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News from the Pews

Read personal stories of changing attitudes, transforming hearts, and congregation members being moved to action. Learn how churches and individuals have responded when faced with injustice. 

When Justice-Types Tie the Knot

The wedding industry terrifies me. As someone who claims to value intentionality, stewardship, and inclusivity, I kind of hoped I would never have to deal with the wedding industry.

To the 7th Generation...

Children are the centre of our communities; it is of utmost importance that we create a better world for them to live. We must build and yes, sometimes fight, for their opportunity to thrive rather than be the statistics that show otherwise. We have to create opportunity in which equality is no longer questioned.

Poverty Simulation

Every day we all make decisions about our purchases. We weigh desire against necessity and financial capacity. However, for a large number of people these everyday decisions are becoming increasingly more difficult. This simulation walks us through the hurdles that people in financial crisis have to overcome and helps us imagine the decisions impoverished people make every day. Will you sign your child up for the town soccer league or buy nutritious groceries for the week? May this simulation help reframe conversations about poor people and challenge our assumptions.

Dear Future Mom

Today we hear the voices of people with disabilities. This heartwarming message is from 15 kids and young adults with Down Syndrome to a fearful future mother whose unborn son is diagnosed with the disability. The mother questions, “What kind of life will my child have?” Taking the time to listen to these voices gives us insight into the full humanity of people with disabilities, the beauty they exude, and the joy they bring to the people in their lives.

Shannen’s Dream

Fourteen year-old Shannen Koostachin had a dream that kids in her community, a remote reserve in northern Ontario, could one day go to school in safe, comfy schools. Motivated to see change in her community and equal education for First Nation people, she wrote a letter to a Member of Parliament. Often the marginalized are labeled as voiceless, but Shannen proves this false. Six years after Shannen began her brave campaign Attawapiskat’s new school was built.

Depression

“I could no longer connect to my toys in a way that allowed me to participate in the experience. Depression feels almost exactly like that, except about everything.” Most of us either have struggled with depression in our lifetime or know someone close to us who has. This creative, stream of consciousness comic represents the introspective journey of a person with depression. It exposes the unembellished reality of the walls people face while struggling with depression and how others often fail to effectively help, despite good intentions.

Fam Jam

“Fam Jam” was written by Canadian rapper Shad about his childhood as a newcomer in Canada. Here’s what he had to say about the album: “Working on Flying Colours in the city of Toronto offered a daily reminder of the diversity of stories in our midst. This diversity is often and rightly celebrated, but the innumerable stories that comprise our treasured multiculturalism here in Canada can also hold a lot pain, as well as some complicated questions around what it means to succeed, and what it means to belong.

Nest

1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Domestic violence transcends all stereotypes—it has the potential to affect any individual, regardless of age, religion, race, and socioeconomic status. Though this happens far too often, these voices are not heard enough. Today we enter into the conversation as we read a poem written by a victim of domestic violence. Her raw and honest words give us insight into her life in an abusive relationship. It is crucial that we listen and respond to these vulnerable voices.

Unashamed

“Six years ago I knew nothing about mental illness or what the signs were to look for, nor did people in my church, even after I was hospitalized twice in one year. Some church members diagnosed me as demon possessed; I knew I wasn’t because I was in Christ. The first time I was hospitalized the doctors sent me right back home, saying that I just had a very strong faith. Almost jumping out of a vehicle and thinking that God’s angels were going to catch me is a little more than having a strong faith….Take this journey with me and see how an unwell mentally ill person thinks and behaves.”

Will I

This clip and song from the Broadway production Rent reveals the honest and raw fear of those living with HIV/AIDS. The song takes place at a Life Support group meeting for people suffering with illness and grief. Based on a real encounter, the song was inspired by a man’s confession that he was not afraid of dying, but he was afraid that he would he lose his dignity if people knew about his disease because of the stigma associated with it. The lyrics, “Will I lose my dignity?

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