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Faith

Feature

March 2014

Burning issue

By Pieta Woolley

Plans to turn a small B.C. island into a coal-shipping hub have divided locals. As the conflict heats up, designated lay minister Karen May preaches patient activism.

Feature

February 2014

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By Observer Staff

Feature

February 2014

The greatest story never told

By Samantha Rideout

At a time when belief plays a critical role in world affairs, religion reporting is being exiled to the margins of the mainstream media

Feature

February 2014

Christianity’s sleeping giant

By Alex Jürgen Thumm

Churches — both legal and illegal — are booming in China. Some view them as a welcome counterpoint to rampant materialism. Others see ghosts of a colonial past.

Feature

February 2014

The agitator

By Chantal Braganza

Rev. Cheri DiNovo gave up ministry for politics, but her mission never wavered. She’s still an outspoken champion for society’s most marginalized.

Feature

February 2014

Camels and karma

By Peter Johansen

A visit to one of India’s most sacred towns got off on the wrong foot for author Peter Johansen. But maybe there was a reason for his bad luck.

Feature

January 2014

Back in harm's way

By Emily Loewen

Refugee advocates say new laws could increase deportations — and cause a spike in claimants seeking church sanctuary

Feature

January 2014

Miracle man?

By Anne Hines

Curious to see if celebrity faith healer John of God is the real deal, a United Church minister joins hundreds of followers at a Toronto rally

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

Announcement

New Observer editor and CEO, Jocelyn Bell. Photo by Lindsay Palmer

New editor named

by Observer Staff

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Editorials

Jocelyn Bell%

Observations

by Jocelyn Bell

We’ll miss you, David Wilson

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Video

ObserverDocs: My Year of Living Spiritually

by Observer Staff

Anne Bokma left the Dutch Reformed Church as a young adult and eventually became a member of the United Church and then the Unitarian Universalists. Having long explored the "spiritual but not religious" demographic as a writer, she decided to immerse herself in practices — like hiring a soul coach, secular choir-singing and forest bathing — for 12 months to find both enlightenment and entertainment.

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Society

November 2017

Trump country

by David Macfarlane

A northern Alabama county voted almost unanimously for Donald Trump in 2016. One year later, the writer, together with photographer Nigel Dickson, travels there to try to understand why.

Faith

November 2017

Involuntary pilgrim

by David Giuliano

The return of a tumour sets David Giuliano on a path he calls his ‘Camino de Cancer’

Faith

October 2017

A tale of two cancers

by Catherine Gordon

One year after the writer discovered she had breast cancer, her sister in California received the same diagnosis. They both recovered, but their experiences were worlds apart.

Society

November 2017

Trump country

by David Macfarlane

A northern Alabama county voted almost unanimously for Donald Trump in 2016. One year later, the writer, together with photographer Nigel Dickson, travels there to try to understand why.

Faith

November 2017

Involuntary pilgrim

by David Giuliano

The return of a tumour sets David Giuliano on a path he calls his ‘Camino de Cancer’

Faith

November 2017

Grey matter

by Trisha Elliott

Is consciousness just a function of the brain — or something more?

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