Agreeing with Michael Coren. Sort of.

Pope Francis. A pope loved by the people. (ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Pope Francis. A pope loved by the people. (ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Christianity could address political chaos

It is a rare occasion that I agree with Michael Coren but I do think he is bang on in this Toronto Star article, Perfect time for the church to… Continue Reading…

Post-theistic Resources for Year A Anyone?

Interested in post-theistic resources but still using the Revised Common Lectionary?

I am looking for five to ten colleagues who may wish to work with post-theistic resources over the course of Year A. I began to create these resources at the beginning of Advent in 2014 using the next year’s texts, Year C of the Revised Common Lectionary, as my starting point. My review by the United Church, however, got in the way and I never completed the year. This past Advent,… Continue Reading…

A letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Events in the United States have triggered conversations here in Canada and will require responses on a growing number of fronts. I’m sharing a letter here that addresses two issues raised in the first couple of days after the election of Donald Trump: the possible overturning of President Obama’s refusal to continue with the Keystone pipeline project and the likelihood that Trump, as President of the United States, will reject the Paris Climate agreements.

International Boun Continue Reading…

Trentham: A Hymn for My American Friends

An election night like no other

The night ended late. Scott and I stumbled to bed after too many hours of the American election and hearts that were heavy with the result. We weren’t shocked. Not as shocked as some. Perhaps watching it unfold from this northern vantage point had already scared us more than those steeped within the polls and election rhetoric. No, we weren’t shocked. But we were deeply, deeply saddened about the choice that has been made for… Continue Reading…

Colleague asks to be defrocked

Queen's Theological Hall

Queen’s Theological Hall

My colleague, Beverley Burlock, a former classmate at Queen’s Theological College, has asked to be “defrocked”, removed from the roll of clergy of The United Church of Canada because of the manner in which it is reviewing my ministry under the auspices of my effectiveness. Beverley’s letter has saddened me and, I hope, has saddened others. But her convictions are strong as are those of the many United… Continue Reading…

The God Delusion – 10th Anniversay

Ten years ago this month Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion hit the world with force, its silvery cover inviting any who picked it up to see an image of a god creator peering back at the unwitting shopper. The thousands and thousands who read it in its first few weeks rode the first wave of the New Atheists and began a conversation that continues to sweep the planet.

Visiting with Raihan and his family in 2015.

Visiting with Raihan and his family… Continue Reading…

Do you still belong in this UCC?

The 95%-of-United-Church-Clergy-believe-in-God Survey

The Rev. Richard Bott

The Rev. Richard Bott

Last Spring, Richard Bott, a United Church minister, decided he wanted to get to the bottom of the question about how many United Church clergy do or don’t believe in god. He was spurred on to the work of designing the God survey by an interview I had with Wendy Mesley of… Continue Reading…

The reason I’m an atheist …

… in case you missed it.

The birthday girl’s party place!

Last night, I celebrated with a family the first birthday of their beautiful, strong, one year old daughter. She was born here in Canada, far from her parents’ families and friends, the first Canadian in a refugee family. Her early birth, a year ago, brought them joy in a time of loss and sorrow when,… Continue Reading…

My Response To Being Found To Be Unsuitable

This past Thursday, my lawyers, Julian Falconer and Akosua Matthews, the Chair of West Hill’s Board, Randy Bowes, and about fifty supporters from West Hill and the wider church accompanied me to a meeting of Toronto Conference’s sub-Executive Committee. West Hill and I had been invited to make presentations to the Committee in response to the recommendations made by the Interview Committee of Toronto Conference when it had acted as the Ministry Personnel Review Committee in the review of my effectiveness… Continue Reading…

Sea Change in the United Church: Part Two

The Definition of Effectiveness

Reviews of Ministry Personnel

In the United Church, there are only two reasons a minister can be disciplined. One is for insubordination – pretty straightforward. The other is for effectiveness – maybe not so obvious. The processes for both are covered by the handbook, Pastoral Charge and Ministry Personnel Reviews. In Part One of this series, I discussed how a complaint against ministry personnel can be made and the difference between the then and the now with respect… Continue Reading…