Book Study: Birth of Jesus for Progressive Christians

Join us for a three week book study of

Birth of Jesus for Progressive Christians

by Donald Schmidt

Monday, November 30, December 7 & 14 @ 7pm

via Zoom

Publisher description:

“The Christmas story most people know comes from pageants, carols, or perhaps a television movie or two. But what we recall – and what many people seek to replicate each year – is an odd mixture of the two quite different stories contained in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, with certain pieces almost always present (even though they are not in the Bible at all) and with others sadly missing. The point of those versions of the story seems to be to nurture a warm, fuzzy feeling that leaves us cooing over a baby so we can then put the whole thing away as soon as possible after December 25 and get back to life as usual. But that’s not what the gospel writers had in mind.

To some extent, each of us fashions our own version of the “Christmas story.” Over time, as our associations and identification with that story grow, it can feel very uncomfortable and even disrespectful to disrupt or question that story. Any yet these reactions can be instructive, for they beg larger questions about what’s really important: the biblical narratives; or the traditions that have gathered around them, layered them, and at times obscured them; or the meaning all of this may have for your lives today?

Birth of Jesus for Progressive Christians is a five-session study guide that invites readers to explore the birth of Jesus with a new perspective. This will open up wonderful times of conversation within small groups, but also provides inspiration and guidance to how the birth story of Jesus is still relevant and important in the life of the church and its people today. ”

Click register below to sign up for the book study.


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Ebooks can be obtained at Woodlake Books.

Contact with any questions.

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MILC Annual General Meeting 2020



Lessons from Lockdown:

Creating community in the midst of the pandemic

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

Via Zoom 6:30 to 8:00pm

Please register for the AGM here.

If you have questions, please email Gillian at

Guest Speakers:

Lisa Blais, Trinity United Church, North Bay

Connecting Community through Song and Story

Christina Boggs, Trinity United Church, Capreol

Rendez-vous Reimagined: A virtual community of faith celebrating bold faith, brave space and brazen grace

Rev. Erin Todd, Grace United Church, Sudbury

Soul Strong: Body, Mind, Spirit – a unique approach to whole-person wellness

Stephanie Voyer, Director, Rainbow Camp

Rainbow Online Connection (ROC): Creating virtual community for 2SLGBTQ+.youth

Time for discussion and sharing: What have you learned about the meaning and nature of community during the pandemic?

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Activist Alphabet: reflections on faithful environmental activism

Activist Alphabet author Donna Sinclair will offer readings and conversation about why and how we might try to live out God’s call to live with respect in Creation. Webinar participants in Northern Ontario might be especially interested in some anecdotes described in this book —  many of the people involved will be familiar.  Faith communities can be far more influential that we sometimes think in the now-enormous struggle to care for our lovely and threatened planet. Questions, comments and opinions will be welcome.

Monday, October 19th, 6:30-8pm via Zoom

Register by contacting Gillian Schell at

Donna Sinclair

As a long-time senior writer with The United Church Observer, Donna won many national and international awards, among them news coverage and editorial courage. She is a recipient of the A.C. Forrest Memorial Award for excellence in religious journalism from the Canadian Church Press.

Donna is the author of more than a dozen non-fiction books, most recently Activist Alphabet (Wood Lake Books). She is a Fellow of Huntington College in Sudbury, and has an honourary doctorate from Queen’s University in Kingston.

Now retired, Donna continues to write occasionally for Broadview magazine and others. She is a long-time and active member of St. Andrew’s United in North Bay, and  also a committed member of the Indigenous Solidarity Team of the North Bay and Area Mission Cluster, United Church of Canada.

Activist Alphabet is available from Wood Lake Publishing or from the United Church Resource Distribution Centre.

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Advent in October

Advent on October: A workshop for all those leading worship during Advent

So,… it’s October… the time when all good worship leaders start planning for Advent and Christmas. Join Rev. Stewart Walker for a time of reflection and discussion of the Advent and Christmas lectionary readings and how we might frame the Advent message in this peculiar time we are all living through. As is usual for this recurrent Advent event, we will look at the scriptures but we will also consider how we do Advent and Christmas in a time of Global Pandemic.

Join us for this workshop via Zoom.

Saturday, October 24th from 9:30 am to noon.

To register, please contact Gillian Schell

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Listen. Learn. Act: Confronting Racism in our Community

The police killings of black and indigenous people and the protests that followed have received extensive media coverage.   Many voices have joined the chorus to demand change.  To be able to bring about change, it is important to understand the roots of racism and the daily experience of individuals and communities affected by racism. Please join in the Zoom presentation with Carla John (Manager, Equity, Human Rights, and Accessibility at Cambrian College), and Kelly Lee Assinewe (Coordinator of the N’Swakamok Alternative School), who will speak about issues of racism in our area and how to work towards racial equity in our local context.

This is a Zoom event to be held on Wednesday, September 30th, 6:30 t0 8:00pm.

Presented by the Manitou Intentional Learning Community (MILC)

Registration required. Please contact

About our guests

Carla John is a former teacher who returned to university after 7 years of teaching and received her Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from Mount Saint Vincent University.

Hard-of hearing since the age of two, Carla has experienced how marginalized identities intersect and are sometimes forgotten. She’s worked with people with disabilities both as Learning Skills Counsellor at Laurentian University and as former chair of the Sudbury Accessible Sports Council.

Originally from Bermuda, Carla likes to return often with her wife and son to visit family and friends.

Kelly-Lee Assinewe is originally from the Serpent River First Nation but is now a member of Sagamok Anishnawbek. She is a mother of 3 beautiful children and grandmother to 2 grandsons.

She has been working as the Coordinator of the N’Swakamok Alternative School for over twenty years and has over thirty years of experience working with Indigenous youth and adults in educational settings.  She helps at risk students achieve their dreams of obtaining their diplomas.

She has been recognized for her work through the Indigenous Educator Award for Community Service by Indspire; Native Education Person of Distinction Award from Laurentian University and Woman of Distinction through YWCA Sudbury.

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How to Host a Zoom Meeting

Many of us have been participants in Zoom meetings but have you ever wanted to learn how to host one or to dive a bit deeper than to just be a participant?  You can learn by coming to this online workshop being presented by MILC.

This workshop, hosted by Susan Whitehead, a staff member of the Canadian Shield Regional Council, will prepare participants to make the most of Zoom meetings.

Topics include: booking meetings, sharing screens, using security settings and waiting rooms, chat box, breakout groups, back-end settings, sharing audio and visual materials, and Zoom meeting etiquette.

Date:  Wednesday, September 16th 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

To register and receive an invitation, please contact

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Workshop – Producing a Video Worship Service

How to produce a video worship service with no budget, a phone, and a computer.

On March 15th, 2020 Espanola United Church held regular Sunday worship in the sanctuary. On March 17th at 9:13 A.M., the province of Ontario declared a state of emergency which shut down most of the province including our places of worship. On March 22nd, Espanola United Church produced an online worship service. Join the Rev. Stewart Walker as he shares the story of his transition from humble country minister to YouTube star with 100 views per week! Seriously though, it was a steep learning curve and I would like to share the things I learned along the way, particularly how to produce a video worship service with no budget, a phone, and a computer. We will look at free, open source software which allows production of reasonably professional videos; how to use the software; and how to post the video to the internet. The session will take place on Wednesday, September 9th from 6:30 to 8:00 by Zoom. To register and receive Zoom invitation, please contact gillian.schell@sympatico,ca

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Maurice Switzer – Treaty Workshop Recording

MILC extends a very large thank you to Maurice Switzer for discussing the history of Treaties will MILC participants in May 2019 and for permitting a recording of the presentation.

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Video – Que(e)rying Religion: Talking an appreciative inquiry approach to LGBTQ2+ inclusion in faith communities

Rev. Jeff Rock, Senior Pastor at Metropolitan Community Church Toronto, offered a talk on Que(e)ring Religion to MILC participants in June of 2020.

You can watch a recording of the presentation here.


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Labyrinth walking this Summer

Summer is here and we wanted to let you know that the St. Peter’s labyrinth at the Lourdes Grotto in Sudbury is OPEN! Physical distancing is still required, so if you do visit, please go only with people in your ‘bubble’ or household, or by yourself. This is because we can’t do the 6 feet apart necessary at every step of the labyrinth. We hope that group events can resume soon!

Here is an idea for celebrating the summer solstice (June 20-21) this weekend or whenever you can:

Go to the labyrinth or use your finger labyrinth and walk your own walk, thinking of the balance of light and dark. The walk in and the walk out usually take the same amount of time, so balance is reflected here. Perhaps think of day or light on the way in, and night or dark on the way out. What do these concepts mean to you? What happens when they are in balance in your life? Say a prayer or set an intention in the middle.

With Blessings, Amy Hallman Grout, Labyrinth Coordinator at St. Peter’s United and the MILC (Manitou Intentional Learning Community) Labyrinth Team

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