Worship Blog

December has a number of special days that call on people of goodwill to work together.

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September 5, 2019

Called to serve in global mission, Rob Witmer writes about his lifelong passion to serve in Japan.

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September 5, 2019

I am a third-generation Japanese Canadian living in southern Alberta among the third-largest concentration of Japanese in Canada; the other two concentrations of population are in Vancouver and Toronto. In my city of Lethbridge, no one questions our presence here, because people have grown up...

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September 5, 2019

I was wondering if you might be available to write a Bible study for Black History Month?

“There’s no way I can do this,” was my first thought when asked by those at the United Church General Council Office to contribute a Bible study for Black History Month. Me, a White guy,...

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September 5, 2019

Alydia Smith is the editor of the new United Church Lenten devotional, Why I Believe. She was interviewed by Tilman Lewis, an Editor/Resource Coordinator at the General Council...

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September 5, 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...

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September 5, 2019

May is Asian Heritage Month, and the perfect time to prayerfully reflect on the contributions of Asian Canadians to Canadian society. Liturgies, songs, and other material that can be used in Asian Heritage Month...

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September 5, 2019

Rev. Bronwyn Corlett writes on being called to serve: "There are disciples answering God’s call across this country—and that is what vocation is all about."

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September 5, 2019

Canada Day is coming. Canada 150 celebrations are intensifying. I wonder how Indigenous people are feeling about it all. I asked a few Indigenous friends and leaders in our church: “If someone from one of our non-Indigenous communities of faith asked you about the 150th year of Confederation,...

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November 5, 2019

Two Canadian Armed Forces chaplains remember United Church minister, the Rev. William Alfred Seaman, who served as a chaplain during World War II and is among those who lost their lives in Normandy 75 years ago.

In this season, many things distract us from nurturing faith within our families.

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September 5, 2019

Called to serve on a global mission trip to Nicaragua, Sarah Jane Wetelainen's faith journey and life choices were fundamentally shaped by the experience.

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April 2, 2019

The United Church’s “A New Creed” reminds us that we are called to live with respect in creation. Not respect “for” creation, as a separate entity. But respect “in” the creation that is all around and within us. That is our...

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September 5, 2019

People sometimes share that they forget I am a person who is totally blind. I experience this as a good thing, an acknowledgment that they feel acceptance, and embrace me for who I am, my abilities and disabilities.

When I or others are not focusing on my disability and “forget” it, so...

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September 5, 2019

In this Palm Sunday reflection, Rev. Stephen Fetter writes that, while the road to freedom offered by Jesus is hardly easy, it's worth working for.

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September 5, 2019

My father was not much of a churchgoer. I still vividly recall him putting dollops of pancake batter onto a sizzling griddle, or devouring the weekend newspaper, on Sunday afternoons when I came home from singing in the...

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September 5, 2019

Earth Hour—Saturday, March 24, 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.—marks its 12th edition this March.

I remember that first gathering in a darkened Church of the Holy Trinity next to the Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto. We lit candles, we read scriptures and other readings, we signed a...

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September 5, 2019

Called to serve in global mission service in Korea, John Egger is discovering firsthand the exciting new things God is calling us to.

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September 5, 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...

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September 5, 2019

A reflection on the temptation of Jesus (Luke 4:1-13).

I seldom imagine Jesus as vulnerable to temptation. For me, Jesus is confident, outspoken, insightful, inspiring – even unshakable in his conviction that the world can and must be better, and that love is the way. But...

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September 5, 2019

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is celebrated annually on December 3. This year, the day coincides with the first Sunday of Advent, when we traditionally celebrate a theme of hope.

Several years ago, I...

My family is not particularly religious. We co-exist quite well, but it can become a bit awkward around November and December when I want to spend more time celebrating and preparing for Christ and my family wants to spend more time celebrating and preparing for the holiday season (think...

Reflecting on who we think Christ is as a way to help prepare for Christmas is an ancient tradition.

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October 18, 2019

During Advent, we prepare our sanctuaries and buildings to be symbols of preparing ourselves for the birth, and rebirth, of Jesus.

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September 5, 2019

How are you getting ready for Christ(mas) this year?

If you are celebrating the Advent season as a family—or as an individual or an all-ages group of any kind—Advent Unwrapped offers an alternative to the advertisements, shopping lists, and hype that we are bombarded with at this time of...

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September 5, 2019

With the start of the King Street transit pilot project in Toronto, I discovered a new way to get to work. Even if it took an additional 15 minutes more than taking the tube, it was worth it to see a glimpse of Lake Ontario. Memories of Luneta Park at Manila Bay flood in as I watch the waters of...

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September 5, 2019

The old, grey stone steps of my local United Church in Toronto were recently transformed. They are now awash in a cheerful rainbow of hues, almost daring people who bustle by on the busy Toronto street not to stop and smile. I’m sure more than a few pedestrians have wondered, “What’s going on...

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September 5, 2019

Rev. Stephen Fetter writes that Good Friday is a time when gathering with others to pray brings hope - even in the face of tragedy. 

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September 5, 2019

Me, too.

"If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote 'Me too' as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem."

A friend posted “Me too,” I did, and then another, and then another, and then another…

It continued. It felt...

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September 5, 2019

I am a person who is totally blind. I use a dog guide. Wilson is a 7½ year old black lab. He can be correctly described as a seeing eye dog, as he is a graduate of that school. “Seeing eye dog” is actually not a generic term, though it is often used erroneously that way.

Service animals...

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September 5, 2019

World Refugee Day on June 20 is a call for communities around the world to work toward peace and security for all, remembering especially the millions of people who are displaced or forcibility uprooted from their homes.

...

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October 18, 2019

In this Christmas pageant, the sheep deliver the words we all need to hear.

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September 5, 2019

The Rev. Evan Noodin Smith writes that, "Within the church there have been very few attempts to start acknowledging Two-Spirit people."

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September 5, 2019

For Asian Heritage Month, YoonOK Shin writes that our diverse heritages are gifts to give and receive, transforming bleak cultural boundaries. 

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September 5, 2019

The Rev. Stephen Fetter writes that the Ascension is about how the disciples, and the church, came to know Jesus differently. 

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September 5, 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...

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September 5, 2019

Jordan Sullivan asks, “What measure of privilege are we willing to give up to create equity for others?”

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October 18, 2019

Adding some different liturgical music during Advent can certainly make everyone take notice that it’s a new season.

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September 5, 2019

Basil Coward asks, Can you be both queer and Black, and enjoy a celebrated and visible presence in the United Church? 

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October 10, 2019

The United Church of Canada cares for refugees because we believe that sharing God’s love is our prime purpose. We believe that justice is the public face of God’s love, and work to share God’s love on a personal, local and global level. 

I see the face of God in refugees’ faces:...

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September 5, 2019

Indigenous Day of Prayer reminds us that if we are to heal broken relationships, we must talk with one another. Let us begin today and never stop.

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September 5, 2019

Blackmail. Blackhearted. Black as sin. Washed white as snow. Over time, in our English language, we have become accustomed to equating evil as black, and purity as white. Even the dictionary adds credence to this. One dictionary defines “black” as “without any moral quality or goodness; evil;...

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September 5, 2019

During this upcoming year, as major changes to our church structure are under consideration, many of us will be planning worship services for people who are dealing with and working through the complex feelings involved with change: the grief, loss, and sadness in saying goodbye to the courts of...

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November 1, 2019

The first Sunday after Christmas is a perfect opportunity to enjoy Christmas carols and stories.

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September 5, 2019

When I acquired HIV in 1987, it was “a death sentence”. One of the first comments made by my GP in 1990 in Regina, when he gave me the HIV+ test result, was that I would need more tests to find out “when the clock started ticking.” Not very comforting words. My work in the community-based AIDS...

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September 5, 2019

The Rev. Jeff Rock writes that while progress has been made in the church for LGBTIQ2S+ people, the work of inclusion is just beginning.

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September 5, 2019

Today, June 20, is World Refugee Day, and there are events scheduled in many different locations in Canada.

I wonder if those who began World Refugee Day could have imagined the state of...

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September 5, 2019

I took these pictures last August while visiting my mother’s relatives in the central part of Saskatchewan on the Muskoday First Nation. They capture some of the 825 dancers that participated in the 25th annual traditional Powwow.

I was sitting beside my aunt, my mother’s youngest sister...

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September 5, 2019

We have received many comments and questions about whether or not to incorporate the “’Twas in the Moon of Wintertime” into Christmas carol services. Thanks to Dana Lynn Seaborn, of seabornsong.com, who offered us a helpful response to start the conversation...

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September 5, 2019

For Asian Heritage Month, Yoonjoo Shin, an early childhood educator, writes about the importance of having racialized educators who can embody inclusiveness for children from immigrant families.

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September 5, 2019

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...

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September 20, 2019

Rev. Stephen Fetter writes that, "Forgiveness is about being set free of whatever binds us, so we can become whom God wants us to be."

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November 7, 2019

For Remembrance Day, military chaplain and United Church minister Capt. (Rev.) Linda Tomlinson-Seebach reflects on the cost of war and peace.

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September 5, 2019

To be candid, when I received an invitation to create a worship service and Bible study for Asian Heritage Month 2018, I hesitated at first. I am grateful for this opportunity to share why I accepted.

Why me? I wondered, when I...

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September 5, 2019

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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September 5, 2019

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...

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September 5, 2019

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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September 5, 2019

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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September 5, 2019

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...

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September 5, 2019

In 1971, the observance of June 21 as a National Indian Day of Prayer was formally recognized by The United Church of Canada, at the 24th General Council. In 1982 the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) called for the creation of a National Aboriginal Solidary Day....

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September 5, 2019

Our God is a God of relationship, who seeks us out and longs for us to live in relationship with others and all of creation. (You may be saying to yourself right about now, well duh!) I believe that on Christian Family Sunday we are...

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September 5, 2019

Why did I write a worship service and sermon for Black History Month? It’s a difficult question to answer. I was filled with excitement and dread at the prospect. I was excited because the topic of race and identity is volatile at the moment (well, really, when hasn’t it been?) and the...

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