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Society

Feature

June 2015

Ending a marriage is tough. Imagine what it’s like when you’re a minister.

By Trisha Elliott

"There’s not only the fishbowl of congregational life to contend with, but also the real or self-imposed holier-than-thou expectations that somehow ministers ought to be immune to marital dysfunction"

Feature

May 2015

Confronting the unbelievers

By Mike Milne

Reaction against a minister who came out as an atheist was swift and blunt. But questions persist about how to deal with clergy who no longer believe.

Feature

May 2015

How one group of women stood up to Bill Cosby by disrupting him on stage

By Anne Bokma

I wasn't amused when comedian Bill Cosby came to town amid fresh allegations of sexual assault. So I and 30 others planned our own stand-up moment.

Feature

May 2015

Forever young

By Larry Krotz

Researchers are using cutting-edge science in a quest to defy mortality. How far should they go?

Feature

May 2015

Men, not monsters

By John Barber

Offenders labelled 'NCR: Not Criminally Responsible’ are often judged to be beyond redemption. Documentary filmmaker John Kastner offers a different take and is transforming public opinion.

Feature

April 2015

Why kicking carbon makes dollars and sense

By Alanna Mitchell

Giving up fossil fuels will not only save life on Earth — it will also save us money

Feature

April 2015

Sixties Scoop survivors explain the impact of family separation

By Anne Bokma

From the 1960s to the ’80s, some 20,000 Aboriginal children were removed from their homes and placed with non-Native families. Now adults, many want redress for the loss of cultural identity.

Feature

March 2015

Extreme downsizing

By Anne Bokma

For tiny house enthusiasts, sometimes less is more

Feature

March 2015

A sanctuary of their own

By Luc Rinaldi

A Toronto congregation is providing space for two female priests to do what Catholics won’t allow: lead worship

Feature

March 2015

Teenage Stephen Harper grappled with God, remembers his confirmation class teacher

By Tim Johnson

Feature

March 2015

The perils of too much certainty

By Larry Krotz

Once a top poet and bureaucrat, Duncan Campbell Scott is today a pariah for his policies of assimilation. What will be our own generation’s shame?

Feature

March 2015

5 hard truths of where United Church congregations fall short

By Trisha Elliott

Care to talk about tithing? How about evangelism? The author confronts the church’s taboos.

Special Feature

March 2015

Beyond Ferguson

By Alicia von Stamwitz

Did Michael Brown’s shooting death in Missouri last August reawaken the civil rights movement?

Feature

March 2015

Rainbow refugees

By Marc Colbourne

Persecuted in their home countries, LGBT asylum seekers hope for a safe haven in Canada — but it’s getting harder for them to gain entry

Feature

February 2015

The unlikely ascent of Kathleen Wynne

By John Barber

Ontario’s first female premier has surmounted barriers all her life. But she’s never strayed far from her United Church roots.

Feature

February 2015

With this ring, I thee divorce

By Anne Bokma

Separation doesn't have to be adversarial. Some couples are seeking more meaningful ways to untie the knot.

Feature

February 2015

Little bundles of good

By Drew Halfnight

New research suggests that infants are ethical right from the cradle

Feature

January 2015

A family like any other

By Sonya Corbin Dwyer

Author Sonya Corbin Dwyer is as much a mother to her daughters as any biological parent. So why do people keep asking, ‘Where are they from?’

Feature

January 2015

Small print, big stakes

By Luc Rinaldi

Here’s one lesson they’re not teaching in Ontario’s Catholic secondary schools: The law says you don’t actually have to study religion

Feature

January 2015

Unravelling the mysteries of prayer

By Trisha Elliott

New research suggests that praying really can transform you — starting with your brain

Feature

December 2014

Canada has a hidden literacy crisis

By Krystina Mierins

A recent study revealed that almost half of Canadian adults don’t read very well. So why has the federal government cut its support for literacy organizations?

Feature

September 2014

Observer Survey 2014 : Part Two

By Samantha Rideout

Canadians don't know much about The United Church of Canada, according to our survey results.

Feature

September 2014

Sore point

By Alison Shouldice

Despite doctors’ urgings, growing numbers of Canadian parents refuse to vaccinate their children. Who should be calling the shots?

Feature

September 2014

Wage wars

By Susan Peters

As the pay gap between executives and employees widens, advocates for corporate responsibility say it’s time to take the air out of inflated salaries

Feature

July 2014

The dissenters

By David Berlin

Independent Jewish Voices operates on the margins of Canadian Judaism. But it has found common cause with church groups critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Feature

July 2014

Debunking the human myth

By Alanna Mitchell

Science is blurring the lines between humans and other species. Maybe we’re not the pinnacle of Creation after all.

Feature

July 2014

Older and wiser

By Paul Knowles

New research confirms what we’ve always suspected: people grow more astute as they age. We’d be smart to take advantage of their wisdom.

Feature

June 2014

Observer Survey 2014

By Observer Staff

What do Canadians think about organized religion?

Feature

June 2014

The communitarians

By Anne Bokma

What happens when 100 people move out of the mainstream and attempt to create their own private utopia?

Feature

June 2014

Playing God?

By John Barber

A little-known Ontario panel routinely makes live-or-die decisions for gravely ill patients. As the population ages, other jurisdictions would do well to study how the panel navigates end-of-life ethics.

Columns

(Photo: cuatrok77/Flickr via Creative Commons)

Cormorants aren't the devil

by Douglas Hunter

Ontario's proposed new measures amount to a slaughter of an entire native bird species for no scientifically compelling reason, says this writer

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Editorials

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

The new name of 'The Observer' revealed!

by Jocelyn Bell

"United Church" will no longer be on the cover, but our commitment to sharing denominational news and perspectives remains the same

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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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