Innovation is already happening in many unexpected places in and beyond the United Church. We are seeing it in rural and urban, large and small communities of faith, in young and more experienced alike, and we have only scratched the surface. No doubt people in your own faith community have innovative ideas about how to be church in a new day.
The hardest part is making sure the energy is there to support the idea. Embracing the Spirit is here to lift up all of our innovative communities.
Tell Your Story
We are looking for amazing and hopeful stories of what is happening in and around The United Church of Canada’s network. If you have a story to share, please connect with us at embracingthespirit [at] united-church.ca.
What are we looking for? Here are some examples of stories we hope to collect:
- Are you excited about collaborating/partnering with any outside organizations?
- Are you excited about any of your community outreach programs?
- Are you engaging external volunteers with the work of your faith community?
- Do you have a new way of approaching church or sharing your faith with others? Are you a new ministry?
- Have you found a new way to be spiritually grounded or to help your community go deep in faith?
- Are you engaged in a real estate project that is tied to your mission?
- Is there something else that is so unique it isn’t listed?
Stories and innovative ideas are also available on the EDGE website where you can
- explore all of the various innovation practices and projects that are taking place
- learn about new ministries and how they are adapting to the new landscape
- take a look at how you can leverage your property to better support innovation
- see what the first steps are in ministry renewal
If you don’t know if your community of faith has a story but you are curious to find one, consider
- Coaching: Let us help you unveil stories that you might not even know exist that are being told within your community of faith.
Would you like to be part of the excitement of Embracing the Spirit or have your community of faith or regional council take part in an Innovation Workshop? New ideas are guaranteed.
Book a 60-minute interactive Innovation Workshop, where you will
- explore different types of ideas and how they can be applied to a faith community
- learn how to develop new ideas into successful pilots or programs
- hear about new ideas and initiatives
For more information or to book your Innovation Workshop, please contact embracingthespirit.united-church.ca.
Social Innovation Challenges
The Social Innovation Challenge is a unique event that brings together change-makers, mentors, and funders focused on bettering the world. Ideas should address some or all of the following areas: economic, social, environmental, and spiritual.
Communities of faith are taking the lead in inspiring their neighbours to make a difference in the world by leading the Social Innovation Challenges and weaving the local ecosystem together in a web of people who care.
See some of the ideas that came out of Trinity United Church in Kitchener when they supported their own Social Innovation Challenge in Waterloo Region.
Community Innovation Challenges
Community Innovation Challenges are led by local faith communities in municipalities with a population of 10,000 or less that wish to solve a local challenge in collaboration with other local organizations. How does this work?
Step 1: Identify the Community Challenges
Invite the community leaders to at least one community round table where you will discuss the community and the current situation. Break-out groups will brainstorm to determine some of the main challenges.
After this brainstorming session, the group will summarize each table discussion and identify some common themes.
Step 2: Community Innovation Challenge
A few weeks after the round tables are complete, a follow-up gathering will occur. Each table will have a sign with one of the identified themes. Attendees select a table to sit at and, throughout the event, will collaborate on a program that would help address that challenge.
These ideas are presented and voted on by the people gathered in the room. The top ideas should be implemented by the people present. Tickets from the event could be used for seeding the program, or funding could come from a community outreach fund.
A sample agenda for a Community Innovation Challenge is in the downloads below.