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Faith

Feature

February 2019

Celebrity megachurches need to clarify LGBTQ acceptance: pastor

By Emma Prestwich

Zoe Church, where actor Chris Pratt worships, may not truly "open their doors" to everyone, like he claims.

Feature

February 2019

Soprano retires from church choir after 90 years

By Mike Milne

Betty Empringham is also a talented pianist.

Feature

February 2019

Artistic hope and healing

By The Philanthropy Unit of The United Church of Canada

Your support through Gifts with Vision helps build community and celebrate valuable but often marginalized voices in Saskatoon.

Feature

February 2019

This Canadian university campus is struggling to create enough space for students of faith

By Maria Iqbal

Multi-faith centres are in such high demand that one school is struggling to accommodate everyone

Feature

January 2019

My Christian faith is an ecumenical mosaic

By Brianna Bell

The writer says wildly different traditions are part of her identity.

Feature

January 2019

This mid-week practice deepens my congregation’s faith

By John Pentland

One minister wonders why the church can't be the place where people find ways to nurture their souls.

Feature

January 2019

The United Church is going through some big changes. Here's what you need to know

By Mike Milne

'There are important relationships to develop, and that can’t be done overnight.'

Feature

January 2019

Why I left the United Church to become a Roman Catholic

By Deirdre Pike

"While it's true I left a church that may have ordained me, I am grateful I joined a church that has sustained me."

Feature

January 2019

How your donation can make a real difference

By United Church of Canada Foundation Staff

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.”

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.

Faith

Chris Pratt's church, while claiming to accept everyone, states in its doctrine of faith that marriage should only be between one man and one woman. (Photo: Chris Pratt/Instagram)

Celebrity megachurches need to clarify LGBTQ acceptance: pastor

by Emma Prestwich

Zoe Church, where actor Chris Pratt worships, may not truly "open their doors" to everyone, like he claims.

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Editorials

The United Church Observer's editor and publisher, Jocelyn Bell. (Photo: Lindsay Palmer)

'The Observer' will soon relaunch with a new name and design

by Jocelyn Bell

Our magazine will be going through some changes, but we see blue skies ahead

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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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Society

February 2019

Marriage problems: Is the ancient tradition worth saving?

by Pieta Woolley

Bitterness and boredom seem to define many mid-life marriages, but we might not have to settle for apathy ever after

Ethics

February 2019

A Yukon artist and a Tlingit trapper create this stunning jewelry

by Amy van den Berg

The fur jewelry in Whitehorse boutique store V. Ægirsdóttir is creating a new possibility for future partnerships with the region's trappers

Columns

February 2019

Why white people need to stop asking, 'where are you from?'

by Mike Sholars

"...For all intents and purposes, Canada is the only home I really recognize or remember. But none of that matters if I look like I don’t belong, and that single question makes that abundantly clear every single time."

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