Embracing the Spirit update - October 28, 2020
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For information about THe United Church of Canada’s response and policies regarding COVID19, please visit the church's website for official updates.

Changing the Narrative of Poverty

Many years ago Bedford House started a journey exploring what it looks like to be in deep relationship with people with lived experience of poverty, and how that changes us, and hence changes the world. Since then, they have continued to experiment with Bridges Out of Poverty cohorts, which have transformed into Storyteller Catalysts who actively tell the story of our shared abundance and that it is in fact a lack of imagination rather than resources that perpetuates poverty.

This has led to a podcast that tells this message, as well as allows space for personal stories to be shared. In this week's EDGE-y Conversation, we sat down with the Storyteller Catalysts who opened the gathering with a check-in. Each person gave an update and all others listened attentively. Not to judge or suggest things, but to be present with each other and give space to say what was on our hearts and minds. Only then were we ready to start. 

Laura started us off of on a personal journey, Greg was able to name how he was connected to everyone around the screen, Todd acknowledged the importance of changing himself to change the world, LA highlighted that this work was about relationships, and Allan offered that what was needed was imagination.

When asked about what was next, there were many ideas! Imagination was not a challenge with this group. We're looking forward to hearing what Bedford House and their Bridging Teams come up with next!

Learn more, or watch the whole story.

[Image credit: Bridges Out of Poverty]

Edith Rankin Memorial United Church Courageously Adopting MORE Technology

Many communities of faith have embraced online streaming by using Zoom or Facebook Live or other methods of having an online service. But Edith Rankin Memorial took technology to a whole new level!

As soon as they realized that COVID-19 was not a short term thing, they pivoted dramatically to using Glip for their online collaboration so that they could plan worship together, share Board meeting notes, and use technology to simulate as much of the face to face interaction that those gatherings usually have.

Then they tackled music! Singing on Zoom or other streaming tools was just not cutting it. With music being an important spiritual practice and an integral part of morning worship, they immersed themselves into figuring this out. They discovered an online platform called SoundTrap, which allows each person to contribute their voice or instrument in order to create new music together each week.

When the community of faith is asked how they feel about these experiments, they say that it has brought them even closer together than before. This is what community looks like!

Want to learn more? Contact Joe at You can also watch the whole story.

[Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash]

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Expression of Interest

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) launched an expression of interest funding process for service delivery improvements (SDI) that closes on November 24.

SDI projects have centred on developing innovative approaches to better support the settlement and integration of newcomers. As part of a government-wide response to the current pandemic, IRCC will allocate approximately $30 million in SDI funding in the first year toward settlement services for newcomers to safely and sustainably recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find out more about SDI.

November EDGE-y Conversations

November is filled with wonderful storytellers!
  • November 2: The founder of Aangen non-profit challenges the charity model with her unique approach to social enterprise over the last 20 years
  • November 9: We hear from Stittsville United Church and their SPARK ministry which continues to inspire and empower leadership throughout the community
  • November 16: Rev. Miriam Bowlby gives us a new perspective as a minister with a social MBA and what she is thinking about now
Join these storytellers live! Updates to the calendar can be found here.

Or you can watch the stories by following EDGE’s YouTube channel!

[Photo by Cristian Escobar on Unsplash]

United Church Focus Group

We admit that we call this group the ‘change the world focus group’. Seems like a great name as there are lots of things that need your feedback!
  • What types of services should Buying United be offering?
  • What do you think about some of the Embracing the Spirit projects?  
  • What new supports or programs are there that should be considered?
  • And much more; we don’t even know yet what questions you will be asked over the next year!
This is not a lot of work. You receive an email and decide if you wish to engage. You can reply to emails with your feedback. You can respond to survey links that will be included. You can show up for a presentation and then give your feedback. Or you can ignore the email if you aren’t interested in the topics/questions that were posed that month!

If you're interested in being part of this ongoing focus group, let us know at!

[Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash]

Embracing the Spirit is a learning network and innovation fund. It offers funding and support for innovation ideas hatched out of faith communities and communities in ministry. Some of the stories and best practices that are happening throughout The United Church of Canada are shared in this newsletter.

If you have an idea that you want to launch, reach out and tell us about it! Proposal deadlines are quarterly, and due on the 15th of the month: January, April, July and October. Find out more

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