Your church’s Sunday school is on the rebound. Another new student arrives in your classroom. She’s a troubled foster child with a history of being expelled from school and bounced from home to home. Despite your efforts to help her integrate, she is becoming increasingly disruptive. Other children have stopped coming. What do you do?
A wealthy member of the congregation where you are a minister plans a gift that will sustain the church for many years. There’s a catch: he wants you to cancel “Spirituality and Suds” pub nights that are popular with young adults from the church and the community. Do you turn off the tap?
The fire inspector has ordered some costly upgrades at the financially struggling church where you work as an administrator. A parishioner who has been unemployed for several months offers to do the work at a good price. But he wants to be paid in cash so his employment insurance benefits aren’t affected. Do you agree?
A close friend tells you about the new man in her life. You’re a receptionist in a law office where he is a client. From office gossip you’ve heard the man has a past history of domestic violence. You know the rules about lawyer-client confidentiality, but your conscience says you should warn your friend. Do you?
You are an independent taxi driver. One morning, you back out of the driveway into the side of an illegally parked FedEx van. No one sees it happen. Your car is okay but the van is clearly damaged. You now risk losing your cab due to skyrocketing insurance rates. Do you report the mishap?
A colleague has gone on short-term disability following the flare-up of an old back injury. You are both in the running for the same promotion, one that you feel you deserve and one that you need so you can make ends meet. One day you spot your colleague zipping down the ski hill. What do you do?
Your church gym helps keep local youngsters healthy and off the streets. It badly needs refurbishing, and your church has no money. A sporting goods merchant offers $10,000 but wants a small sign advertising his store displayed somewhere in the gym. Do you accept?
You have recently remarried. Although you have custody of your children, they remain very close to their father. Christmas is looming, and you know he is alone. The kids desperately want him to be part of your celebrations. Your new partner is decidedly less enthusiastic. What do you do?
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.
Founded in 1829, The United Church Observer is the oldest continuously published magazine in North America and the second oldest in the English speaking world. It has won international acclaim for journalistic excellence and garnered more awards for writing than any other Canadian religious publication. Read more...
Editor/Publisher: Jocelyn Bell
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