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Faith

Feature

December 2013

Here comes controversy

By Anne Bokma

Some churches slip St. Nick into the Christmas Eve service, while others bar him at the door. Grab an eggnog and decide for yourself: Is Santa Claus naughty or nice?

Feature

December 2013

The gospel of secularism

By Samantha Rideout

Quebec’s charter of values is more than a ban on religious symbols. It’s a direct challenge to the place of faith in the public sphere.

Feature

December 2013

Stars of wonder

By Sam Wilson

The night sky above the Atacama Desert in Chile blurs the line between the heavens and earth

Feature

December 2013

The Program

By Larry Krotz

A nine-year-old boy hopes for one thing only at the Sunday school Christmas pageant: please let something go wrong

Feature

December 2013

Into the heart of holiness

By Gary Paterson

It’s Christmas Eve. The tree is up, the presents wrapped, but still you feel restless. The glow from a nearby church beckons. What will you find?

Feature

October 2013

Beyond belief

By Observer Staff

Ministers losing their religion? It happens. Some end up leaving the church. A few try to change it from within. The Observer explores the issue in three parts.

Feature

October 2013

Malignant metaphor

By Alanna Mitchell

How cancer mutated into a modern symbol of personal and collective sin

Feature

October 2013

A faith maligned

By Trisha Elliott

Christian colonizers discredited ‘voodoo’ as a deviant sect filled with pin-pricked dolls, zombies and curses. But these colonial caricatures bear scant resemblance to the Haitian Vodou practised today.

Feature

October 2013

The land of too much history

By Larry Krotz

Following in the footsteps of Jesus doesn’t have to mean closing your eyes to the complexities of the Holy Land

Feature

September 2013

United to the core

By Samantha Rideout

Feature

September 2013

Quality leaders, inspired supporters

By Samantha Rideout

Feature

September 2013

Worship that connects

By Samantha Rideout

Feature

September 2013

Rethinking the real estate

By Samantha Rideout

Feature

September 2013

About those empty pews

By Samantha Rideout

Feature

September 2013

Imagine your church in 2025

By Observer Staff

You have no illusions about the future. But this year’s Observer survey results show you’re cautiously hopeful and open to change.

Feature

July 2013

1988

By Various Writers

Twenty-five years ago, the United Church said yes to openly gay and lesbian ministers. Three people who were caught in the storm look back on the year that changed everything.

Feature

June 2013

The mediums are the message

By Anne Bokma

A skeptical writer visits the spiritualist haven of Lily Dale, N.Y., where communing with the dead is the town’s claim to fame

Feature

June 2013

The right kind of trouble

By Mardi Tindal

Being the United Church can sometimes get uncomfortable. The former moderator reflects on the risks and rewards of public witness.

Feature

May 2013

Death. It’s inevitable. So let’s talk about it.

By Trisha Elliott

It’s natural to be anxious about dying. But facing up to our mortality can help us live better today.

Feature

May 2013

Remote connection

By Tim Johnson

In the age of Skype, Facebook and Twitter, finding a real retreat can be an (almost) impossible challenge

Feature

April 2013

The United Church diaspora

By Christine Boyle

They don’t attend worship anymore, but countless young adults are living out the values they absorbed in church

Feature

April 2013

Sweet soul music

By Vivien Fellegi

New research shows that raising your voice in song can help lift the fog of depression

Feature

March 2013

The Upper Room

By Gary Paterson

An Easter message from the moderator, Rt. Rev. Gary Paterson

Feature

March 2013

Living a miracle

By Bill Millar

Kristin Millar was 26 and an aspiring actor when her heart stopped. Her father, a minister, says it was the worst thing that ever happened to their family. And the best.

Feature

February 2013

Becoming Ruth Wood

By Trisha Elliott

Terry and Anne Wood had a normal married life. All of that changed when Terry, a lay minister, realized he was a woman trapped in a man’s body.

Feature

February 2013

Korea’s great divide

By Tim Johnson

Travel writer Tim Johnson tries to make sense of the world’s most complicated peninsula

Feature

January 2013

Refuge on Bloor Street

By Chantal Braganza

A Toronto church welcomes an influx of refugees fleeing poverty and repression in North Korea

Feature

January 2013

The passage of rites

By Larry Krotz

Secular ceremonies are becoming more elaborate all the time. Are they filling a need that used to be satisfied in church?

Feature

January 2013

Full stomachs, empty souls

By Pieta Woolley

Studies suggest obesity is a problem in churches. Liberal Christians may scoff at the evangelical diet craze, but perhaps they’re on to something.

Feature

December 2012

Christmas after all

By Various Writers

Admit it: Christmas can be a trying time. Five writers search for the holiness at the heart of the season.

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Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

Enclaves of the elderly

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Video

ObserverDocs: A shoulder to lean on

by Observer Staff

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.

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Faith

January 2017

Presbytery turns down bid to halt Vosper hearing

by Mike Milne

World

February 2017

Many faces, one humanity

by Wade Davis

The words and photographs of the Canadian author and explorer capture the richness — and fragility — of global cultures and rituals

Society

February 2017

An anatomy of hate

by Douglas Tindal

It’s on the rise everywhere. The writer explores our most troubling emotion and asks how we might overcome it.

World

February 2017

Many faces, one humanity

by Wade Davis

The words and photographs of the Canadian author and explorer capture the richness — and fragility — of global cultures and rituals

Society

January 2017

The new agrarians

by Lois Ross

In the next 15 years, almost half of Canadian farms will change hands. Meet seven millennials who view agriculture as a career — and moral calling.

Faith

March 2016

The Walrus Talks Spirituality

by Observer Staff

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