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Since the s, many progressives in Canada have turned their backs on Christianity. While there may be fewer people in the pews at the United Church and in other liberal denominations, they are not empty. Many public figures in Canada , including Kathleen Wynne, the premier of Ontario and Green party leader Elizabeth May could be called progressive Christians.

Many of these church-goers are likely above the age of 35, because millennials have been shown to be the least religious generational cohort yet. Liberal denominations have struggled trying to attract younger members. A more critical interpretation would be that liberal Christianity contains within it the seeds of its own demise.

Historian Mark Noll notes the s was an era of cultural revolution, embodied in the hippie, feminist and gay liberation movements, which brought about a radical change in Canadian consciousness and collective identity.

Inclusive Christianity: A Progressive Look at Faith

By , under the leadership of Pierre Trudeau, Canada had adopted an official policy of multiculturalism. Read more: Millennials abandon hope for religion but revere human rights. Conservative Christians responded to this cultural shift towards social liberalism with a vocal backlash, which they continue to provide. But faced with unprecedented cultural change, liberals within the church could not agree on what they stood for or against. At the same time, the New Age movement drew many progressives away from the church.

This meant that by the end of the century, church attendance had dropped dramatically. Yet Christians have often been at the forefront of progressive social change. Tommy Douglas, the father of medicare , was a Baptist socialist who founded the Co-operative Commonwealth Confederation , which eventually became the New Democratic Party. Pierre Trudeau, who did more than anyone else to brand Canada a multicultural country, was a liberal Catholic — just like his son, Justin, is today.

The Problem With Progressive Christianity

And so Christianity is not obviously at odds with social progress. Due to the alignment of the Christian Right with the Republican party in the United States, the public began to associate Christianity with far-right politics. Christianity is often viewed as being at odds with feminism. This is, in part, because even liberal churches have been slow to accept certain tenets of feminism for example, same-sex marriage , but also because feminism, since the s, has spawned a variety of intellectual strands, many of which are very suspicious of Christianity.

The testimonies that came to light as a result of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that explained the role played by the church as well as the Canadian state in creating and running residential schools sealed the deal for many progressives that Christianity does not stand on the side of the weak and vulnerable. The tension between liberalism and Christianity is made most evident when we consider a recent controversy over the United Church minister Gretta Vosper, who came out as an atheist.

The United Church is arguably one of the most socially progressive churches in Canada. It ordains women, marries same-sex couples and allows abortion. Philando Castile. Everywhere we look these days, issues of race and the legacy of racism are erupting. But what does it all mean? And how can we contribute positively to building a more equitable society? Join us for a series of conversations on white privilege and racial justice. All are welcome to participate. Sundays, October , am. Join us as we make our way through the gospel of Mark in a fun and free-wheeling discussion to which all can contribute.

Bibles are provided or you may bring your own. Robert Littman of the University of Hawaii will lead us in an exploration of the earliest chapter in Christian history from an historical and archaeological perspective.


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Join us on our journey through lent with a creative exploration of our personal visioning. Aug What is a religion? April Liz Leavitt will discuss her work with the Presbyterian Eco-Stewards and how young people are connecting faith and environmental stewardship.

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May 1: Our friends from Unite Here Local 5 and workers from the Aston Waikiki will join us to give an update on the unionization campaign and the struggle for justice unfolding there. May Dr. Laurie Seaver will share with us about her work as a medical geneticist and how DNA may be the language of God.

May Allie Pyan will discuss her fellowship with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and how public health is a ministry of social justice. November 6: Rev. Lauren Buck-Medeiros will share with us about her sabbatical experience exploring sabbath and mindfulness in various settings cross the world. Facilitated by John and Marian Heidel.

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The season of Lent offers us a myriad of paradigms for considering our human predicament. The journey of repentance can be cast as a path between sin and redemption, between brokenness and wholeness and also between bondage and freedom. Readings will be copied and distributed in class. Dietrich Bonhoeffer has captivated and perplexed generations of Christians.

Claimed as a hero and guide by both conservative and progressive Christians, Bonhoeffer often defies our categorizations and our expectations. Immaculate Conception? Sex is everywhere: in the news, on TV, on our minds…and in our bibles.

Amidst the confusing and often conflicting witness about embodiment and intimacy offered by scripture, one book stands out as a shameless affirmation of love and its physical expression: the Song of Songs. An erotic poem at the heart of our Old Testament, the Song is an ode to two young lovers entranced by the delights of embodiment, senuality and love. It is a blush-worthy and oft-ignored corner of our bible. But as recent debates have sought to narrow sexual ethics to a single issue, the time is ripe to take another look at the Song.


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It has guidance to offer us for developing a broader, deeper framework for thinking about sexuality…espeically as it is lived out by people of faith. It also opens the door to questions about intimacy with God and the building up of Christian community. Join us for this six week series as we explore this biblical witness, ask questions of our tradition and discuss what a progressive, affirmative Christian sexual ethic for today might look like.

Facilitated by Pastor Liz Leavitt. What is prayer? What is its purpose? Do we use words? Or silence? Do we sit and listen? Or use our bodies? None of us can deny that the face of the church is changing. But there is hope!

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Come and learn. Come and think. Come and imagine what might lie ahead. Come one, come all as we explore questions about end-of-life care and learn how we can live well into our last days. John Heidel.