Faith

Ministry in the name of Jesus

Recently I reconnected with a friend with whom I had lost contact. His family had gone through an emotional and traumatic loss. While he was raised Presbyterian, he explained that he has had little contact with the church outside of occasionally joining his parents when they attended special church services. As we spoke, he told me of the events surrounding his family's bereavement. Paramount in his narrative was the role that his parents' minister had played. He spoke with great appreciation and deep respect for this minister. He mentioned the words that were chosen, the time that was spent, and the dignity that was extended in the hospital, in the home and at the funeral services. It was obvious to me that he had received great strength from a Christian minister during a really tough time.

Raise a mug for fair trade

Do you ever come away after reading the Record and wonder how you can help people in need who live in some faraway country in South America, Africa or Asia? I don't mean relief aid, such as for the tsunami, but helping to provide long-term solutions. Are you frustrated by stories about corrupt dictators and pillaging businesses that rape the land and pay workers dirt wages? Do you find the arguments for and against globalization give you a headache?

Community centre or centre of community?

It rests there, survivor of several massive earthquakes, Latin Crusaders and the capture in the 15th century by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror who made it his imperial mosque. Arguably the greatest church in Christendom, Hagia Sophia, representative of Orthodox Christianity and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, dominating the skyline of Istanbul, surrounded by four minarets, is a museum. Ataturk, father of modern Turkey, ordered the designation in 1934.

The marvel of suffering

Across Canada flags were at half mast. Newspaper headings asked, "Why"? When four young Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers were slain on a farm near Mayerthorpe, Alta., Canadians wanted the answer to that question. All citizens of Canada surely felt some degree of the pain and suffering that this event brought to the immediate families of these officers and to their colleagues in the peace and armed forces that serve our nation.

Churches must be made safer for ministry

You can always tell people who are about to become parents: they're the ones buying How to be the Most Fabulous Parent and How to Streetproof Your Infant. There's little jest in that: There is a serious book published on how to keep your children tobacco-free "for parents of children ages 3 to 19." Three? "Starting prevention efforts early is the key," says the publisher's blurb.

The Nigeria Factor

When Nigerians gather, whether within their own country or in the diaspora, one expression will inevitably be brought up – "the Nigeria Factor". Self-deprecating and all inclusive, it is national "in-house" language or code. All Nigerians know what is intended, but they struggle to define it.

Child poverty truly threatens the family

A few weeks ago, a report was released suggesting more than one million children in Canada are living below the poverty line. Campaign 2000, a national watchdog organization, said more than 15 per cent of Canadian children live in low-income families who earn less than two-thirds the national median hourly wage of about $10. Moderator Rick Fee was forthright in his reaction, calling the situation "a real scandal." It is.

The cross in interfaith dialogue

There is a challenge before us and our denomination's newly renamed Committee on Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations. How can we understand, live with and appreciate people of other faiths while maintaining our Christian convictions? Is religion being manipulated to make this a more violent world, and does this cause strife between our neighbours and us? These questions lie at the core of interfaith dialogue.

Child poverty truly threatens the family

A few weeks ago, a report was released suggesting more than one million children in Canada are living below the poverty line. Campaign 2000, a national watchdog organization, said more than 15 per cent of Canadian children live in low-income families who earn less than two-thirds the national median hourly wage of about $10. Moderator Rick Fee was forthright in his reaction, calling the situation “a real scandal.” It is.

The report was issued 15 years after all parties in the House of Commons vowed to fix the problem of child poverty. The rate was about the same then, although three times the rate of most northern European countries, and actually climbed to almost 22 per cent in 1996. In response to the recent news, the federal Social Development Department offered the lame defence that Statistics Canada figures from 2002 indicate the child poverty rate is closer to 10 per cent, or 700,000 children.