UCCan Ministers and God/god Survey


Some of you will know that I’m a rather inquisitive kind of person. I like asking questions and finding out about where people are at.

This survey grew out of a comment a ministerial colleague, Gretta Vosper, made on The National. The interview was a catalyst to my engaging in this exploration, inviting the rest of our colleagues to check a box or two, telling me a (little!) bit about what they believe.

The paper has been reviewed by three academic colleagues – two who teach in theological fields, and one a sociologist of religion. I asked them to help me make sure that my analysis and recommendations didn’t go past what the data allowed. Their thoughts, along with those of other readers and proofreaders, helped to make this a much better paper. I am deeply thankful for their help.

This was an exploratory study. The results do suggest that further study would be recommended. I’m thinking about how that could happen!

Please feel free to download and then to comment on what you’ve read. (Posts are moderated. Feel free to be passionate… but please be respectful to one another.) If you’d like a one-on-one conversation using my contact form will send an email directly to my phone! I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

I hope you find the reading as interesting as I have found the writing.

Preliminary Report (.PDF)
Executive Summary (Powerpoint slideshow)
Executive Summary (.PDF of slideshow)

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Just took a walk around the church…



  • there’s a playschool gathering;
  • and a yoga group that meets four mornings a week;
  • Greg is in his office, rehearsing music with a soloist for Sunday’s worship;
  • on the main level, “Stitch and Chatter,” are working on quilts to give to people who are without homes and sleeping outside – warm and beautiful;
  • there’s a community Tai Chi group moving (ever so wonderfully slowly) in the church hall;
  • in the worship space, there’s a group of professional musicians practicing for an upcoming concert (and for working with our congregation’s choirs in an upcoming worship event);
  • Sheila, our office administrator, is working on keeping everything organized;
    and I’m in my office, prepping for Sunday;
  • downstairs, another group of children are with their parents, singing and laughing.

And that’s just this morning.

Sometimes, it’s hard to believe how much wonderful life happens in this place.


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Dunbar Heights United Voices

sang the German Requiem by Johannes Brahms, this weekend.

The first concert was Friday night, in the worship space at Dunbar Heights United Church. Today, the choir and orchestra performed in the sanctuary of Ryerson United Church.

It was wonderful to hear them in both spaces – to hear how the change of venue changed the sound. The choir did a beautiful job both days, and our Soprano and Baritone soloists were superb.

I am in awe of what Dr. Greg Caisley, our Minister of Music, has been able to grow over his time at DHUC. Even in my two-and-a-half years of being his colleague, I have watched DHUV,  Pneuma Voices, and the Chancel Choir grow in leaps and bounds – not just as musicians, but as people of faith.

Wonderful afternoon, in a wonderful day!

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The Open House

Every Wednesday evening, since last September, there has been a worship celebration at Dunbar Heights United Church. We call it “The Open House”.

At 4:30, anyone who wants to gathers in the church hall, up on the stage, when Cathy (our Children, Youth and Families Minister) has set up a number of spiritual practices. One of our team is there to chat with folks as they wish. Sometimes we’ll find children, other times teens, other times adults.

At 5:00, the children and youth in the Pneuma Voices break off for their rehearsal time. Tonight, there were 18 singers gathered together. They were working on a Taize piece for tonight… and on learning another chorus from Handel’s Messiah. (They’re planning on performing the work next Advent!)

Then… supper! Tonight we had to add another three tables. Let’s see – there must have been 35 people gathered for supper. (It was spanikopita, potatoes and salad, with orange slices for dessert.)

After we’ve eaten, it’s into the worship space for a 35 to 40 minute worship gathering. Every week, Pneuma leads the music, we pray and have reflection on scripture – often a conversation – then communion with rice wafers and grape juice and…

off we go into the night, to meet again next week.

Thirty people gathered tonight. Next fall, we’ll really start inviting the neighbours!

Our Door is Wide Open

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Living in a condo complex has some interesting moments…

as I sat in my living area this evening, I heard the strains of an accordion being played from someone else’s balcony. I had the feeling that the musician had been shoved out there, kind of like someone smoking.

As I sat and listened, I realized that whoever was playing was really quite good. (Accordion not being one of my favourite instruments, it took me a moment or two.) A medley was being played, smoothly moving from song to song.

So I did what anyone would do. I wandered out on to my balcony and joined in.

Spanish Eyes.
Beer Barrel Polka.
Some Enchanted Evening.
And on and on…

I have no idea where the accordionist lives – but I’ll be ready for our next gig!


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