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Faith

Feature

January 2019

I watched my church become a pile of rubble and it gave me hope

By Lori-Ann Livingston

The author says she mourned the historic, beautiful building, but witnessing its destruction reminded her that the church is really the people.

Special Feature

January 2019

Former fundamentalists describe the trauma of leaving their faith

By Anne Bokma

At a weekend retreat, participants find the strength to reclaim their lives.

Feature

January 2019

Tlingit minister sees right relations as 'everybody’s story'

By Joe Kadi

As a biracial woman, Rev. Lee Spice brings a unique perspective to ministry.

Feature

December 2018

Ontario church cares for creation by keeping bees

By Will Pearson

“As a faith community, if we don’t look after the planet, we’re missing something,” says one beekeeper and church member.

Feature

December 2018

''Twas the Night Before Christmas', reimagined

By Richard Bott

Moderator Richard Bott gives the holiday tale a whole new meaning with this story.

Feature

December 2018

Huron Carol takes on a whole new meaning with these lyrics

By Emma Prestwich

The Christmas service mainstay has been beautifully reinvented by a Toronto choir director.

Feature

December 2018

My church's Christmas pageant featured two Marys

By Sue Campbell

We had recently heard about homophobic graffiti spraypainted on walls and sidewalks at two nearby United churches.

Feature

December 2018

Life-sized Advent calendars and other creative ways churches are celebrating Christmas

By Emma Prestwich

These congregations are delighting their communities with these fun events.

Special Feature

December 2018

The complex history of the Huron Carol

By Will Pearson

A product of 17th-century Jesuit missionaries, the popular hymn was written to introduce the Wendat people to Christianity. The Observer explores its troubled origins and continued use today.

Feature

November 2018

The one thing you've still got time for this Christmas season

By The Philanthropy Unit of The United Church of Canada

Donations to the United Church of Canada go to support mission and ministry around the world.

Feature

November 2018

Calgary church offers caffeine fix

By Mario Toneguzzi

Knox United Church now has a café with free WiFi in its sanctuary.

Feature

November 2018

Japanese congregation to receive $500K for church lost after internment

By Emma Prestwich

The members of Vancouver Japanese United never received a cent from the sale of their property after the Second World War.

Feature

November 2018

Author believes Revelation has something to teach progressive Christians

By Emma Prestwich

Donald Schmidt wants to redeem the final book of the Bible with his new study guide.

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.

Special Feature

November 2018

3 transgender Canadians share the personal journeys that shaped their faith

By Erica Lenti

“I really do think it’s part of the nature of transition, when we’re doing some serious examination of what is right in our own lives, that leads us to a reflection on [what] God and faith and religious practice means.”

Feature

November 2018

Ontario youth leader kicked out of Baptist church over same-sex relationship

By Amy van den Berg

Kimberley Mills has been told she can still come to a service, but can no longer be part of the work of the church community.

Feature

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.

Feature

November 2018

Gretta Vosper decision released

By Emma Prestwich

Toronto Conference, Vosper and West Hill United Church released a short statement on the hearing.

Feature

November 2018

Gender bias on Wikipedia: Why notable women in religion are missing on the site

By Emma Prestwich

"There have been women who have been in leadership roles, but we haven’t written about them."

Feature

November 2018

'We're bonded by faith': supporters gather to make 'ring of peace' at Toronto synagogue

By Amy van den Berg

The gesture of solidarity came a week after a shooting in Pittsburgh that left 11 people dead.

Feature

November 2018

Symbiosis: a way to give that benefits you and your congregation

By United Church of Canada Foundation Staff

By making a gift of securities, one woman was able to reduce her income tax while helping others.

Special Feature

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.

Feature

October 2018

Author of 'I Kissed Dating Goodbye' tells publisher to stop printing it

By Emma Prestwich

"I regret any way that my ideas restricted you, hurt you, or gave you a less-than-biblical view of yourself," he said to his readers.

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

Experience the Passion: Oberammergau 2020

By Craig Travel

Once every decade, an extraordinary event takes place in the small German village of Oberammergau. Based on a long-standing vow, the villagers come together to enact the life and passion of Jesus Christ through the Passion Play.

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

Reincarnation therapy? Why some think accessing past lives may heal your present

By Anne Bokma

Past-life regression therapy—revisiting previous lives with the help of a hypnotist—is growing in popularity. But what does it involve?

Feature

October 2018

My church was literally dying, until we returned to prayer and confession

By Connie denBok

"No magic formulas. Just grace emerging through weakness."

Feature

September 2018

The spirituality of my last period

By Anne Bokma

"Having my period made me feel connected to the mysterious ebb and flow of life."

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."

Editorials

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Editorials

The Observer has a bright future ahead

by Jocelyn Bell

Change is as vital to the publication's history as our founding Christian values are to our future, says editor and publisher Jocelyn Bell.

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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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Ethics

January 2019

Where to donate your unwanted stuff so it actually goes to those who need it

by Glynis Ratcliffe

It may be tempting when you declutter to just drop off all your items at Value Village, but sticking with local organizations is a better option.

Faith

January 2019

Former fundamentalists describe the trauma of leaving their faith

by Anne Bokma

At a weekend retreat, participants find the strength to reclaim their lives.

Columns

January 2019

I worry the United Church doesn't want evangelicals like me

by Marilyn Myhre

While the church community says it accepts everyone, one woman wonders if that is still true.

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