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Society

Feature

May 2014

The perils of redevelopment

By John Barber

So you have a new mission and big plans for your church building. Brace yourself. The road ahead could be rocky

Feature

April 2014

Decoding a world of religion

By Cory Ruf

What role does faith play in the rise and fall of civilizations? A major study led by two British Columbia universities aims to find out.

Feature

April 2014

Dwindling donors, deeper pockets

By Kevin Spurgaitis

Canadians do care. But fewer are putting their money where their hearts are.

Feature

March 2014

Being there

By Various Writers

Stories of illness and companionship

Feature

March 2014

Communes get a modern makeover

By Anne Bokma

A 1960s ideal gets an update for grownups — cohousing projects designed for living in close quarters.

Feature

March 2014

A Canadian genocide?

By Larry Krotz

A new museum in Winnipeg has become a flashpoint for how we interpret this country’s treatment of First Nations

Feature

March 2014

The ring-tailed devil

By Trisha Elliott

All God’s creatures are sacred — except one

Feature

February 2014

Through the cracks

By Kevin Spurgaitis

Community living offers hope to people with developmental disabilities, but troubling gaps remain. Just ask Chris Stafford.

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

January 2014

Four years, 9 months

By Jocelyn Bell

A journey through infertility

Feature

January 2014

A sorry spectacle

By Christopher Levan

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford asked us to forgive and forget. Regrettably, forgiveness doesn’t come that easily.

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

All work and no pay

By Chelsea Temple Jones

Internships are supposed to kick-start careers. But increasingly, young people find themselves used by a succession of employers mainly concerned with getting work done on the cheap.

Feature

October 2013

Malignant metaphor

By Alanna Mitchell

How cancer mutated into a modern symbol of personal and collective sin

Feature

October 2013

A new chapter in an old tragedy

By Pieta Woolley

Generations ago, Aboriginal children were sent to residential schools. Today, thousands are caught up in the foster care system. Can’t Canada do better?

Feature

October 2013

Wronged

By Gary Stephen Ross

Ivan Henry spent 27 years in jail for crimes he didn’t commit. But the failure of the justice system did not end when he was finally declared not guilty.

Feature

September 2013

Did Canadian oil poison this town?

By May Warren

Last spring, a pipeline carrying diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands ruptured in a small Arkansas town. People began to get sick. And now they want answers.

Feature

September 2013

Government’s big gamble

By Orland French

When politicians debate casinos, money almost always trumps morals. By failing to raise ethical issues, they’re betting against our best interests.

Feature

July 2013

Three LGBTQ people explain what the United Church's 1988 decision meant to them

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

July 2013

Hard time on the outside

By Richard Wright

Billions are spent getting tough on crime, but precious little is invested in supporting ex-convicts as they readjust to daily life. For too many former inmates, getting out of prison is like serving another sentence.

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

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

The ugly Internet

By Kasia Mychajlowycz

Online misogyny is running rampant. Critics say that hate is hate, whether it’s expressed on the street corner or in cyberspace.

Feature

April 2013

Owning land is a Canadian right—unless you live on a reserve

By Richard Wright

One First Nation in British Columbia is rewriting the rules to land ownership. Will property rights for Aboriginals bring prosperity or assimilation?

Feature

March 2013

Living a miracle

By Bill Millar

Kristin Millar was 26 and an aspiring actor when her heart stopped. Her father, a minister, says it was the worst thing that ever happened to their family. And the best.

Feature

March 2013

Embracing our Aboriginal sisters

By Julie McGonegal

Colonizers targeted Indigenous women by undermining their leadership and stealing their children. Perhaps it's time to recover the power and potential of Aboriginal women

Feature

February 2013

The other survivors

By Pieta Woolley

Former students are not the only victims of residential schools. Their children — and their children’s children — also bear the scars of broken families and shattered communities.

Feature

February 2013

Something about bears

By Therese DesCamp

They’re unpredictable. They’re nuisances. And they can be deadly. But our encounters with bears can also inspire the wildest kind of love.

Feature

February 2013

An ill wind

By Lisa Van de Ven

The Dutch were among the first to embrace the green promise of turbines. Now they’re having second thoughts. Has wind energy lost its momentum?

Feature

February 2013

“Our life was the picture of normal until Terry came out”

By Trisha Elliott

Terry and Anne Wood had a normal married life. All of that changed when Terry, a lay minister, realized he was a woman trapped in a man’s body.

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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