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Features

Feature

September 2013

Did Canadian oil poison this town?

By May Warren

Last spring, a pipeline carrying diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands ruptured in a small Arkansas town. People began to get sick. And now they want answers.

Feature

September 2013

Imagine your church in 2025

By Observer Staff

You have no illusions about the future. But this year’s Observer survey results show you’re cautiously hopeful and open to change.

Feature

September 2013

Government’s big gamble

By Orland French

When politicians debate casinos, money almost always trumps morals. By failing to raise ethical issues, they’re betting against our best interests.

Feature

September 2013

Interview with Michael Dowd

By Ambury Stuart

The American evolutionary apostle talks about his science-based spirituality

Feature

July 2013

1988

By Various Writers

Twenty-five years ago, the United Church said yes to openly gay and lesbian ministers. Three people who were caught in the storm look back on the year that changed everything.

Feature

July 2013

Hard time on the outside

By Richard Wright

Billions are spent getting tough on crime, but precious little is invested in supporting ex-convicts as they readjust to daily life. For too many former inmates, getting out of prison is like serving another sentence.

Feature

July 2013

Saved by a salamander

By Lisa Van de Ven

How an endangered amphibian became the unlikely hero in a community’s fight to stop a quarry expansion in Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment

Feature

July 2013

Rwanda’s great turnaround

By Tim Johnson

Though the genocide of two decades ago will never be forgotten, the tiny country has surged ahead, becoming one of the safest and most financially robust nations in Africa

Feature

July 2013

Interview with Kathleen Wynne

By Mardi Tindal

Ontario’s first female premier and Canada’s first openly gay provincial leader talks about faith, politics and community

Feature

June 2013

Losing the hooded grebe: Part 2

By Alanna Mitchell

A team of scientists races against time to prevent a small Argentine water bird from vanishing forever

Feature

June 2013

Standing up to big gold

By Roxana Olivera

A fight pitting Indigenous Peruvians against a multinational mining company highlights the real cost of the global boom in precious metals

Feature

June 2013

Interview with Gordon Lightfoot

By Karen Hilfman Millson

Canadian musical icon and former choirboy talks about his beginnings, faith and activism in conversation at St. Paul's United in Orillia, Ont.

Feature

June 2013

The mediums are the message

By Anne Bokma

A skeptical writer visits the spiritualist haven of Lily Dale, N.Y., where communing with the dead is the town’s claim to fame

Feature

June 2013

The right kind of trouble

By Mardi Tindal

Being the United Church can sometimes get uncomfortable. The former moderator reflects on the risks and rewards of public witness.

Feature

May 2013

Death. It’s inevitable. So let’s talk about it.

By Trisha Elliott

It’s natural to be anxious about dying. But facing up to our mortality can help us live better today.

Feature

May 2013

Buy. Wear. Toss.

By Susan Peters

In the developed world, clothing has never been cheaper. But do overstuffed wardrobes make fashion victims of us all?

Feature

May 2013

Losing the hooded grebe

By Alanna Mitchell

Why the extinction of a small water bird in Argentina would be a tragedy for all of Creation. First of a two-part series.

Feature

May 2013

Interview with Chris Stedman

By Katie Toth

Harvard University's humanist chaplain talks about atheists, Christians — and how the two can set aside their differences to work together

Feature

May 2013

Remote connection

By Tim Johnson

In the age of Skype, Facebook and Twitter, finding a real retreat can be an (almost) impossible challenge

Feature

April 2013

The United Church diaspora

By Christine Boyle

They don’t attend worship anymore, but countless young adults are living out the values they absorbed in church

Feature

April 2013

The ugly Internet

By Kasia Mychajlowycz

Online misogyny is running rampant. Critics say that hate is hate, whether it’s expressed on the street corner or in cyberspace.

Feature

April 2013

Sweet soul music

By Vivien Fellegi

New research shows that raising your voice in song can help lift the fog of depression

Feature

April 2013

The Nisga'a experiment

By Richard Wright

Owning land is a Canadian right — unless you live on a reserve. Now, a First Nation in British Columbia is rewriting the rules. Will property rights for Aboriginals bring prosperity or assimilation?

Feature

April 2013

Interview with Ron Klusmeier

By Ken Gallinger

Pioneering composer talks about contemporary church music and his ongoing "Tour of a Lifetime"

Feature

March 2013

The Upper Room

By Gary Paterson

An Easter message from the moderator, Rt. Rev. Gary Paterson

Feature

March 2013

Making amends with Malawi

By Pieta Woolley

Backpacking in southern Africa 13 years ago, the writer vowed to raise money for AIDS orphans. She never did, but she also never forgot. Haunted by guilt, she returned last fall to pay her debt.

Feature

March 2013

Living a miracle

By Bill Millar

Kristin Millar was 26 and an aspiring actor when her heart stopped. Her father, a minister, says it was the worst thing that ever happened to their family. And the best.

Feature

March 2013

Embracing our Aboriginal sisters

By Julie McGonegal

Colonizers targeted Indigenous women by undermining their leadership and stealing their children. Perhaps it's time to recover the power and potential of Aboriginal women

Feature

February 2013

The other survivors

By Pieta Woolley

Former students are not the only victims of residential schools. Their children — and their children’s children — also bear the scars of broken families and shattered communities.

Feature

February 2013

Something about bears

By Therese DesCamp

They’re unpredictable. They’re nuisances. And they can be deadly. But our encounters with bears can also inspire the wildest kind of love.

Announcement

New Observer editor and CEO, Jocelyn Bell. Photo by Lindsay Palmer

New editor named

by Observer Staff

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Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

A perfect send-off

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Video

ObserverDocs: My Year of Living Spiritually

by Observer Staff

Anne Bokma left the Dutch Reformed Church as a young adult and eventually became a member of the United Church and then the Unitarian Universalists. Having long explored the "spiritual but not religious" demographic as a writer, she decided to immerse herself in practices — like hiring a soul coach, secular choir-singing and forest bathing — for 12 months to find both enlightenment and entertainment.

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Society

November 2017

Trump country

by David Macfarlane

A northern Alabama county voted almost unanimously for Donald Trump in 2016. One year later, the writer, together with photographer Nigel Dickson, travels there to try to understand why.

Faith

November 2017

Involuntary pilgrim

by David Giuliano

The return of a tumour sets David Giuliano on a path he calls his ‘Camino de Cancer’

Faith

October 2017

A tale of two cancers

by Catherine Gordon

One year after the writer discovered she had breast cancer, her sister in California received the same diagnosis. They both recovered, but their experiences were worlds apart.

Society

November 2017

Trump country

by David Macfarlane

A northern Alabama county voted almost unanimously for Donald Trump in 2016. One year later, the writer, together with photographer Nigel Dickson, travels there to try to understand why.

Faith

November 2017

Involuntary pilgrim

by David Giuliano

The return of a tumour sets David Giuliano on a path he calls his ‘Camino de Cancer’

Faith

November 2017

Grey matter

by Trisha Elliott

Is consciousness just a function of the brain — or something more?

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