Last century was the most violent in history, with more than 203 million killed in wars — more than all the preceding centuries combined. In today's armed conflicts, more than 90 percent of casualties are civilians — half of which are children.
Sheima Benembarek was born in Saudi Arabia, grew up in Morocco and moved to Canada in 2005. In 2015, she relocated to Toronto. At first, the city seemed so much bigger, impersonal — and even threatening — until a fateful encounter in the subway one day.
For nearly half a century, the Elnabrees family has fled one war after another: Palestine, Kuwait, Iraq and, more recently, Syria. This year, they arrived as refugees in Canada, sponsored by relatives and United churches. Ayman Elshafiy, his wife, Sonia, their two daughters, his sister and mother, were among them.
In August 2014, the world watched as a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, exploded in outrage over the police shooting of an 18-year-old. In her own words, St. Louis-based writer Alicia von Stamwitz describes the tragedy and its aftermath.
After some soul-searching about what buying really adds up to, UC Observer blogger Lee Simpson made a promise to purchase nothing for 365 days. But while her reasons were clear, the vow to change was a little more complicated.
As institutions close their doors, people with developmental disabilities are finding new independence in community living. But as Chris Stafford and his mother, Andrea, recently discovered, the demand for supportive housing options far outstrips the supply.
Last fall, The Observer reported on Canada's Out of the Cold programs, which shelter untold thousands every winter. The magazine recently returned to Waterloo, Ont.'s First United Church and found a continued need.
Founded in 1829, The United Church Observer is the oldest continuously published magazine in North America and the second oldest in the English speaking world. It has won international acclaim for journalistic excellence and garnered more awards for writing than any other Canadian religious publication. Read more...