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Columns

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

I hit 'refresh' on my marriage

By Jackie Gillard

A writer explains why she and her husband chose each other, instead of divorce, which "often seemed the easiest solution."

Feature

July 2018

20-year-old sex-ed curriculum will not help our kids today

By Glynis Ratcliffe

Using outdated material is basically leaving the job of sexual education in the hands of other children and the internet, says this parent.

Feature

July 2018

Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum reversal denies LGBTQ children their rights and safety

By Cheri DiNovo

A United Church minister and former MPP thinks opposition to the curriculum is rooted in an opposition to LGBTQ rights.

Feature

June 2018

The moment the Pope asked me to pray for him

By Miriam Spies

A United Church minister on the impact of a simple gesture from a powerful man.

Feature

June 2018

Is the Bible true?

By Jane Dawson

There are many rewarding ways of thinking about the truths of the Bible.

Feature

June 2018

I hate you, Canada, for teaching people to treat me like this under your name

By Zach Running Coyote

A Cree actor says he blames our country for the racist comments recently directed at him in a McDonald's restaurant.

Feature

June 2018

What I learned while caring for the dying

By Colleen Friesen

There is an idea in Celtic Christianity called “thin place,” when the membrane between this world and whatever lies beyond is an almost transparent veil.

Feature

June 2018

Queer Christians like me were left out of Trinity Western law school debate

By Jenna Tenn-Yuk

"Since the law school was proposed in 2012, the media has consistently framed this discussion as religious freedom versus LGBTQ+ rights. This limited argument completely erased my identity as a queer Christian."

Feature

May 2018

On grief and the healing power of gardening

By Paul Fraumeni

A writer reflects on how growing tomatoes is helping him find peace while dealing with the loss of loved ones, including his son.

Column

May 2018

Wrestling and other amazing ways to repurpose your church

By Pieta Woolley

Some church buildings go to sleep from Monday to Friday. But elsewhere, the steepled husks moonlight as kooky and political community hubs. Here are our favourite ideas.

Feature

May 2018

How a church-goer with schizophrenia gave this minister an unexpected gift

By Sue Campbell

Column

April 2018

Christians need to take risks and ‘be the church’

By Shawn Ankenmann

Column

April 2018

Humboldt: Brody Hinz's life taught us important lessons

By Deanna Robertson

Column

April 2018

Why Canada needs a free-range parenting law

By Pieta Woolley

Blog Entry

April 2018

Don’t be too quick to dismiss Fair Trade

By Shawn Ankenmann

Skeptical about Fair Trade? A coffee shop owner explains why it’s so important.

Feature

April 2018

Yes, a swan parade actually exists

By Keith Reynolds

For 28 years in Stratford, Ont., swans have paraded through the streets on the first weekend of April, waddling from their winter pens to the banks of the Avon River.

Feature

April 2018

Why inaction is the devil we should actually fear

By Christopher Levan

"We miss the fact that the real devil in our society is how so many allow evil to happen. The devil is not in our action but in our inaction."

Feature

April 2018

Float tank benefits: Does this therapy actually help?

By Anne Bokma

Flotation tanks cut off the outside world and offer an inner immersion.

Feature

March 2018

My transcendent Easter experience singing along to Jesus Christ Super Star

By Christina Paradela

Singing the lyrics of songs that profoundly matter to me, not knowing if they mattered to the people beside me, was a bit unsettling.

Column

March 2018

The real reason church camps are doomed

By Pieta Woolley

It’s not a lack of faith that’s killing Christian overnight camps. The actual problem is much more pedestrian – and completely fixable.

Column

March 2018

Mindful travel is the hottest tourism trend

By Anne Bokma

Find out why travellers are replacing “sun, sand and sex” with “serenity, sustainability and spirituality.”

Feature

February 2018

‘Thoughts and prayers’ now have a bad rap, thanks to U.S. politicians

By Jackie Gillard

Column

February 2018

Men, this common reaction to sexual assault actually makes things worse

By Michael Sholars

Column

February 2018

Gerald Stanley trial proves Canadians still fear 'Indians'

By Robert Jago

Column

February 2018

Conundrums

By Sara Jewell

Christian or Jesus follower?

Column

February 2018

Sexism and the spiritual but not religious movement

By Anne Bokma

Today’s SBNRs are mostly female. Could that be why they aren’t taken seriously?

Blog Entry

January 2018

Powerful Ursula K. Le Guin speech remains relevant 35 years later

By Ursula K. Le Guin

Blog Entry

January 2018

What is the purpose of baptism?

By Jackie Gillard

With no strong ties to a particular religion or church, one mom explains why she still decided to have her daughter baptized

Column

January 2018

Tim Hortons protest: It's time to ditch the 'double-double'

By Shawn Ankenmann

A small coffee shop owner explains why Timmies is not a Canadian icon

Faith

The author is baptized at Central United in Calgary. (Photo courtesy of Al Coe)

Why I got baptized in a United Church at the age of 42

by Jacqueline Mercer-Livesey

"I told myself that I didn’t need to go to church to believe in God. I found peace and the Holy Spirit in the things that surrounded me. But still, there was a nagging sense of something missing."

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Observations

Editor/Publisher of The Observer, Jocelyn Bell.

Observations: The rewards of letting go

by Jocelyn Bell

Editor Jocelyn Bell reflects on the upcoming changes for The United Church of Canada, the magazine and in her own life.

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Video

ObserverDocs: Two nurses tackle Vancouver's opioid crisis

Richard Moore is a resident of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. In this poignant interview, he explains the important work of nurses Evanna Brennan and Susan Giles.

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Columns

June 2018

The moment the Pope asked me to pray for him

by Miriam Spies

A United Church minister on the impact of a simple gesture from a powerful man.

Society

July 2018

Best self-care tips for caregivers

by Kate Spencer

Counsellors, teachers and ministers share what it looks like for them.

Faith

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.

Faith

July 2018

A fond farewell to presbyteries

by Steven Chambers

They will likely be eliminated this year as the United Church restructures. Steven Chambers celebrates the end of an era.

Society

July 2018

Instead of retirement, these two nurses are battling Vancouver's opioid crisis

by Roberta Staley

At age 71 and 65 respectively, Evanna Brennan and Susan Giles embrace their unconventional work in the Downtown Eastside.

Columns

June 2018

I hate you, Canada, for teaching people to treat me like this under your name

by Zach Running Coyote

A Cree actor says he blames our country for the racist comments recently directed at him in a McDonald's restaurant.

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