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Mike Milne

Feature

March 2019

Gretta Vosper's settlement could redefine the United Church

By Mike Milne

The decision has divided members and forced questions about the denomination’s future

Feature

February 2019

Soprano retires from church choir after 90 years

By Mike Milne

Betty Empringham is also a talented pianist.

Feature

January 2019

Sister Maudilia López Cardona says Canadian company's mine devastated her community

By Mike Milne

The nun and activist helps raise awareness about the environmental and social costs of the Marlin mine in Guatemala. She spoke to Mike Milne through a translator.

Feature

January 2019

The United Church is going through some big changes. Here's what you need to know

By Mike Milne

'There are important relationships to develop, and that can’t be done overnight.'

Feature

October 2018

Gretta Vosper to get formal hearing soon

By Mike Milne

The United Church will decide whether or not the Toronto atheist minister should be removed from the order of ministry.

Feature

October 2018

Grandpa cycles cross-country for reconciliation

By Mike Milne

The United Church senior raised about $4,000 for the church's Indigenous Healing Fund.

Feature

September 2018

Indigenous church cautiously optimistic about General Council changes

By Mike Milne

The United Church has voted to create a new National Indigenous Elders Council and a National Indigenous Spiritual Gathering, among other commitments.

Feature

September 2018

Presbyteries are gone. So now what?

By Mike Milne

Here's what the United Church's new three-court system will look like.

Feature

July 2018

Meet your 2018 moderator nominees

By Mike Milne

Later this month, General Council commissioners will choose the United Church’s next moderator. As of press time, 10 leadership hopefuls had been announced. We asked each of them to sum up their pitch in a tweet.

Feature

June 2018

After 93 years, this could be the United Church's last General Council meeting

By Mike Milne

When the United Church meets in July, top priorities will be a streamlined governance structure and Indigenous ministries.

Feature

June 2018

United Church moderator reflects on righting injustice and what gives her hope in this exit interview

By Mike Milne

We talk to Rt. Rev. Jordan Cantwell as she wraps up her term as United Church moderator in July.

Feature

May 2018

3 church leaders discuss peace in the Korean Peninsula

By Mike Milne

We talk to Patti Talbot, Erich Weingartner and Rev. Catherine Christie about the political climate between North and South Korea.

Feature

April 2018

How churches are saving themselves through real estate

By Mike Milne

Churches across the country are trading their valuable real estate for long-term funding. But success takes more than good intentions.

Feature

March 2018

Egerton Ryerson: The legacy of a tarnished hero

By Mike Milne

He founded public education in Ontario — and this very magazine — while also promoting residential schools. How should we judge Ryerson today? Some students want his name and image gone.

Feature

March 2018

United Church of Canada proposes new regional boundaries

By Mike Milne

The UCC has mapped out new regions based on geography, relationships, and culture

Feature

November 2017

No date yet for Vosper hearing

By Mike Milne

Feature

April 2017

Living young in Canada’s oldest town

By Mike Milne

With the highest percentage of seniors in the country, Qualicum Beach, B.C., offers a glimpse into our greying future.

Feature

March 2017

An enduring dialogue

By Mike Milne

Despite their failed merger in 1975, the United and Anglican churches are still keen to co-operate. Two small congregations in rural Quebec are proving it can be done.

Feature

February 2017

Emission control

By Mike Milne

United Church buildings produce as much carbon dioxide as 30,000 cars. Why are so few congregations cleaning up their act?

Feature

January 2017

Presbytery turns down bid to halt Gretta Vosper hearing

By Mike Milne

A last-ditch effort to halt a hearing that could defrock a self-declared atheist, who is serving as a minister in The United Church of Canada, was rejected by a church court in mid-January.

Feature

November 2016

Executive rejects bid to delay Gretta Vosper proceedings

By Mike Milne

In 2015, Nora Sanders ruled that Vosper’s current answers to ordination vows could be used to review her effectiveness in ministry. The United Church’s judicial committee, its highest quasi-legal body, refused to hear Vosper’s appeal of that ruling.

Feature

November 2016

How atheist minister Gretta Vosper tested the limits of United Church tolerance

By Mike Milne

Atheist minister Gretta Vosper is audacious, passionate and polarizing. She tested the limits of United Church tolerance and found little institutional appetite for her brand of unbelieving.

Feature

September 2016

Atheist minister Gretta Vosper one step closer to dismissal, formal hearing requested

By Mike Milne and Observer Staff

Feature

September 2016

United Church committee finds atheist minister ‘not suitable’

By Mike Milne

According to a majority of the committee members, Gretta Vosper "is no longer in essential agreement with the statement of doctrine of The United Church of Canada."

Feature

September 2016

Atheist minister’s suitability reviewed

By Mike Milne

Feature

May 2016

Judicial panel denies Vosper appeal

By Mike Milne

Atheist minister’s suitability may now be reviewed

Feature

January 2016

The divestment iceberg

By Mike Milne

The General Council just sold $6 million in fossil fuel shares from its treasury fund. Will the United Church’s pension fund, foundation and congregations follow suit?

Feature

December 2015

Atheist minister review on hold

By Mike Milne

Feature

September 2015

Essential expectations

By Mike Milne

A compromise that facilitated the creation of the United Church 90 years ago is at the crux of a debate on what ministers are supposed to believe today

Feature

August 2015

Day Six

By Mike Milne

Decision on new-look church goes down to the wire

Feature

August 2015

Day Three

By Mike Milne

Support for Mideast peace, but no demand for divestment

Feature

August 2015

Day Two

By Mike Milne

Massive structural changes may be too much to handle in just one week

Feature

July 2015

United Church at a crossroads

By Mike Milne

Some are calling the August meeting of the General Council one of the most critical since church union. At stake is how the denomination works — and possibly its future.

Feature

July 2015

Atheist minister faces Conference review

By Mike Milne

Rev. Gretta Vosper, minister of West Hill United in Toronto and a self-declared atheist, faces a church trial on her suitability for ministry in The United Church of Canada.

Special Feature

July 2015

Bosnia’s invisible war

By Mike Milne

A relief convoy carrying church aid finds determination amid destruction in a forgotten corner of former Yugoslavia — September, 1996

Feature

May 2015

Confronting the unbelievers

By Mike Milne

Reaction against a minister who came out as an atheist was swift and blunt. But questions persist about how to deal with clergy who no longer believe.

Feature

March 2015

Boycotted beverage company to leave Israeli settlement

By Mike Milne

Feature

November 2014

Interview issue: Moley Mangana

By Mike Milne

United Church military chaplain

Feature

November 2014

Interview issue: Kathryn Anderson

By Mike Milne

Crusader for human rights in Guatemala

Feature

September 2014

Interview with Andrew Bennett

By Mike Milne

The career civil servant and academic talks about being named Canada's ambassador for religious freedom

Feature

August 2012

Day Seven

By Mike Milne

General Council affirms boycott of settlement products and opposition to Israeli occupation

Feature

August 2012

Day Five

By Mike Milne

United Church moves closer to boycott of products from Israeli settlements

Feature

August 2012

Day Four

By Mike Milne

Discussion begins on Mideast report calling for limited boycott

Feature

August 2012

Day Three

By Mike Milne

Review of church operations and structure could lead to sweeping changes

Feature

August 2012

Day Two

By David Wilson and Mike Milne

Commissioners vote to change church crest and update doctrinal statements

Feature

August 2012

Day One

By Mike Milne

All eyes on Israel-Palestine report as commissioners descend on Ottawa

Feature

July 2012

General Council in focus

By Mike Milne

A report on the Middle East has been generating controversy ahead of the church’s national gathering

Feature

May 2012

Compassion for the persecuted?

By Mike Milne

Canada's new Office of Religious Freedom seems like a great idea. If only we knew what it was going to do.

Feature

October 2011

Interview with Linda McQuaig

By Mike Milne

Three years after the global financial meltdown, the co-author with Neil Brooks of “The Trouble with Billionaires” talks about how growing income inequality is changing Canada

Feature

July 2011

Location scouting

By Mike Milne

With its office lease about to expire, General Council is looking for a new space to call home

Feature

February 2011

Palestine’s ‘clear call to action’

By Mike Milne

A document circulating in the United Church opens a new chapter in the Middle East debate

Feature

September 2010

General Council lays off 16 staff

By Mike Milne

Youth and young adults portfolio is among the positions cut

Feature

July 2010

Survey: Predicting the future

By Mike Milne

Where will the church be in years to come? Depends who you ask.

Feature

July 2010

Researchers scour church archives to find records of students who died at Indian residential schools

By Mike Milne

Around 100,000 Aboriginal students attended about 130 residential schools over more than a century. It is now up to the TRC to remember them.

Feature

May 2010

A motherlode of debate

By Mike Milne

Should the church sell its stock in controversial mining firms, or press for change from within?

Arts Feature

February 2010

Common Wealth

By Mike Milne

Sachs shows that sustainable development is achievable

Feature

November 2009

Interview with Marie Wilson

By Mike Milne

One of three commissioners appointed to examine the legacy of the Indian residential school system talks about the monumental task ahead for the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Feature

October 2009

Boycott bid defeated amid fierce lobbying

By Mike Milne

Feature

August 2009

Mardi Tindal elected new United Church moderator (Friday, Aug. 14, 2009)

By Mike Milne

Feature

August 2009

Church backs away from Israel boycott (Thursday, Aug.13, 2009)

By Mike Milne

Feature

August 2009

Debate begins on controversial Middle East peace proposals (Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009)

By Mike Milne

Feature

August 2009

And then there were eight: two more moderator nominees (Sunday, Aug. 9, 2009)

By Mike Milne

Feature

August 2009

Smoke from B.C. fires and controversy over boycott proposal loom over start of General Council (Friday, Aug.7, 2009)

By Mike Milne

Feature

December 2008

Golden years, anxious times

By Mike Milne

A clergy-driven survey discovers that many ministers struggle with finances in retirement

Feature

October 2008

An epidemic of hunger

By Mike Milne

How to feed a world threatened by mass starvation? Those who have suffered the most may have the best answers.

Feature

May 2008

Reconciled to hard truths

By Mike Milne

Rebuffing accusations of genocide, churches join Aboriginal groups and Ottawa in an effort to account for children who died in residential schools

Feature

March 2008

The new kid in the coffee aisle

By Mike Milne

A two-part series on coffee and global justice concludes with a look at the impact of fair trade on Canadian consumers

Feature

February 2008

Coffee with a conscience

By Mike Milne

How the fairness gets into fair trade coffee

Feature

December 2007

What would Jesus drive?

By Mike Milne

U.S. evangelicals have jumped on the Earth-friendly bandwagon and transformed the political landscape

Feature

November 2007

Identity crisis

By Mike Milne

Cutbacks to United Church justice programs spark protest

Feature

October 2007

An ethical enigma called Afghanistan

By Mike Milne

It used to be that the United Church was almost automatically anti-war. Times have changed.

Feature

October 2007

The shadow side of nuclear energy

By Mike Milne

Nuclear energy promises lots of electricity with minimal greenhouse gases. Its waste `footprint' is a different matter, though.

Feature

September 2007

Changing priorities lead to big job cuts

By Mike Milne

Increased emphasis on congregations comes at the expense of justice work, critics say

Feature

April 2007

20 years after the United Church raised the rainbow flag, we are still talking about inclusion

By Mike Milne

The movement to welcome people of all sexual orientations into the United Church hits the quarter-century mark this year. While its numbers remain low, its influence is growing

Feature

January 2007

Inside Big Willow

By Mike Milne

Can liberal churches learn from the mother of all U.S. megachurches?

Feature

February 2006

Building new hope in Tamil Nadu

By Mike Milne

Feature

February 2004

With a full stomach and a growing mind

By Mike Milne

Feature

January 2004

Weaving the fabric of faith

By Mike Milne

Feature

January 2004

Part-time pastor, full-time job

By Mike Milne

Columns

(Photo: cuatrok77/Flickr via Creative Commons)

Cormorants aren't the devil

by Douglas Hunter

Ontario's proposed new measures amount to a slaughter of an entire native bird species for no scientifically compelling reason, says this writer

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Editorials

The United Church Observer's editor and publisher, Jocelyn Bell. (Photo: Lindsay Palmer)

The new name of 'The Observer' revealed!

by Jocelyn Bell

"United Church" will no longer be on the cover, but our commitment to sharing denominational news and perspectives remains the same

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Video

Meet beloved church cats Mable and Mouse

by Observer Staff

They're a fixture of Kirk United Church Centre in Edmonton.

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Society

February 2019

Marriage problems: Is the ancient tradition worth saving?

by Pieta Woolley

Bitterness and boredom seem to define many mid-life marriages, but we might not have to settle for apathy ever after

Ethics

February 2019

A Yukon artist and a Tlingit trapper create this stunning jewelry

by Amy van den Berg

The fur jewelry in Whitehorse boutique store V. Ægirsdóttir is creating a new possibility for future partnerships with the region's trappers

Columns

February 2019

Why white people need to stop asking, 'where are you from?'

by Mike Sholars

"...For all intents and purposes, Canada is the only home I really recognize or remember. But none of that matters if I look like I don’t belong, and that single question makes that abundantly clear every single time."

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