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Columns

Feature

November 2018

The United Church welcomes all — even atheist ministers

By Christopher Levan

Gretta Vosper is now free to lead her Toronto congregation after a settlement, and this minister and writer says that's a good thing.

Feature

November 2018

Are essential oils beneficial or just nicely scented hogwash?

By Anne Bokma

Anne Bokma looks at the booming industry of fragrant elixirs that promises to cure all that ails you.

Feature

November 2018

Anti-Semitism is why I’ll always be a proud Jewish atheist

By Joshua Ostroff

On the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, this Canadian Jew reflects on the ongoing hate that has helped define his identity.

Feature

October 2018

My faith compelled me to give up my morning Tim Hortons habit

By Brianna Bell

This writer says a nudging in her spirit persuaded her to come up with a different ritual.

Feature

October 2018

Why Christians need to take a stand against nationalism

By Michael Coren

If we truly believe the Gospel message, we have to condemn a worldview that expunges people's humanity, says this writer.

Feature

October 2018

Retirement allowed me to see that my life had value outside of work

By Paul Fraumeni

This writer loved his work — and working. But he had to heed an inner voice that told him he was done.

Feature

October 2018

I may not know the point of life, but I know what makes it meaningful

By Trisha Elliott

Merely pursuing happiness doesn't cut it, says this writer.

Feature

October 2018

Christians are divided on the legalization of pot

By Michael Coren

Many conservative evangelicals are opposed, this writer says, "because opposing is what they do."

Feature

October 2018

My Christian commune’s strict limits on media meant we missed out on something crucial

By Dave Canfield

This writer says the community's approach to media was too simplistic.

Feature

September 2018

I was sexually groomed as a child in the church, and now I’m speaking out about it

By Brianna Bell

This writer says there were no consequences for the youth pastor who preyed on her.

Feature

September 2018

How I fight loneliness as a senior with a disability

By Dorothy Palmer

This writer might not have The Golden Girls' lifestyle, but she’s making the best of her golden years.

Feature

September 2018

I learned to reconcile my Indigenous identity with my Christianity

By Zach Running Coyote

"I have met Jesus in the smoke of burning sage, the darkness and warmth of the sweat lodge, and the powwow drum, the heartbeat of Mother Earth."

Feature

September 2018

As a progressive Christian, I choose to embrace discomfort

By Zak McDonald

For writer Zak McDonald, identifying with that label also means learning to understand those who think differently.

Feature

September 2018

The healing power of a good cry

By Anne Simmonds

'Have you ever met an infant or a young child who does not cry? It is a normal, natural, pre-verbal response to discomfort, pain, sadness and anger. As we get older, we’re taught to mask our true feelings.'

Feature

September 2018

Trump is losing Christian support

By Michael Coren

'While the hard-core evangelicals will likely remain where they are but be less committed, moderately conservative Christians are thinking again.'

Feature

September 2018

Was Jesus the first reiki master?

By Anne Bokma

Some United churches are mixing this traditional Japanese technique into their ministries.

Feature

August 2018

Why marriage preparation classes should be mandatory

By Fiona Tapp

One happy recipient of such a course says they set a precedent for speaking openly about important issues in the future.

Feature

August 2018

My love of horror movies is not at odds with my love of God

By Dave Canfield

'Like many Christians in the late ‘80s, I went through a period of purging myself of secular pop culture.'

Feature

August 2018

Why we really need to retire the term 'PK'

By Brianna Bell

This mom and writer says it puts too much pressure on kids.

Feature

August 2018

I'm a support worker for those with intellectual disabilities, and that reminds people of things they're deeply afraid of

By Dave Canfield

This writer says others' responses to his line of work are telling.

Feature

August 2018

Why Canada’s first-ever minister for seniors is long overdue

By Julie Lalonde

A gerontologist says she hopes that a ministry dedicated to elder issues will mean that seniors finally have a voice in policy making.

Feature

August 2018

To those who said I'll only be respected as a minister because I'm pretty

By Aurora Coulthard

A young ministry student says Christians, both within and outside of the United Church, have discouraged her from following her call.

Feature

August 2018

Hey, United Church — we could have talked about my disability

By Colin Phillips

A moderator nominee says the majority of commissioners at General Council weren't comfortable enough to truly engage him.

Feature

August 2018

Trinity Western’s community covenant move has to be followed by meaningful change

By Jenna Tenn-Yuk

A queer Christian shares what she wants to see happen after the school made its controversial pledge optional for students.

Feature

July 2018

Martin Luther King Jr. was right

By Glynis Ratcliffe

Civil disobedience has been a powerful tool for activists through the decades, and can still be for Canadians looking to stand up against injustice.

Feature

July 2018

For me, the landmark United Church vote on sexual orientation came at a high personal cost

By Don Collett

"Justice was served at General Council. Yes. And harm was also done," says Rev. Don Collett.

Column

July 2018

A case for the secular Sabbath

By Anne Bokma

Advocates explain the benefits of unplugging and unwinding one day per week.

Feature

July 2018

My holy relationship with caffeine

By Dave Canfield

"I once witnessed an art intern brew a pot of drip coffee using Folgers Instant Crystals. The resulting brew almost led to a human sacrifice."

Feature

July 2018

I spent almost 30 years in a Christian commune. Now I’m figuring out my faith and life on the outside

By Dave Canfield

A writer and dad explores what it's like to start afresh after so many years in an enclosed community where he was handed all the answers.

Feature

July 2018

My ex-wife moved into the care home where Elizabeth Wettlaufer once worked

By Alex Mlynek

A former United Church minister reveals why he didn’t tell his onetime partner, who has dementia, about the connection. He spoke to Alex Mlynek.

Faith

Attendees at the Parliament of the World's Religions conference enjoy a simple langar lunch prepared by Toronto's Sikh community. (Photo: Will Pearson)

Interfaith conference illuminating, but those who needed it most weren't there

by Will Pearson

Observer editor Will Pearson learned a lot at the Parliament of the World's Religions gathering in Toronto, but wondered about its long-term impact.

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Editorials

Why we've decided to capitalize B for Black

by Jocelyn Bell

It may not be Canadian Press style, but it shows respect and recognizes a shared identity and experience among Black people.

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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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Faith

November 2018

The first Black moderator of the United Church faced racism that still resonates today

by Mugoli Samba

Very Rev. Wilbur Howard didn't speak about the discrimination he experienced in the church. Decades later, Black clergy are opening up about what is still a big problem.

Columns

November 2018

Anti-Semitism is why I’ll always be a proud Jewish atheist

by Joshua Ostroff

On the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, this Canadian Jew reflects on the ongoing hate that has helped define his identity.

Faith

November 2018

Interfaith conference illuminating, but those who needed it most weren't there

by Will Pearson

Observer editor Will Pearson learned a lot at the Parliament of the World's Religions gathering in Toronto, but wondered about its long-term impact.

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