Category Archives: United Church Observer

Empty nests, broken hearts

How today's ultra-engaged parents suffer when their children take flight Download article as PDF Published in The United Church Observer in December 2016 Last year, after snapping new striped sheets onto my daughter's dorm-room bed at McMaster University in our hometown of Hamilton, I barely made it down the hallway before dissolving into tears in…
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Panhandler Protocol

Should you fish out a toonie or walk on by? the answer isn't always obvious Download article PDF  Published in United Church Observer in January 2016 I grew up in small-town Ontario and never encountered homeless people, panhandlers or "bums," as the people in my world called them then. So when I went to New…
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Bible Backlash

Under threat from rising secularism, the iconic Gideon Bible is disappearing from classrooms and hotel nightstands. So the Gideons are devising new ways to spread the Word. Download article PDF  Published in United Church Observer in December 2015 Janet Horbas was a "distraught and desperate" newly divorced mother of three when she travelled to Monterey,…
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The Cosby Showdown

Anne Bokma was not amused when comedian Bill Cosby came to town amid fresh allegations of sexual assault. So she and 30 others planned their own stand-up moment. Download article PDF Published in United Church Observer in May 2015 Bill Cosby is within close enough range that I could sail a paper airplane at his…
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Confronting the Sixties Scoop

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. Download article PDF Published in United Church Observer in April 2015 Sally Susan Mathias was four years old in 1967 when child welfare services…
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Extreme Downsizing

Tiny house dwellers are shucking their stuff and saying goodbye to mortgage payments - all in an effort to lead more meaningful lives Download article PDF Published in United Church Observer in March 2015 Two years ago, Kayla Feenstra's offer on a house in Abbotsford, B.C., fell through at the last minute after the bank…
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With this ring, I thee divorce

Separation doesn't have to be adversial. Some couples are seeking more meaningful ways to untie the knot. Download article PDF Published in United Church Observer in February 2015 When Rev. David Mundy's parents divorced 40 years ago, his father, a United Church minister, stayed in his home congregation while his mother searched for a new…
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Away in a Manger

The enduring appeal of the Christmas crèche Download article PDF Published in United Church Observer in December 2014 For 30 years, Rev. Brian Kiely didn't have a crèche in his home. As a boy growing up in a Catholic household in Montreal, he loved unpacking his family's nativity scene from its nest of tissue paper and…
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Communes for Grown-Ups

A 1960s ideal gets a modern makeover in cohousing projects designed for living in close quarters. Download article PDF Published in United Church Observer in March 2014 Brian Ast always dreamed of sharing space with people beyond his family. As a young man in the 1960s, he opted out of the mainstream by experimenting with…
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Feasts of the heart

It's not just the food that makes a meal memorable. Here are my reflections on three meals I'll never forget. Download article PDF Published in United Church Observer in October 2013 Twenty-seven years ago: My husband and I are in New York City for our honeymoon. We go to a fancy restaurant on the 106th floor…
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