Remit Implementation

Work has begun to help the church move smoothly through the next steps in the remit implementation process. In addition to approving changes to the traditional operating practices of the denomination, presbyteries and pastoral charges voted in favour of a streamlined three-council model and a new financial arrangement among pastoral charges, communities of faith, regions, and the General Council. These remits will go to the General Council meeting in July 2018 for discussion and, if approved, for implementation. The Task Group managing these processes and the Boundaries Commission that will decide on the new regions will be posting regular updates of their work. Click Here for Remit Implementation Information … [Read more...]

Teaching People to Connect with God – the Prayer Ministry of Penny Bailey

Penny Bailey has been teaching people how to pray for more than twenty years. The member of Wellington Square United Church in Burlington said that prayer has been “the blessing of her life”. “Prayer builds our personal relationship with God. It releases God’s loving power into lives and situations that we pray about.” Prayer releases God’s love on earth,” she said. Although Bailey said she has always prayed, her prayer life deepened after she attended a Benny Hinn Crusade at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens twenty years ago. “I really went to pray for other people, but I was on crutches at the time because of a knee injury and arthritic joints.” By the time she left all her pain was gone and her mobility was restored. “I hadn’t been able to move like that in 15 years,” she said. “I was able to climb stairs. I felt a deep, deep sense of thanksgiving and then I really started to believe in miracles and to pray for miracles for others.” For twenty years, Bailey has led sessions to … [Read more...]

The United Church Foundation – Building the Church Through Innovation

“I’d always planned on going into ministry and I believe this is it,” David Armour, President of the United Church Foundation said. Armour was the Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Olympic Foundation and the President of the United Way of Canada, before coming to work for the United Church. Although Armour has a Master of Management from McGill, easily qualifying him for a top private sector job, he has always chosen to work in the charitable sector, perhaps because of his Presbyterian heritage. “I started out helping street kids in Hamilton,” he said, “while I was doing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at McMaster. And then I ran a little agency.” And then the organizations he was involved with kept getting bigger – from local to regional to national. The United Church Foundation was launched in 2002, by the Executive of General Council to manage all the church’s trusts and endowments. According to the 2017 brochure it was “created to support the work of individuals, … [Read more...]

Skylight Expands Its Borders

Rev. Sarah Chapman knew that the Greenbelt Festival, she attended in Great Britain in 2013, was the kind of life changing experience she had to bring home to Canada. As soon as she returned, together with several who went to Greenbelt with her, the minister of Willowdale Emmanuel United Church in North York, began to plan to offer a similar opportunity to progressive Christians in Canada. The inspirational, activist flavour of the arts and justice festival was emulated in a small festival at the Paris Fairgrounds in the summer of 2015. By the summer of 2016, a highly successful, full-fledged festival, largely funded by the United Church, was launched. Over five hundred people came from all over the country to see concerts and participate in seminars on justice and spirituality. “There was something so special about Greenbelt,” Chapman said, “the progressive atmosphere, the quality of the performances. I especially enjoyed the music of Martyn Joseph and I was thrilled that he was … [Read more...]

Murray Young – An Outstanding Leader in Church & Community

Retired school superintendent, Murray Young, said that the United Church has been “a stable institution” in his life. The ninety-five-year-old member of First United in Port Credit said his closest friends have been church members, and he considers himself fortunate to have been involved in several good United Churches over the years. Young came to the United Church early. His father immigrated to Canada in 1903, from Glasgow, to study at Knox College. He was ordained a Presbyterian, and later a United Church minister. His first charge was in the District of Assiniboine, twenty miles north of Yorkton, which he had to reach by horseback. When Young was a boy, the family moved to London, Ontario, where he graduated from London Central Collegiate in 1939. When the outbreak of war altered his career plans, Young joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and was stationed in England for three years. “That’s when I gained an interested in history,” he said, “and that tilted me towards … [Read more...]

The Hymn Society Celebrates The Unifying Power of Song

  For ninety-five years, The Hymn Society has been encouraging, promoting and enlivening congregational singing in the United States and Canada. In mid-July, over 300 academics, ministers, worship leaders, congregants, musicians, composers and musical enthusiasts gathered from around the world at Waterloo, Ontario, for the Society’s annual conference. For five days, participants listened to lectures about music history, attended concerts, took hymn writing workshops, networked with Christians from other congregations and denominations, and plotted the way forward for church music in the 21st century.            “We have a strong musical heritage in the church,” Brian Hehn, manager of programming for the conference and director of the Center for Congregational Song, said. Although the centre, an offshoot of the Society, will not officially open until October, Hehn has been preparing the programs to be rolled out—including a website and hymn writing workshops. Hehn said … [Read more...]

Celebrating 150 Years of Contributions from Canada’s Faith Communities

“The story of Confederation would not be complete without including the story of faith. Faith has formed a significant part of who we are as Canadians,” Greg Pennoyer, the director of Faith in Canada 150 (FC150), said. “If you pulled out all the faith-based organizations in East Vancouver for example, the numbers say it would be impossible to deal with all the social problems. Religious groups, of various kinds, are making an extraordinary contribution to the common good of this country. Faith has made a significant contribution to Canadians’ lives over the past one and a half centuries.” Several initiatives have been planned by FC150 for this year, including public dialogues, conferences, photo exhibits, lunches, panels and meetings nationwide. Pennoyer is encouraging people to contribute to FC150’s “Golden Thread” initiative, named after Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s 1982 comment that “faith is the golden thread that binds all of us together”. FC150’s parent group, the … [Read more...]

Trudeau Committed to Breaking Down Barriers and Promoting Inclusivity

Although many things about Justin Trudeau make me uncomfortable, (endorsing controversial gas pipelines and ignoring the impoverished to focus on the Middle Class), his commitment to listening to the needs of Canadians in numerous town halls across the country in January, his support for women, and his attunement to the victims of acts of terrorism have instilled hope in me. I recently obtained a press pass to attend a forum with Trudeau, sponsored by The Martin Prosperity Institute and The New York Times, at the Rotman School of Business, in Toronto. Although the business people in the audience had paid to hear him talk about trade, Trudeau said very little about trade—except to say that NAFTA was solid and that he intends to pursue more international trade deals in the coming years. Instead, he focused on the need to “connect people” who are different from one another. He seemed, in his speech, to seek to empower and motivate his audience rather than to dictate, entertain or … [Read more...]