Embracing the Spirit update - June 11, 2021
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The GO Project Re-imagines Itself

Bird's eye photo of children's hands, with a testimonial quote in a blue box that says "The GO Project shaped who I am and continues to inspire the person who I want to become."
The GO Project has been running programming rooted in United Church theology for children and youth for over a decade. This has involved summertime face to face activities, until last year.

The GO Project has continued to re-imagine itself, and find inspiring energy in doing so. Here are some of the things they've been up to:
  • Working with Regions and communities of faith on confirmation classes
  • Children’s programming and content development that is available from the United Church Bookstore
  • Partnering with communities of faith with their youth programming this summer
  • Online Sunday Schools and summer camps
  • Children’s summer camps reopening this summer with a hybrid approach
Listen to the GO Project's journey and their own spiritual journey. What moments of awe they have witnessed! You can also check out their website, and grab a free GO resource from the United Church Bookstore!

Are You Planning to Change, Grow, or Add a Ministry?

Photo of a white neon sign that reads "this is the sign you've been looking for" on a dark brick background.
Create a more informed, responsive, and impactful ministry. The Theory of Change workshop will explore links between your ministry's activities and outcomes for the purpose of planning, participation, and evaluation. The resulting product will guide and focus your work, helping you increase intentionality and purpose. We believe this workshop will help you significantly improve your spiritual, social, ecological and financial impact and better accomplish the change your ministry is trying to accomplish.
Start Date: June 14, 2021
RSVP to Chris Rotolo at

[Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash]

EDGY Conversations and Events

Remember to check out EDGE’s Calendar to see what's coming up!
  • June 14: Wild Church Network
  • June 28: What is Sacred?

Agape Café

Red words that read "Agape Cafe" and a graphic of a coffee mug with musical notes instead of steam, forming a heart shape.
Submitted by Heather Aiton-Landry at Grace United Church, Peterborough ON
This café is part of our current vision called “Engaging the Community.” It is a vision that encourages everyone in our congregation to be more proactive in taking our faith in Christ to our family, friends, and neighbours, and become more comfortable in sharing our story with people in a casual manner. 

Our initiative has helped to raise much-needed funds for local organizations both within and outside the church. As the community became more aware of Agape Café and local artists (who had their own interested followers), our events were slowly increasing in numbers. The more well-known the local performers, the more people Grace welcomed into the café. This increased the profile of Grace within the community by providing a venue to showcase local musical talent. There was also the added attraction of scrumptious desserts that have been well received and generated revenue both for sustainability of the café, and in the local community organizations that received financial donations from our proceeds.

In the networking of community of faith attendees who attend only worship 1 or only worship 2, opportunities to get to know each other and work together emerged. The social engagement and community setting facilitated time to chat in a relaxed atmosphere, inviting relationship building. People had a safe venue to explore faith, allow spirits to connect with music and fellowship, for some a church alternative, and an alcohol-free venue where they can relax and listen to live music. Greater opportunities to connect with more local vendors will continue to build community partners as suppliers and recipients. We continue to envision ongoing partnerships with local agencies who will be recipients of our fundraising and who can provide volunteer support at the events we host.

Agape is styled after a cozy, Parisian-style café, where conversations happen, stories can be shared, community can be formed, and where the music is acoustic, positive, and life-affirming, ranging from folk to gospel to pop. Patrons entered for free or made a donation, and could purchase desserts, coffee, tea, and such items for a nominal set fee. Proceeds from the door and food sales went directly to café operating costs (such as supplies), as well as to Grace’s social programs and other local programs in Peterborough.

On the second Saturday night of each month at Grace, community came together. In the first year the café raised money for the One Roof Diner and for the Ministry of Compassion. Our roster of talented musicians has included members of our own Worship One band, as well as familiar faces from other places, such as Mark Edwards and Melissa Whalen. 

The second year of the Agape Café was… short. We were only able to host one event before COVID-19 restrictions came into effect. Danny Bronson entertained us with his lively music and excellent voice on the night of February 8, and we raised funds for the Elizabeth Fry Society.

As we continue to re-imagine the Agape Café’s future, the longing for people to be together, to enjoy music and social gatherings, we will continue to explore expansion opportunities, like perhaps the feasibility of virtual livestream. Thank-you to Embracing the Spirit for helping us plant seeds of opportunities in our start-up; we are excited for what will emerge post-pandemic!

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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