People in Partnership invites you to learn more about the work and mission of partners around the world by inviting an individual to come and share their stories with United Church of Canada communities of faith. Find out more about these pilgrims, companions, co-workers and learners below. Please contact pip [at] united-church.ca to invite a speaker.

Featured Speakers Currently Available

Walking with Peace, Reclaiming Hope! Young Adult Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, Pilgrim in Mission, South Korea

A group of people in South Korea

Region: Various

In August 2019, four United Church young adults participated in a youth Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace organized by the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) and the Ecumenical Youth Council in Korea (EYCK). They were joined by participants from 22 other countries. The NCCK is a Mission & Service partner.

Joseph Yong Wook Kim (Toronto), Amy Wood (Winnipeg), Scott Kell (London, Ontario), and Sandy Hwang (Vancouver) (L to R in photo) are eager to share their experiences of this unique young adult pilgrimage and work together towards peace and reunification.

“Seeing the unification of pilgrims from all over the world come together to support human beings in the face of the current separation in the Korean peninsula and across the globe was inspiring.”

Youth for Peace Pilgrimage, Pilgrim in Mission, Palestine and Israel

Region: Various

Eleven United Church of Canada young adults visited Palestine and Israel in August 2019. This national Youth for Peace program marked the 10-year anniversary of both the inaugural Youth for Peace Pilgrimage and of the release of Kairos Palestine’s A Moment of Truth document.

Participants came from the following regions: Prince Edward Island; Sherbrooke and Montreal, Quebec; Ottawa and Sudbury, Ontario; Winnipeg; Yorkton, Saskatchewan; Calgary; Kelowna and Kamloops, British Columbia. They are eager to share about their experiences.

Come & See Pilgrimage, Pilgrim in Mission, Palestine and Israel

People standing in front of old buildingsRegion: Various

In October 2018, Newfoundland and Labrador Conference sponsored a group of United Church members from across Canada to visit Palestine and Israel for a Holy Land Pilgrimage.  The visit was a response to the calling from UCC global partners in Palestine Israel to ‘come and see’ from a multi viewpoint perspective on advocacy in the region. 

Participants came from the following regions: Newfoundland; Central Nova Scotia; Goose Bay, Labrador; London area, Ontario; Regina area, Saskatchewan; Calgary area, Alberta.

“…there was a potent moment when the Muslim call to prayer rose in the air, the sound hovering above the singing and dancing of the Jewish people as they welcomed Shabbat. But in my dream, there was also another prayer, another presence...the stones underfoot were beating, beating, beating.”

Brianna Huet, Pilgrim in Mission, Japan and South Korea

Portrait of Brianna HuetRegion: Lower Mainland BC

Brianna is a member of the former Okanagan/Kamloops Presbytery, participating in their leadership cycle and being involved in outdoor ministry outlets and youth retreats. She was also part of a 2017 BC Conference delegation visiting the Gyeonggi South presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea.

Briana participated in the 2018 Korea Peace Treaty Seminar organized by the National Council of Churches in Korea.  The Seminar, including study sessions and exposure experiences in Korea and Japan, brought together about 20 people from around the globe to learn about, educate others and advocate on issues of peace and reunification in the Korean peninsula.

“South Korea stole a piece of my heart when I was there, showing me all the work that is possible to be done by hard work and the grace of God.”

Sarah MacGregor, Pilgrim in Mission, Japan

Region: Huron County and North Bay, Ontario

Sarah is a member of Brucefield Community United Church, just north of London, Ontario. She has been involved in youth initiatives at various levels of the church, such as a GC43 commissioner, a program coordinator with GO Project, an employee of Camp Menesetung, and a guest at the All Native Circle Spiritual Gathering. 

Sarah MacGregor and Martha Wood were both guests at the Minority Youth Forum in Hokkaido, Japan, hosted by the Center for Minority Issues and Mission (CMIM). The 2018 Forum focused on the history, injustices, and challenges that affect the indigenous Ainu people of northern Japan, as well as other indigenous peoples around the world. Find out more about Sarah and Martha’s experience by reading their blog post Allow Me to Softly Touch Your Heart.

“A big first step to loving and serving others is being actively engaged in listening and conversation.”

Ralph Wushke, Pilgrim in Mission, Netherlands

Portrait of Ralph WushkeRegion: Toronto area

Ralph Carl Wushke is recently retired from his positions as Minister at Bathurst Street United Church, and Ecumenical Chaplain at the University of Toronto. His work in the field of AIDS/HIV extends back to the 1990s.

Ralph attended the 2018 International AIDS Conference and the pre-event Faith Building Bridges (hosted by the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance) as part of an inter-faith chaplaincy team embedded among 15,000 participants from around the world. Find out more about Ralph’s experience by reading his blog post: The End of AIDS by 2030?

“In an HIV context, a sermon about Miriam saving Moses’ life made all the difference: both mother and child got back on treatment."

Martha Wood, Pilgrim in Mission, Japan

Portrait of Martha Wood

Region: Bracebridge, Ontario (Shining Waters Region)

Martha Wood is a member of Bracebridge United Church. She was also part of a 2017 Toronto Conference delegation visiting the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, and as a steward at the 2017 General Council of the World Communion of Reformed Churches in Leipzig.

Martha Wood and Sarah MacGregor were both guests at the Minority Youth Forum in Hokkaido, Japan, hosted by the Center for Minority Issues and Mission (CMIM).  The 2018 Forum focused on the history, injustices, and challenges that affect the indigenous Ainu people of northern Japan, as well as other indigenous peoples around the world. Find out more about Sarah and Martha’s experience by reading their blog post Allow Me to Softly Touch Your Heart.

“I believe that travel is one of the best ways to learn about the people, places and cultures that share the Earth.”

Lyn Miller, Companion in Mission, China

Portrait of Lyn Miller

Region: Peterborough, Ontario and surrounding area

Lyn Miller is a retired teacher and active member of Emmanuel United Church in Peterborough, Ontario, including being the Mission and Service enthusiast, teaching in the Sunday School, and sitting on committees at the local, presbytery, and conference levels.

Lyn took part in the 2018 Summer English Program in China hosted by the Amity Foundation, a Mission & Service partner.  The United Church of Canada and Amity have been working together as partners since 1985.

"I am thinking … how privileged I am to have this opportunity and how gracious and welcoming the Chinese people have been."

Adele Boy, Companion in Mission, Palestine and Israel

Portrait of Adele Boy

Region: Peterborough, Ontario and surrounding area

Adele Boy is a retired secondary school teacher and Curriculum Leader from the Toronto District school Board where she taught Dramatic Arts and English for 32 years. She is an active member of Sandford United Church as well as doing pulpit supply as a Licensed Lay Worship Leader.

Adele participated in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, an initiative of the World Council of Churches, a Mission & Service partner.  Participants of the programme monitor and report violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, offer protection through non-violent presence, engage in public policy advocacy and, in general, stand in solidarity with the churches and all those struggling against the occupation.

Find out more about Adele’s experience by reading her blog posts.

"Sipping tea, from a seat under a lemon tree, Ahmed and I can see The Wall (the separation barrier) on three sides of his family's farm.”

 

Zaya Kuyena, Pilgrim in Mission, India

Portrait of Zaya KuyenaRegion: Ottawa, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec areas

Zaya Kuyena is a member of Parkdale United Church, as well as the Student Christian Movement in Ottawa.  Zaya’s been involved with his community of faith in various ways, including supporting a recently-arrived Syrian refugee family, mentoring youth, and taking part in the Social Justice and Communications committee.

Zaya recently accompanied United Church Delegate Hans van Nie to Chennai, India for the 2018 Annual General Meeting of Mission & Service partner Oikocredit (a worldwide microfinance investor).  While there, they also visited with Mission & Service partner the Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation.

“I guess the ordinary can too be radical if we choose it to be.”

Gary MacDonald, Pilgrim in Mission, KenyaPortrait of Gary MacDonald

Region: Maritimes

Gary MacDonald is an active member of Sackville United Church and community, including being a Sunday school teacher, choir member, and food bank volunteer, and is interested in the art of storytelling.

Gary took part in the 2019 AFARI Kenya Trip hosted by the American Friends of Asian Rural Institute (AFARI). The group was accompanied by the Executive Director and met graduates of the Asian Rural Institute, a Mission & Service partner. The United Church of Canada and ARI have been working together as partners for many years. Find out more about Gary’s experience by reading his blog posts: We Are All Bound Together and Growing Change Around the World.

“What a privilege to visit Kenya. The skills and confidence that Kenyans gained at the Asian Rural Institute is leading to impressive success in their community work.”

Laura Ritcey, Pilgrim in Mission, Curaçao, Caribbean

Speaker Profile: Laura Ritcey

Region: Maritimes

Laura Ritcey is an active member of Harmony United Church in Saint John, New Brunswick and is interested in growing the church. She works as a Personal Support Worker and enjoys getting to know and helping people.

Laura took part in the 2019 Young Adults in Mission Youth Camp in Soto, Curaçao organized by Mission & Service partner CANACOM (Caribbean and North America Council for Mission). The United Church of Canada has been a part of this Council since its founding.

 

Didn’t find who you were looking for? There may be other speakers available in your region; please contact us at pip [at] united-church.ca  for more information.

Do these profiles pique your interest in people-to-people opportunities with global partners? Visit our list of Current Opportunities to learn more about how to participate.