You are a minister. A parishioner who suffers from physical ailments and depression comes to you with joyous news about how a local faith healer has miraculously cured some of her symptoms. You have deep suspicions about the faith healer and fear the parishioner’s long-term well-being is at risk. What do you do?
You run the only substance abuse clinic in your region. One day a new client arrives. He’s your wife’s boss, whose erratic ways have been making her life so miserable that she’s decided to quit her job at the end of the month. Is this a case for breaking client confidentiality?
With the encouragement of your spouses, you and your best friend decide to vacation in Cuba together. One night at a salsa club, your friend meets an attractive local and the sparks begin to fly. You can see where this might lead and how you might be caught in the middle. Do you intervene?
Your widowed and ailing mother is thinking about selling her house and moving into a seniors’ complex. Suddenly your wayward 45-year-old brother shows up. Mom is overjoyed that he’s come home to care for her, but you suspect the motive is really money and real estate. What do you do?
Your childhood best friend from next door has died of a drug overdose on the streets of a faraway city. Her estranged brother, who still lives next door, is her only surviving relative. He cut ties with her long ago and won’t consider a proper funeral. You feel she deserves one. Do you arrange it anyway?
Your 19-year-old son confides to you that his girlfriend is secretly bulimic. In sharing this news, he acknowledges he has broken a trust with his girlfriend and swears you to secrecy. You and the girlfriend’s mother have become good friends; you see each other at choir practice and at church on Sundays. 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
Managing Editor (Print and digital): Kristy Woudstra