Cruxifusion AGM

Notice of Meeting:

Cruxifusion’s Annual General Meeting will be on Tuesday, April 29th at 3:00 PM (Eastern Time) at Martin Grove United Church, 75 Pergola Rd, Toronto. (This meeting will take place during the annual Cruxifusion Conference.)

All subscribers to our website are voting members and welcome to attend even if you are not registered for the Cruxifusion Conference itself. An agenda and financial report will be provided next week. Please bring copies of these materials for the brief meeting if you plan to attend.

If you have any questions, please ask.
Your Cruxifusion Board

Cruxifusion 2014 – Paul Miller

Paul Miller
Reading Theology for Ministry

Speaker Instigator  Paul MillerRev. Dr. Paul Miller has been the minister of First Grantham United Church in St. Catharines, Ontario since 1996. Paul was ordained in 1981 and has served pastoral charges in Montreal and Ottawa, London and Hamilton Conferences. In 1995, Paul received a Ph. D. in Religious Studies from McMaster University, completing a dissertation on the theology of Peter Taylor Forsyth. Paul is married to Rev. Diane Walker and they have four children (including Rev. Aaron Miller) and two grandchildren (with one on the way.)

Cruxifusion 2014 – John Young

Preaching Doctrine in the Church Today

Speaker Instigator  John YoungPreaching doctrine, or dealing explicitly with theological questions and issues, has always been pastorally important.  But another factor now makes preaching doctrine crucial—the lack of a deep understanding of the faith tradition can lead parishioners to imbibe aspects of our culture that present a radically different view from that of Christianity.

John H. Young served two pastoral charges prior to going in 1991 to the Queen’s School of Religion where he teaches in the areas of Ministry Studies and the History of Christianity.

Cruxifusion 2014 – Rob Fennell

Over the next few weeks we will be introducing our speakers at our Cruxifusion 2014 conference coming up April 28-30 at Martin Grove United Church. For more information about our conference, click here.

Seven Key Functions of the Church: How are we doing? by Rob Fennell
A theological talk on key markers of the church’s purpose and role, followed by an instigation of conversation and self-diagnosis of the local and nationals level of church life.

robfennellRob Fennell teaches Historical and Systematic Theology at Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax. Rob has served in ministry with congregations in Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. He has also served with the General Council on projects relating to liturgy and the renewal of worship; the United Church’s understanding of the sacraments; and intercultural ministry. He is the editor of Intercultural Visions: Called to be the Church and (with Ross Lockhart) Three Ways of Grace: Drawing Closer to the Trinity. His spouse, Sally Shaw, is United Church Formation Director at AST, and they have two sons, aged 17 and 13. Rob enjoys movies, writing, canoeing, hiking, and chopping wood.

The Work Continues

Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ!

Crux VaseThis is the season of annual reports, so we thought it appropriate to let you know about Cruxifusion’s ministries through 2013 and our upcoming plans for 2014. Cruxifusion continues to grow; the Lord is adding to our number both ministers and lay people.

Last March and again in December, we posted daily devotionals on our website. Last April, we hosted 65 Christ-centred United Church ministers and student minsters at our 2013 Cruxifusion Conference at Martin Grove United, near the Toronto airport. Many people said it was one of the best conferences they had ever attended. It’s like a family reunion of people who don’t know each other. But there are instant connections because we’re all committed to our Lord Jesus Christ and His church. Videos, articles and ministry vacancies continue to be posted on our website. Our two Facebook groups continue to grow and generate uplifting conversation, support and friendships.

For 2014, our immediate work is preparing for our next national Cruxifusion Conference, April 28-30, again at Martin Grove United Church. As of today, 61 United Church ministers and student ministers from all across Canada have already registered to attend! We expect several dozen more to register in the coming months – well surpassing last year’s attendance of 65. These ministers range in age from their late 20s to early 60s. These are people actively serving in United Church congregations who will be inspired and renewed greatly by our Jesus-focused worship, preaching, speakers and fellowship together.

Of the 61 ministers already registered, 27 are flying into Toronto from East and West. In order to make this gathering equally accessible for everyone, Cruxifusion is paying for 100% of these flights. We are only able to afford this because of donations we received from people like you and several United Church congregations. If ministers had to pay for their flights, very few would attend from outside Ontario and Quebec.

In addition, student ministers pay only $100 to attend; this price includes their hotel nights, meals (and flights if necessary). Again, Cruxifusion is subsidizing the cost to allow cash-strapped student ministers to be blessed and inspired by our gathering.

We ask you to financially support Cruxifusion’s ministry so that we can continue to keep our annual conference truly national in scope. The cost of the conference accounts for 83% of our annual budget. We work hard to keep our operating costs to a minimum. Donations can also be made online through our website by clicking here or mailed to

PO Box 20054
2211 Brant Street
Burlington, ON L7P 0A4

Thank you for your generosity! Tax receipts will be provided.

Please feel free to subscribe to our website. If you subscribe, you’ll receive an e-mail when new devotionals or articles are posted. Keep us in your prayers, and together we will continue to lift up Jesus Christ in the United Church of Canada. Look for the link on the right hand side of our front page.

Continued blessings in our Lord,
Your Cruxifusion Board

Rev. Heather James, Rev. Nick Phillips, Rev. Aaron Miller
were just some of the many ministers leading worship
at our 2013 Cruxifusion Conference.

Rev. Heather James, Rev. Nick Phillips, Rev. Aaron Miller
were just some of the many ministers leading worship
at our 2013 Cruxifusion Conference.

Confronted By Jesus

We are pleased to share that Cruxifusion Board member, Debbie McMillan has written a Lenten Devotional book, Confronted By Jesus (available at the UCRD Store).

As part of getting ready for Lent, Nick Phillips (also a Cruxifusion Board member) will be interviewing Debbie via Twitter on behalf of the United Church using the hashtag #UCCJesusConfronts. We hope you might be able to join us Wednesday, Feb 26th at 8pm Eastern, but if you miss the interview, it will be posted later for all to see!

Debbie’s twitter account: @trinityskywlker
Nick’s twitter account: @revnickphillips

If you would like to discuss this book throughout Lent, we invite you to join the Confronted By Jesus Facebook Group.


Cruxifusion in 2014

2014 is upon us!

After a good 2013 we at Cruxifusion are looking forward to what 2014 will bring for our little organization and for the United Church of Canada.

First, a few highlights from 2013:

  1. We had Holy Week devotional videos
  2. We had our 2013 Cruxifusion Conference in Toronto
  3. We had a regional gathering in Moncton, Cruxifusion East
  4. We finished the year with Advent Devotionals
  5. We listed churches on our Ministry Opportunities page
  6. We communicated with many people across the country who are interested in learning more and connecting with us.

Building on a successful 2013, we look forward to 2014. Here are some of the things we are working on:

  • Our 2014 conference (including our Annual General Meeting)
  • A Lenten book study (details to be announced soon)
  • More devotionals and testimonials to share with you
  • And much more!

We are blessed to be able to serve with you all in this denomination. We are pleased to be able to share our stories with you and we hope you will share with us.

If you are interested in hosting a regional gathering to lift up the name of Jesus Christ in your area, we’d love to help you out. While our annual conference is primarily targeting clergy and students, our regional (local) gatherings are open for everyone. So if you have a church, or group of churches who would like to share in the joy that is in serving Jesus Christ, our Lord, we’d love to help you make that happen. Contact us and we’ll be in touch.

If you find what we offer to be of value, we ask you to consider supporting our charitable organization. You can do this through, or through other traditional methods. Our mailing address is found on our “Contact” page.

We thank you for your support and prayers. As we continue to grow as an organization, we continue to explore ways in which we can bless the church in the name of Jesus Christ.

If you wish to connect with other Christ-centred people in the United Church of Canada, please feel free to join our Facebook Page, Cruxifusion Canada.

Many thanks, and God bless.

From your brothers and sisters in Christ,
The Cruxifusion Board

Advent Devotionals Thanks

We at Cruxifusion would like to give thanks for the contributions of many people this Advent as we posted daily devotionals. Without our gifted friends we would not be able to provide such inspiring words to you.

We also want to thank you, our readers. It is our hope that you too are lifting up Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour as we all seek to follow God’s call in our lives and in our churches. May the Lord bless you abundantly in the coming year of our Lord.

For those who have been wondering, here are the contributors to our 2013 Advent devotionals:

Rev. Nick Phillips, Sydney Mines, NS – December 1, 21
Rev. Foster Freed, Parksville, BC – December 2
Rev. Michael Goodfellow, Jacksonville, NB – December 3
Rev. Erin Stirling, Sooke, BC – December 4, 14
Shirley O’Neill, Halifax, NS – December 5
Rev. Greg Brawn, London, ON – December 6, 25
Rev. Blair Paterson, Winchester, ON – December 7
Rev. Aaron Miller, Hagersville, ON – December 8
Rev. Greg Smith-Young, Hamilton, ON – December 9, 18
Rev. Gord Waldie, Grand Prarie, AB – December 10, 16, 19
Rev. Kimberly Heath, Brockville, ON – December 11
Natalie Istead, Peterborough, ON – December 12
Evan Smith – Midland, ON – December 13, 23
Rev. Lorraine Hill, Etobicoke, ON – December 15
Rev. Christine Jerrett, Sarnia, ON – December 17
Rev. Debbie McMillan, Barrie, ON – December 20, 24
Rev. Phil Spencer, Qualicum Beach, BC – December 22


Advent 2013 – Dec 25


Merry Christmas!

I suspect many of you aren’t reading this until after Christmas Day. You’ve been spending time with family and friends; wrapping and unwrapping; cooking and eating; going out and coming home. That’s as it should be.

I pray you are having a good Christmas – a Jesus-filled Christmas. I pray you are experiencing Jesus as your hope, peace, joy, and love during these Christmas days. As you celebrate the incarnation and birth of your Lord and Saviour, recognize that you’re not just remembering a wondrous miracle of love that happened 2,000 years ago – you are celebrating the very same God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit who continues to work out in you His glorious purpose.

Lord Jesus, thank you for leaving your place in glory to enter fully into our world and into our humanity. Thank you for living for us, for dying for us, for rising for us, for ascending for us. We look forward to that glorious day when we shall see you face to face. All glory be given to you: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen and Amen!

If you missed an entry in our Advent devotions series, please click here to see all previously posted devotions.

Advent 2013 – Dec 24


Ok, call me a Grinch—especially for saying what I’m about to say on Christmas Eve: I don’t think the Wisemen saw Jesus when he was an infant in a manger. (I’m ducking so I can avoid the volley of projectiles headed my way).

If we read the rest of the story in Matthew, we hear the Wisemen came to a house—and Jesus was a child at the time—not a baby asleep on the hay.

I used to get annoyed each Advent because three Wisemen appear in every nativity scene, play and pageant. And there are three—always three—one for each gift, I guess. All three -on their knees- adoring the baby in the trough. Some with camels: all with gifts… although I can’t tell the gold from the frankincense, and myrrh in the hands of the plastic or plaster figurines.

To say my perspective is unpopular is an understatement. I understand why. Our Christmas traditions are important to us—even if they don’t look exactly like what appears in scripture.

Over the years, I’ve had to learn to be generous towards and understanding of our Christmas traditions. And that is hard for me. Really hard. Pride forges an armour of disengaged stubbornness. Asking questions demands humility—the kind that enabled me to say, “I don’t see this. God, show me the significance of these Wisemen and the stable because I just don’t get it.”

And over the years, God has answered me…
-even in my arrogance and self-righteousness when I have seen myself as better than anyone else… God has answered me.
-even when I see myself as so profoundly right that it makes me unapproachable and unavailable… God has answered me.
-even in my haughty-holier-than-thou moments when I’ve worshipped my gifts, my skills, my possessions, my education, my perspectives, my context… God has answered me.
-even when I have felt entitled to grace but extended none to others, God has answered me.

God answered in correction and refining—taking away all that I worshipped. God replaced my false idols with a real baby — who is somehow fully God and fully human. Contemplating the holy ratio in that mystery—not to mention the reason behind it—is a humbling discipline. The love in that kind of Divine action inspires awe and wonder as the focus shifts from what we do to what God has done, is doing and will continue to do through Jesus Christ.

The Wisemen found Jesus in the house by using their knowledge and skills. When they saw him, they knelt before him—surrendering their gifts to Him and paying homage. When we are in relationship with God through Christ and empowered by the Spirit, we do the same thing. We use what we have been given not for our own glory and never for our own edification. We set what we have before the feet of Jesus and give the glory to Him.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Wisemen to put back into my nativity scene.

If you missed an entry in our Advent devotions series, please click here to see all previously posted devotions.