News and Events

Fall Events You Won’t Want to Miss!

Friends, there are two events in Ontario over the next month that we want to highlight and make sure that you know that you have a special invitation to:

Naming Ceremony & Feast

Date: Sept. 23rd, 2018

Time:  10:30 am service 

            Noon: Naming Ceremony and Feast

Place: Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church, 427 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1X7

Details: We are so pleased to announce a new endowment fund that will benefit The United Church of Canada’s Healing Fund and Anishnawbe Health Toronto.  Traditional Healer James Carpenter will lead those gathered in a naming ceremony that will also be attended by United Church Elders Gabrielle Lamouche and The Rev. Lawrence Moore.

 Canadian Boomerfest

Date: October 17-19th, 2018

Time: October 17th 5pm-9m

           October 18th 8:15am-9pm

           October 19th 8:15am -2:45pm

Place: Siloam United Church 1240 Fanshawe Road East, London, ON  N5X 3Z8

Details: There is an important connection between baby boomer parents and grandparents, young people, and the church. Canadian Boomerfest, coming to Siloam United Church in London, Ontario this October, explores this connection. This first-of-its-kind event will bring together community members, faith leaders and experts in spirituality and the second half of life to talk about and celebrate all the ways in which the church can connect with baby boomers and their families. Topics will include caring for yourself while caring for others; building bridges between older and younger generations; and navigating transitions (like retirement, illness and loss) with grace. Watch this video to learn more about the important connection between baby boomer parents and grandparents, young people, and the church. If this topic interests you, you won’t want to miss Canadian Boomerfest, coming this October to Siloam United Church. Register today at


We hope to see you at one or both of these events!

Have you heard about Canadian Boomerfest?

The United Church of Canada Foundation is pleased to support innovative programs, projects, and events created by congregations and United Church organizations across Canada. Canadian Boomerfest is a great example of the kinds of unique events the Foundation supports.

There is an important connection between baby boomer parents and grandparents, young people, and the church. Canadian Boomerfest, coming to Siloam United Church in London, Ontario this October, explores this connection. This first-of-its-kind event will bring together community members, faith leaders and experts in spirituality and the second half of life to talk about and celebrate all the ways in which the church can connect with baby boomers and their families. Topics will include caring for yourself while caring for others; building bridges between older and younger generations; and navigating transitions (like retirement, illness and loss) with grace.

Join United Church people across the country in supporting First Nations students this summer

Alvin Dixon, a respected Heiltsuk First Nation Elder, worked all his life to improve the lives of First Nations people.

Torn from his home near Bella Bella, also known as Waglisla, along the east coast of B.C.’s Campbell Island at the tender age of ten and robbed of the loving care of his family and community and forced to attend a residential school, he didn’t let it break his spirit.

In spite of his earlier traumas, he fought the odds and pursued a degree at the University of British Columbia, as one of only six First Nations students at the school.

He served as a role model and advocate, working with the Native Brotherhood of British Columbia, and the United Church, where he was a member of the general executive council.

And he was one of the founders of the Native Ministries Consortium and the Native Ministries program at the Vancouver School of Theology.

Dixon worked to raise awareness about the residential school system, First Nations youth and First Nations fishermen and women.

Sadly, his life was cut short in 2014, when he died of cancer. But his legacy and work live on through the Alvin Dixon Memorial Fund, which supports initiatives that focus on education for Aboriginal students.

The fund, along with the Endowment Fund for Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education, supports First Nations students who are fighting similar battles as Dixon did, becoming role models to the next generation.

Both are part of the United Church of Canada Foundation’s support of the Church’s work towards truth and reconciliation and serve as a way to put the values and words of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada into action.

The Foundation is a registered charity with tax receipts available. Donations can be made through our safe and secure website.

This July, a run/walk in Dixon’s memory provides a fun way to show support by lacing up your shoes. You can join in Oshawa on Sunday July 22, or organize a run in your own community. All fitness levels are welcome and you can either run 5km or walk 1km.  Visit our event website for more details and to register

Fraudulent Email Concerns

We have become aware of a very clever but fraudulent email targeting some of our contacts. Please note we have not sent out any personalized solicitation emails for funds recently. Don’t open any attachments or links.  Delete the email. For best practices, we also suggest you change your password for your email account. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-866-340-8223.

Good News for the New School Year

Does back-to-school mean back to hot meals for students in your school community?
It does in Sarnia, Ontario, thanks to Grace United Church’s Lunch for Learning community-school partnerships.

Here’s how it works: Lunch for Learning provides a hot lunch to 450 students every month at Landsdowne, Queen Elizabeth, and High Park public schools. More than 40 volunteers supervise older students with preparing fresh fruits and vegetables: students both learn food preparation skills and forge inter-generational connections. Older students help younger students get their meals. At the respective sites, volunteers, staff, and students together sit down to eat communally.

“Key to the program’s success is the dedication of the volunteers, the continued fundraising, and a receptive school atmosphere,” says program co-ordinator Pauline Henderson-Ferguson.

“Staff and students recognize the program coordinator and volunteers. They greet us in the hallways and are disappointed if it’s not their turn to attend. They want to know what’s for lunch.”

L4L launched at High Park Public school in 2016, after expanding from Grace United’s existing L4L project started in 2014. High Park food costs were funded by a grant from the United Church Foundation. Volunteers served 16 hot lunches between October and school end. Now, efforts are underway to raise more revenue so the vital program continues.

To raise funds for L4L, on Sept. 24th at Grace United Church, volunteers will prepare and serve a country ribs dinner: $15 for adults or $17 at the door; free for kids under 12.

Henderson-Ferguson shared some of the children’s comments from last school year:

“Thank you for helping me and my classmates learn how to clean and cook.”

“We were the lucky school that got chose to have a great time chatting, eating, getting to know each other and having fun.”

“Wonderful food and hope that we can have it again. You made us make food and some people feel more comfortable around knives.”

About seven local Sarnia bodies have also contributed funds to L4L.

If you have an idea for responding to community needs through partnerships, please review The United Church of Canada Foundation’s granting programs  and contact us at or 866-340-8223!


Jesus: The Misunderstood Jew

Jesus: The Misunderstood Jew was a three-day event that began at First Narayever synagogue and ended at College Street United Church. It was a journey into understanding moving between Christian and Jewish communities of faith in Toronto, June 3 – 5, 2016.

The inspiration was Amy-Jill Levine, University Professor of the New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School. Levine, who is Jewish, has authored the well-known book The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus. This book was the basis for the conference.

On Friday night, 159 attendees met for a Sabbath dinner at First Narayever hosted by Professor Levine. The Sabbath dinner was the big highlight for many. Getting a guided tour through the rituals and blessings of that meal was a unique and very special experience for Christians.

Professor Levine also lectured through a full day on questions surrounding Jesus. She spoke talked about how Christians and Jews have misunderstood Jesus, and how we have misunderstood each other.

On Sunday, Jewish participants came to a College Street United service and were delighted by the openness of the participants to the Jewish context and meaning of the parables. Again, Professor Levine lectured. Our Jewish colleagues remarked on the hospitality and welcome of the church crowd.

Not only were people able to understand each other more fully, several connections were made, bridges of trust between religious organizations in our community. Friendships were begun and learnings were shared.

The conference was a delightful mix of people from all socio-economic and a variety of religious backgrounds; from people with financial means, people with a long-time commitment to a faith community, to people from the street corner who live on the edge. Some people travelled from Newfoundland and Winnipeg and some who joined have no fixed address but live in shelters downtown. With funding support from the United Church Foundation, the organizers were able to fully cover costs for 26 people.

Also, a community of 19 people participated on-line through the United-in-Learning team. Gathering sometimes in groups or individually, the on-line crowd participated in the conference by feeding in their questions and comments. It was a true blessing to have them participate.

The Rev. Chris Levan says,

“The generosity of individual sponsors and the grant from the United Church Foundation were the main reasons we were able to open the doors so wide and welcome in so many who otherwise would not have been able to attend. We are so grateful for that support.”

Meet Allan Baker

Giving has always been important to Allan Baker and his wife Rochelle. In recent years, how they have decided to do that has changed. Allan and Rochelle have been members at Westworth United Church in Winnipeg for 42 years. They’ve given generously of their time and their money. Among other contributions, Allan has served on the Finance Committee.

At a church event hosted by Westworth United they heard a presentation by United Church of Canada staff Kathryn Hofley. Kathryn’s talk touched on many things including the benefits of making gifts of stocks and mutual funds. That caught the Bakers’ attention.

At one time, the congregation had its own brokerage account but after hearing Kathryn’s talk, the Bakers and Westworth United Church as a whole realised it would be advantageous for the church to rely on The United Church of Canada Foundation to facilitate gifts of stocks and mutual funds for congregations.

If you have investments that have increased in value over time, talk to the Foundation and your financial advisors about the pros and cons of donating them instead of making cash gifts this year. Like Allan and Rochelle Baker, you might be surprised with the savings you’ll find.

How it Works

  • The Bakers, or other church members, instruct their broker to transfer shares. They tell the Foundation about the gift.
  • The broker sends the shares to the Foundation.
  • The Foundation sells the shares.
  • The Foundation send the Bakers or other church members a tax receipt.
  • The Foundation sends the proceeds from the sale of the shares to the Westworth United Church or other organization(s) instructed by the Bakers or other church members.

Benefit: Lower Fees

Full service brokerage accounts tend to have large transaction fees. The fees are usually a percentage of the amount being bought or sold.

By contrast, The Foundation uses a discount broker that has a flat fee of $9.95 per sale of shares. The $9.95 is taken off the amount received from the sale of the shares.

Benefit: Tax Savings

As long as the donor is making a gift to a registered charity, the donor doesn’t pay capital gains tax. Capital gains tax is a tax on the value that stocks have grown by while someone has owned them. Therefore, if someone sells stocks that are worth more than when they bought them, they have to pay tax on 50% of the growth. On the other hand, people who donate stocks or mutual funds instead of selling them don’t have to pay any tax on the amount the shares have grown by. (see our gifts of securities section for an illustration)

Allan and Rochelle’s new way of giving makes a difference both to their church community and to their own planning. As a person who had been self-employed, Allan was entirely funding his own retirement portfolio.

Allan says: “Giving stocks to my congregation through the Foundation is quite an easy and efficient process.”

Send us an email or give us a call. We’d love to talk to you about how you could do the same as the Bakers.

Trustee Murray Woods on Investment Options

This summer, we sat down with Murray Woods, a Trustee at Harcourt Memorial United Church in Guelph Ontario and he filled us in on why Harcourt chose to invest with the same fund manger as the Foundation.  Every situation is unique so we encourage you to explore a number of options for investing your congregation or United Church organization’s long term funds. Visit the investment section of this website for information on how the Foundation might be able to help.

Spirit & Soul

By The Rev. Karen E. Toole

Churchill Park United Church in Winnipeg sponsored a truly visionary event this past May. From my perspective it was not just one more step along the road of gender and orientation understanding. It was a giant leap. The event had been advertised through all the appropriate channels of the United Church, as well as in the media. I expected a filled church. The title of the event could not have been more informative and direct. It was clearly and creatively named, “Spirit and Soul – not determined by Anatomy, coming to know and affirm the transgender community through personal stories.” In a city the size of Winnipeg registration was approximately fifty. Perhaps the problem was with the word ‘affirm’? The number of registrants was a disappointment but nothing else about the day was disillusioning. For me, with over forty years in ministry, it was one of the most informative, enlightening and inspiring days I have spent within the workshop world of the church.

Deep Sharing, Deep Learning
This event first took root as our church journeyed through the affirming process. We shared stories of family members and friends who passed through our lives hiding their “Spirit and Soul”. This learning experience brought us all closer in our church family. We are a congregation that likes to take on learning challenges. After a discussion with the former moderator The Very Rev. Gary Paterson and his partner The Rev. Tim Stevenson, we all decided that we did not know much about the transgender community. With our quest for learning, we chose to focus on coming to a greater understanding of transgenderism. We contacted all of the Affirming United Churches in the Winnipeg Presbytery and received a wonderful response. As we met we all shared our stories. Various members contributed names of presenters that we eventually invited to speak at the event. It was truly a group effort.

What happened that day at that workshop was exactly what was described in the title. We began with a simple, inclusive worship. We moved on LGBTQ-101, focusing on terminology, pronouns, the difference between orientation and gender, and finding safety. For those gathered in the small table groups, we learned about the reality of how we are all of us “gender-bred persons”; our sex is assigned, but our orientations, our identities, our feelings are not.

For me, the honest level of this presentation was more than a breath of fresh air; it was a forceful wind of hope-filled change. We connected body, mind and soul as sex, orientation and heart. In other words we saw other human beings not through the lens of where do they fit, but here is a sacred creation seeking to love and be loved.

Three storytellers then spoke. Three transgendered persons took the courageous risk of sharing their intimate struggle with a crowd of strangers. These three people who had already been shamed and shunned, broken and beaten told honest, funny, hopeful stories of why love matters.

What We Heard

The speakers’ honest stories surpassed every inspiring sermon I have ever listened to on the topic of divine creation and holy expression of that creation. And why was that? It had everything to do with their incarnational reality, their authenticity, their open honest, vulnerability and their love stories!

The first speaker was focused on transgendered parenting, yet so much more. He spoke of how we all have an opportunity to find the courage to authentically be who we know ourselves to be. He honestly spoke of giving birth to their children, and how he and his male partner are often asked where their mother is. Over and over again he has been forced to come out and face the shock and judgement, and yet he told other stories of support, acceptance and care. At one point he spoke of the need for breast milk, and how he could contribute, because it was, as he put it, “human milk for human babies.” And the wonderful thing was that his milk was just as valuable as any other breast milk given. While he spoke the two children of these two young men played happily in our midst.

Another speaker spoke of her transgendered refugee experience. She came with the support of her United Church congregation, and was gently interviewed by one of her friends from that faith community. Hers was a story of running for her life because she had become a monster in her family’s eyes. She had not only mental scars but physical scars to remind her constantly of how our fear can become hate, how taking the risk of choosing to be herself can lead to choosing death.

In the middle of these two speakers was a woman who lost everything, no severance, no financial stability because they were due to the man she no longer was. She spent 35 years in what she had described as non-authentic way of life. The journey she now faces is strengthened every day by the reality that it is has gone from that inner phobia and outer fear to authenticity and respect for herself.

Our Continued Learning

I have walked with the United Church as we gradually in the late 60’s and 70’s began to affirm that we do indeed have physical bodies, with physical needs, and strong physical feelings. At that time we began to talk about being physically “In God’s Image…Male and Female”. And then we took all the unrest about this incredible discovery of our physicality as creations of body, mind, emotion and soul, and we wrote an affirmation of human sexuality titled, “Gift, Dilemma and Promise”. It was one of the first ever statements on human sexuality created by a Christian denomination. Those who read believed we meant it, and the doors were open finally for homosexual persons to emerge into the light of acceptance.

Understanding transgenderism is the natural next step. Events like this one at Churchill Park United might, should, and could be happening in churches across our nation. Maybe they are, and I am just out of touch. I hope so. I hope to God they are!

Questions will confront and confound and they should. Science and medicine have come a long way. Where does our understanding of God fit in all of this reality of change? Values, ethics, morals are a part of this, but this is not a debate to be had about us and them. This is all of us, our friends and family and neighbours.

It was a brave workshop, a brave day. It can happen again and again in all our churches and communities and if it does, I predict that attendance will grow.

We would like to acknowledge the funding provided by Winnipeg Presbytery (The United Church of Canada) Church Development Inc. (CDI) and The United Church of Canada Foundation Seeds of Hope Grant Program.