized Islam as a religion of peace, mercy, justice, and compassion and has affirmed that we want to journey towards reconciliation, understanding, and cooperation with our Muslim neighbours. For more information, see Interfaith Relations.

Eleven members of Grace United Church participated...

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January 9, 2019

I join other people in the ecumenical world to celebrate and recognize an honour that has been bestowed on the Rev. Jose Belo Chipenda. The President of the Republic of Angola, João Lourenço, recognised the contributions to the gaining and preservation of National Independence, as well as peace and democracy. The Rev. José Belo Chipenda was honored with the Medal of Bravery, Civic, and Social Merit, first class. He received the award in November, 2018 at the Presidential Palace in Luanda, Angola.

I met the Rev. José Belo Chipenda in the 1990s. I was then a young ordained minister...

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January 7, 2019

During this past Advent, we put ourselves in the shoes of God’s people in biblical times as they wait for God to act. But the difference is that for us, we know what we’re waiting for (or we think we know), whereas for God’s people at the time, I don’t think they were quite sure what God had in mind or knew how long they were going to have to wait.

The Korean people can identify with this. They have been waiting for decades. When World War II ended, they thought the long years of Japanese occupation were over and the Korean people had finally found their independence. But it...

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December 24, 2018

If I am a little bit turned upside down this Christmas there is some reason for it. I am recently back from “Down Under” where I met with my counterpart from the Uniting Church in Australia and those in similar roles with the United Church of Christ (U.S.) and the United Reformed Church (Great Britain). When we are together, which doesn’t happen...

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December 20, 2018

Quebec City, traditional territory of the Wendat people, hosted one of the last hearings of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). This particular hearing focused on the Justice System and Indigenous women. On arrival at the National Inquiry, I was surprised to see a familiar name in the agenda. Presenting for Nishnawbe Aski Police Services was Chair of the Board, Mike Metatawabin and Terry Armstrong, Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Police Services. I knew Mr. Metatawabin because we are from the same community. They spoke about the safety issues that the...

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December 18, 2018

This blog post marks International Migrants Day, December 18, 2018.

This October, with the support of The United Church of Canada, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a delegation from the World Student Christian Federation-North America (WSCF-NA) to the Ecumenical Gathering on Migratory Theology, a conference organized by the Fraternidad Teológica Latinoamericana in Mexico City.  As so often happens, the journey began before I left home. The Sunday before I left for Mexico, I worshiped at a United Church in...

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December 13, 2018

My earliest church memories are tethered to St. James-Bond United Church in Toronto. (Of course, we called it “Bond…St. James Bond, United Church,” with a Sean Connery burr.) I won’t elaborate with tales of basketball courts and bowling alleys, wonderful ministers, witty musicians, finger sandwiches, ukuleles, and poster paint because you likely have similar memories of a church with a slightly less cool name. These days, when I travel along Avenue Road, I see condos where there was once a church. And I feel a little sentimental tug—a nostalgia that I can often confuse with sadness....