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Many good works continue

I was saddened, joyful and surprised by the article of Doug Hallett on the change of ownership at Paisley United Church (Tribune, Feb. 28).
The sadness is for our friends at both Paisley and Norfolk United Churches in the sale of their buildings.  The ending of a congregation comes with much angst and struggle. Both congregations have done so with much prayer and consideration. The joy is hearing that other Christian friends will have new spaces for worship and outreach. I wish them much success in their efforts.  Christ’s love continues to find expression.
I was, however, surprised the article would leave your readers with the impression that local United Church congregations are “unresponsive to the needs of our society.” I am minister of one of four congregations of the United Church of Canada in Guelph, which also has two mission outreach projects here – Rising Spirit and the Chalmers Community Services Centre.
Dublin Street United Church is an active and caring community in the downtown area of Guelph. Our building is used seven days a week for various groups – Scouting and Guiding groups, support groups for addictions and health challenges, recreation, music and a Montessori school, not to mention the areas that churches are most involved in such as worship, youth activities, study groups, prayer ministries, choirs and the like. In addition to these activities, we are an active supporter of Chalmers Community Services on Baker Street, assist the Welcome In Drop-in Centre with rent support and are an active member of the CORE churches of the downtown.
We recently provided a large financial gift to support the work in Uganda of the Children of Bukati, established a new connection with a First Nations community and congregation from the Bruce Peninsula, and hosted 200 people at a chili supper raising funds for the Chalmers Centre.
Our congregation has also been active in greening our building and the community by adding solar panels.  These are just some of our ongoing projects.
I know that Harcourt, Trinity and Three Willows United Churches all have stories to tell and share too.  We are sad to see our sister churches close, but their remaining members will find welcome in our communities and their faithfulness will continue to strength our community.
The impression I wish to leave with your readers is the United Church is still an active and caring Christian community in Guelph as we have been – and will continue to be – for many, many years.
Rev. Bruce Dickson

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