Stay up-to-date with the latest news and events from the Foundation by signing up for our newsletter.
Fields marked with an * are required
DONATE NOW

News and Events

Dear White People

Rev. Dr. Paul Douglas Walfall, member of the United Church of Canada Foudnation Board and the ministry personnel in the Fort Saskatchewan Pastoral Charge in Northern Spirit Regional Council calls on White people in the church to put their love into action to counteract racism.

Dear White people,

My friends, today I need you to make an intentional commitment to end racism. It is time for us in The United Church of Canada to reaffirm our commitment to bring racism to an end in our church, home, community, and nation. It is time for you to intentionally do everything in your power to promote the overall wellbeing of all people, irrespective of the colour of their skin or race. Let us make racism part of our past and not a part of our future together. It is past time for dismantling the systemic racism found in the very fiber and fabric of our society.

Consider the ways that you can put love into action as a means of counteracting racism. Remember that love in the Christian faith is more than an emotion; it is an act of will. When we love, we choose the highest good for those we love. This love is both transformative and revolutionary.

When you love you cannot accept it when another person is discriminated against or treated unkindly because of the colour of their skin. When you love, you treat every person with dignity, as all people are created in the image of God.

Racism is totally incompatible with the Christian faith. Confronting racism is an act of love. Love moves us not to turn a blind eye to racism when we see it. When we love, we make it an awkward experience for the person who is speaking racist language or showing racist behavior. When we love, we make it clear that jokes about race or unkind attitudes or actions are neither humorous nor beneficial for anyone in our society.

Racism must come to an end if we are a people who love! If this is to be done, then you have a very important role to play! Why? Because racism is not caused by the racialized people. When I say that racism exists, I am not calling White people racist; I am however reminding you that in one way or another you benefit from the racist systems which undergird much of the Canadian society. Racism is the fruit of White privilege and White entitlement. White privilege and entitlement are not only about those people who wear hooded robes, burn crosses, scream the “N” word, or spout racial hate. White entitlement is also about the ways in which White people are valued more than the non-White people in society. To be clear, I am not making a moral judgement about you by saying that our country is racist.

We can see racism in the society in which we live, and, in the ways, non-White people are treated. We see it in the ways that Indigenous peoples are sometimes spoken about in demeaning terms. It is seen when the worst is automatically assumed when we see Indigenous youth, for example, just hanging out on the streets. In many parts of our country, Black people are more likely to be stopped and carded by the police.

My own son has had the experience of being stopped by the police to explain why he was waiting to take public transportation. He was on his way home from school and was at the LRT station in Edmonton with two of his friends who attend the same college with him. His friends were White. He reported to me that the police came up to him and asked him for his identification and questioned him about being at the LRT station. They did not ask anything of his friends. As a father, I felt impotent and helpless to protect my son. It is painful as a father to know that he, and my other son, will continue to face these types of experiences simply because of the colour of their skin.

Let us also be honest racism is also seen in the church. A Black female colleague, for example, told me recently that a congregation member refused to shake her hand because he did not want a Black person as his minister. I have spoken elsewhere of my own experience of racists words spoken to me in the church. You see the experiences are real and yet all too often they are ignored or swept aside when we racialized people speak about them.

It is time for our church to affirm clearly that Black lives matter. Of course, all lives matter, but it is the Black lives that pay the price for anti-Black racism. Really, it is offensive for people to suggest that racism is not as bad in Canada as it is with our neighbours to the south. It is the height of willful ignorance for anyone to suggest that systemic racism does not exist in our country. These statements do not help Black people and they certainly do not help us confront the truth in our country.

We are past the time for easy answers and quick fixes. The way forward will require us to have awkward and painful conversations. Neither you nor I can avoid it. We who are Black, Asian, Indigenous, Latino, and non-White peoples will continue to fight against racism. Our task is to oppose racism, but only you can end it! For the sake of my Black sons and other non-White young people in this land, I am asking you to make this country a place where they and your children will be judged not by the colour of their skin but instead by the quality of their character.

One Love!

Paul Douglas Walfall

*Photo Credit: Catherine Rodd, The United Church of Canada. Image shows The author Paul Douglas Walfall (left), with the United Church delegation to the ACT March to End Racism, Washington D.C., April 2018.Credit: Catherine Rodd, The United Church of Canada

United against Racism Online Worship Service

The United Church of Canada welcomes you to join on Sunday, June 14 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time / 4:00 p.m. Pacific time for United against Racism, a special online worship service presented by the Black Clergy Network of The United Church of Canada. This will be a time of worship, prayer, and reflection on issues of anti-Black racism across our country and in our church. In worship we will lament, we will hope, and we will be reminded of the need to act against racism.

This service of prayer and reflection will be led by members of the Black Clergy Network and will be livestreamed on The United Church of Canada’s YouTube Channel. You will be able to observe the service as well as chat and comment through YouTube by logging in with a Google account.

Please plan to join live and let others know by sharing this event on social media. Use the hashtags #UCCan and #UnitedvsRacism

Find out more and spread the news!

Congratulations Bob Haverluck!

We are pleased to share that past McGeachy Senior Scholarship recipient Bob Haverluck has been named a Mentor by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.

Bob and the other Mentors chosen are representatives of the highest level of achievement while serving as audacious public educators. Furthermore, they are distinguished leaders who made extraordinary contributions in their respective fields and who will share their knowledge and expertise under the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation’s scientific theme Technology & Ethics over the next three years.

You can read more about this significant accomplishment on their website here.

Congratulations Bob!

$3M Grant to the United Church’s response to COVID-19

We are pleased to be able to offer The United Church of Canada a grant of $3M to support communities of faith during COVID-19. This grant is possible because of the generosity of many United Church people from across the country who made gifts in their Will. We are so grateful for these thoughtful, planned gifts that people who have gone before us made for the future work of the Church they loved.

This grant will form part of the emergency loan program the church is putting in place to help communities of faith meet their financial obligations during the pandemic. More information is available about The United Church of Canada’s response to COVID-19 at https://www.united-church.ca/covid-19

Impacts of COVID-19

Friends in Christ,

Life has certainly changed in the past few weeks. Change is hard and the uncertainty surrounding the impact of COVID-19 makes it even more difficult. We encourage you to uphold the principles our leaders – both in the church and secular spheres – are requesting. Stay home and stay safe.

Our staff are doing the same, working from home and trying to balance family and work while doing so. This does mean some of our services are affected. For example, we continue to be able to make grants via wire transfers or direct deposits in a relatively timely, albeit some what slower, way.

Grants made by cheques will take longer than usual. If you are an organization that normally receives your grants via cheques, we encourage you to send us your banking information by email or voicemail so that we can provide support in a more timely way.

If you are an organization that receives an annual grant, we anticipate sending out these during the usual time frame which is in late April or May. Again, if you normally receive a cheque, please send us your banking information so we can get the grant to you in a more timely way. Grants made this year are based, as usual, on a two-year average of the fund balance. That means in 2020, grants are based on the average balance between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2019 of the fund the grant comes from. Any prolonged effect of COVID-19 on the markets and economy will impact the 2021 and 2022 grants.

If you are a donor, we encourage you to do all you can to maintain your support of your congregation. You can make gifts online directly to your congregation via CanadaHelps; simply search for your congregation by name on https://canadahelps.org

If you are a donor and would like to modify your grants for this year given the current emergency, please call or email us to discuss options.

If you are a church leader, United In Learning, The United Church of Canada’s distance learning portal, has a series of upcoming free webinars that may help you in your work: https://www.united-in-learning.com/index.php/webinars/upcoming-webinars and you can find information on the church response here: https://www.united-church.ca/covid-19 .

The United Church of Canada’s Philanthropy team has also created a resource to help you continue to encourage generosity in the face of this pandemic. You can find that resource here: https://www.unitedchurchfoundation.ca/wp-content/uploads/Generosity-in-Unprecedented-Times-Mar28-20-v2.1.pdf

We offer you this prayer by The Right Rev. Richard Bott:
In this time of COVID-19, we pray:
When we aren’t sure, God,
help us be calm;
when information comes
from all sides, correct and not,
help us to discern;
when fear makes it hard to breathe,
and anxiety seems to be the order of the day,
slow us down, God;
help us to reach out with our hearts,
when we can’t touch with our hands;
help us to be socially connected,
when we have to be socially distant;
help us to love as perfectly as we can,
knowing that “perfect love casts out all fear.”
For the doctors, we pray,
for the nurses, we pray,
for the technicians and the janitors and the
aides and the caregivers, we pray,
for the researchers and theorists,
the epidemiologists and investigators,
for those who are sick,
and those who are grieving, we pray,
for all who are affected,
all around the world…
we pray
for safety,
for health,
for wholeness.
May we feed the hungry,
give drink to the thirsty,
clothe the naked and house those without homes;
may we walk with those who feel they are alone,
and may we do all that we can to heal
the sick—
in spite of the epidemic,
in spite of the fear.
Help us, O God,
that we might help each other.
In the love of the Creator,
in the name of the Healer,
in the life of the Holy Spirit that is in all and with all,
we pray.
May it be so.

A Note from an Investment Partner

Frontier Capital Funds, the division of Canoe Financial that serves United Church investors, has provided us with their perspective on the market impacts of COVID19.

They say: “The recent flood of coronavirus headlines has triggered excessive volatility in markets around the world, which has many investors worried. It is important at junctures like these to step back and assess the broader context. We at Frontier Capital Funds Inc. wanted to provide you with some information to help you do just that.”

You can find their full statement here.

2020 Spring Granting Cycle is Open!

The spring 2020 Seeds of Hope granting cycle is now open and accepting applications for all project types! Applications are due by 8 pm EST on April 15th, 2020.

Last year, the Joint Grants Committee reviewed over 250 applications and granted over $1.2 Million to 96 United Church organizations and leaders through the Seeds of Hope granting program. Click here to learn more about some of these successful grant recipients.

There are also a variety of scholarships and academic award opportunities like The W. Norman McLeod Scholarship, The Clifford Elliott Rural Ministry Award, and The McGeachy Senior Scholarship. Scholarship applications are due March 15th, 2020.

Please visit the granting section of our website or contact us grants@united-church.ca for more information.

In memory

Corey Copeland

Today we sadly share the news that board member Corey Copeland died suddenly on Saturday. We understand that he suffered a heart attack while cycling with a friend.  ‎We will greatly miss Corey’s intelligence, curiosity, wisdom and friendship. Our prayers go to his daughter Emma and all of his family members that are coming to grips with Corey’s sudden death. You can learn more about Corey’s life and the legacy he leaves in his obituary in the Globe and Mail

New Beginnings at The Bridge

The United Church Foundation is mindful of our partners who support new beginnings.

Bridge House is a transition home in downtown Hamilton, Ontario, for up to six men who could otherwise be homeless when they finish serving provincial sentences in jail.  In the following blog post, James Bowen, former Bridge executive director, reflects on what happened when the Bridge offered more evening social and educational programming.   

The Bridge’s ministry is unique in being the only local organization that works specifically with men leaving provincial detention centres.  While there are multiple organizations in Hamilton that offer educational programs to the general public, there are certainly no organizations that reach out to offer educational help to this population.

These men may be caught in a cycle of criminal behaviour, incarceration and homelessness, and may not have the ‘pro-social’ skills required to achieve their educational and occupational goals.  They are vulnerable to homelessness, poverty, abuse, institutionalization and isolation, and need ongoing support beyond what is currently being offered.  

Substance abuse, relapses, and acting out seldom occur in a vacuum, but they are rather the buildup of emotional stresses such as grief, anxiety, shame or other emotions. When clients have someone available to talk to, or alternate activities available, they receive the means to deal with these stresses in a healthy way which can lead to alternative decisions.

Our Bridge Education and Social Time (BEST) project enabled us to offer more evening programs and supportive services to build skills and meet particular individual needs. 

We found that more often than not, clients would come foremost for the social relationships that they could develop with each other, staff and volunteers.  Then, they would stay for the educational opportunities…rather than the other way around.   

In this way, we found we are stronger together. We learned in new depth the value of our clients’ abilities to educate each other.

Our clients benefitted tremendously from education and support by Bridge staff, but also from the strength of other community resources in The Bridge’s neighbourhood such as by Mohawk College’s CitySchool and Mission Services.  

Two clients began full-time programs at Mohawk College [and both] intend to move on to McMaster University. Another person participated in his first university course for credit, while two other people took individual courses at Mohawk College.

Five clients attended structured weekly addictions support resources. Seven clients got support in writing resumes and eight found computer support, improved their typing, or learned new internet skills.

One participant embraced this project upon its inception. He helped create its name and

attended faithfully. He enrolled in his first post-secondary program.  Simultaneously, this same person has been enjoying the recreational activities during evenings, particularly developing his passion for board games. He decided to launch Barton Village Games, a weekly Friday night community games night.

We would tell others: make space for people who are ex-offenders to share their gifts and experiences!  

The Changing Shape of Rural Ministry

What will be the new shape of rural ministry?   Rev. Ursula Wiig traveled to an international conference in New Zealand recently to explore this question.  She serves in ministry about 130kms south of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan at Elbow/Loreburn/Strongfield Hawarden United Church.  The United Church Foundation was pleased to support this experience through The Ann Jentzsch-Bill Bursary for a woman active in lay, ordained, or diaconal ministry.  The bursary supports studies, education, or professional development enhances the applicant’s capacity to provide ministry. 

The financial assistance from the Bill and Anna Jentzsch Bursary to help with the costs of attending the 2018 International Rural Church Association Conference in Christchurch, New Zealand is very much appreciated.

The week-long conference was a tremendous experience.  Nearly 100 people attended.  Most participants were from New Zealand and Australia, but every other continent was represented except for Africa and Antarctica.  Four of us were Canadians, all United Church, and as two were also on the planning committee.

In addition to the theme presentations, worship, and cultural evening s organized by different regional groups, we had tours to local rural churches and farms or agricultural enterprises.  Over and above all this, it was just good to have the opportunity to share experiences, hear some inspiring stories, and pick up helpful resources. 

Despite the geographical, cultural, and denominational differences, it is clear that most rural churches are having to find new ways of doing things.   Increased ecumenical collaboration is one option.  [Churches are] often functioning without the denominational support on which they’d previously relied. 

For example, a Uniting Church minister in Western Australia is concerned that her church will discontinue funding a resource person for the rural churches in that huge region, none of which have paid accountable ministers any more. 

Here in rural Saskatchewan, many rural appointments are only part-time and even pastoral charges seeking full-time ministry personnel are unable to attract them. 

This situation is not unique to Saskatchewan or the United Church.  According to Dave Ruesink from the Rural Church Network, USA and Canada, this is a common trend among mainline denominations in North America; rural ministry is becoming increasingly marginalized with the governing bodies providing fewer and fewer resources.

Those of us in rural ministry know we can’t go back to the “old days,” but hopefully the new structure will include rural and small Church Ministries and innovative ways will be found to support these ministries.  Catherine Christie and I both returned from the 2018 IRCA Conference with a resolve to raise the profile of this type of ministry in our presbyteries, Saskatchewan Conference, and, as of 2019 [when changes will be implemented in the current United Church of Canada national organizing structure], in Region 4.