Round the Table

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

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November 3, 2017

Across the United Church, there are many approaches to marking Remembrance Day. In contributing a new selection of prayers for use in a Remembrance Sunday service, my hope was to address the wide variety of needs of different church congregations.

Our tradition has often been uncomfortable with appeals to the use of force to solve the problems of the world, and rightly so. We celebrate the way of Jesus, of personal non-violence, and of the call to non-violence as an ideal that has practical implications in bringing about God’s...

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November 1, 2017

As some may know, The United Church of Canada’s General Council Office has undergone a great move. We haven’t moved far (condensing three floors into one in the same building where we have been for over 20 years) but we have reinvented our office space to be open and (more) paper free.

In the Ministry and Employment unit, we have many, many files. I was given the task of going through all the files related to students. Although I have worked with student and ministry files in my position as Program Coordinator for Ministry Recruitment, this focused task brought the work of...

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October 31, 2017

October 31, 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, an important date in the history of the United Church and for Reformed Churches around the world. To commemorate the occasion, we are publishing a series of blog posts by Trisha Elliott on "What Makes Us Protestant." Take a look at all the blog posts in this series.

Why do we have only two sacraments? The short...

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October 30, 2017

The following recounts the experience of one of our United Church of Canada’s ordained ministers (used with the person’s full permission).

“I can remember it well. It was your typical day in the church office, I went to the phone to call an official of the church. As soon as the official answered my call I was in for it. I found myself being wrapped on the knuckles for an error I had done. It was nothing sexual or anything like that. But the reality is that I had made a mistake. To be fair the person was doing his job and I hold no ill will towards...

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October 26, 2017

Most of the reformers left it up to individual Christians to decide whether signing was an appropriate expression of faith, but there were some who condemned it as a form of idolatry. Gradually, it fell out of favour with the majority of Protestants.

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December 11, 2017

The Jane Finch community, situated in the northwest part of Toronto, is a community that has been plagued by gun violence. Much of this is due to larger systemic issues related to racialized poverty. Last year there were 65 gun discharges in Jane and Finch.

I work as the Community Minister at the Jane Finch Community Ministry which is situated in one of the social housing communities in Jane and Finch known as Firgrove. The role of the ministry is to stand in solidarity with the community providing...

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October 19, 2017

Reformers were conflicted about the cross. They disagreed about whether to reject or use the crucifix, to adopt an unadorned cross, or to discard the symbol altogether. Most Protestant churches today tend to be less ornate and our crosses bare—a direct reflection of the Reformation call to integrity.

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October 13, 2017

The Millstream Pastoral Charge in New Brunswick may be small in size — less than 40 active families in a four-point charge — but its generosity towards others is major league. Its members already support various outreach services in the neighbouring town of Sussex, including a clothing depot, sponsoring a foster child in Africa, donations to the Red Cross for disaster relief, and a transition house for abused women. But with Canada’s 150th birthday falling this year, the pastoral...

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October 12, 2017

For the first thousand years of Christianity, and particularly since the Council of Ephesus in 431, Mary has held a special place in Christian faith as Theotokos, or “Bearer of God.” But for just as long, there has been debate about how “special” that place ought to be.

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October 10, 2017

Did you know that October is Clergy Appreciation Month? It was introduced in the United States in the 1990s but throughout church history people have taken time to thank their leaders.

“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.” (1 Timothy 5:17 NIV)