Online Conversations

Sharing our learnings and our stories is important for our own growth and in helping others.  This spring, we are encouraging you to join these conversations, tell your story, and learn about amazing work that is happening across the country.

Each online conversation will have some panelists who are doing related work.  They will tell their story and where they are headed.  Then the facilitator will animate a group conversation with you! It is a great way to connect as a network across the country.

Please note, all times are listed in Eastern Time.  

(Newfoundland: +1.5h  |  Atlantic: +1h  |  Central: -1h  |  Mountain: -2h  |  Pacific: -3h)

Religious Nones

Wed October 3 @ 1pm

Joel Thiessen will share his story followed by a facilitated group discussion.

Religious nones – those who say they have no religion – represent one-quarter of Canadian adults and one-third of teens and young adults in Canada. Who they are, why they have grown, how do they view the world and religion/spirituality, and where are they going?

Showcased Speaker

Dr. Joel Thiessen is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Flourishing Congregations Institute at Ambrose University in Calgary, Alberta. Alongside his latest book, The Meaning of Sunday: The Practice of Belief in a Secular Age (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015), he is currently working on three collaborative projects. One centers on religious nones in North America, another on Millennials in Canada, and one on flourishing congregations in Canada. For more, see

Register Here

Family Ministry Wed

Wed October 24 @ 1pm

Russell Mitchell-Walker will share his story followed by a facilitated group discussion.

Family Ministry when Families don’t attend Worship
One of the present challenges of the church is that families are not attending church as much as they did in the past, and if they do, regular attendance is one in four Sundays.  How do we offer ministry with families in this context?  Join us for a conversation, learning from ideas and practices that have worked, some that haven’t.  We will share our common wisdom for next steps as we discern how to be church in this time and look toward reaching out to the unchurched in our church neighborhood.

Showcased Speaker

Russell Mitchell-Walker is a Diaconal Minister at Eastside United Church in Regina. He has over 30 years experience in children, youth and family ministry and is Program Chair for Skylight Festival, of Arts, Faith and Justice. He has been committed to exploring new ways of being church in our present culture and context for around the last 10 years, and has a Leadership in the New Parish Certificate from the Seattle School for Theology and Psychology.

Register Here

Homelessness and Poverty

Wed November 21 @ 1pm

Kathy Hogman will share her story followed by a facilitated group discussion.

“Doing What We Can’t”
In the last ten years West Kelowna has changed profoundly from a rural community to a city, and Westbank United has found itself in the core of the new city, addressing poverty, homelessness, addictions, and mental health issues.  Westbank United is an elderly congregation with approximately 80 household, and our capacity both in finances and volunteers is dwindling.  We asked ourselves, “what does God call us to do in this situation?”  Many of us fully expected the Divine response to be:  “Nothing – go in peace.”  Instead we heard a very different response.  How can we do what we know we cannot do?

Showcased Speaker

Ordained in 1984, Kathy Hogman has served congregations in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC.  Currently she is in West Kelowna, BC, serving Westbank United Church for the last 4 years.

Register Here

Churches as Community Hubs

Wed November 28 @ 1pm

Patti Rodgers will share her story followed by a facilitated group discussion.

Synopsis of Patti’s story:
It began with Deep, a weekly exploration of self and soul that is dubbed “church” by those who attend. It includes art, music, discussion on themes and meditation. As we listened to each other, we soon came to realize that there is a need for mental wellness resources in the community, so we obtained a grant from Edge and hosted workshops with healing themes. The Spirit has embraced us and inspired us to do even more. The entire pastoral charge developed a community mental wellness program that includes subsidized professional counselling, peer support, children’s programs and partnerships with community mental health agencies in the area. Today, Sunday morning worship is a small component of our mind-body-spirit approach to faith

Showcased Speaker

For 25 years Patti worked as a law clerk, primarily in family law and mediation. At the same time she was studying theology and active in the life and work of her home church. She served as a Licensed Lay Worship Leader in Simcoe Presbytery. In 2003 she took a short term contract in the Office of the Moderator and General Secretary as administration support to Cynthia Gunn and Kathy McDonald and moved from there to Support to Local Ministries and Aboriginal Ministries until commuting to Toronto got to her. In 2009 she started working for Toronto Conference as administrative support to Living Waters Presbyrery and entered the discerment process. She was not surprised that her call was to designated lay ministry and entered the program in 2012. She has served Tottenham Rich Hill pastoral charge ever since. She currently serves on the Governance Commission of Northern Waters Presbytery and as treasurer for the South Simcoe Refugee Committee. She has 3 children and 3 grandchildren that she loves to distraction!

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Reweaving theconnectional fabricthat makes us United.

Resources for new & renewing ministries,
whatever your situation or context.

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Embracing the Spirit

Embracing the Spirit is a new learning network and innovation fund. It aims to spur innovation, pilot new programs, support successful initiatives, create a learning network for faith communities, and support both new and renewing faith communities across the United Church of Canada.

Find out how you can be part of Embracing the Spirit.