Gathering Worship is used in United Churches and other denominations across Canada as well as in the United States, Bermuda, Great Britain, New Zealand, and Australia.

Collage art of cross, dove, earth and 50th logo
Credit: The United Church of Canada
Published On: May 29, 2024

It all started with a phone call from the General Council Office. A new staff position had been created: Consultant in Worship for The United Church of Canada. John Ambrose, on the other end of that phone call, said yes.

“No actual job description was available,” says Ambrose. “Only a few sentences about nurturing the worship practices of the church in those changing times. That ‘limited guide’ to filling a new position in the church’s national staff turned out to be a blessing.”

For the next year, with the help his wife, Catherine, worship materials were sorted and assembled on the dining room table of the Ambrose home. The collection was refined, typed out by Ambrose’s secretary, sent to the publishing staff to give the resource a more professional look, and then mailed to all pastoral charges across the country.

Fifty years later, Gathering is now a quarterly publication shared online at and in print around the world. The Rev. Susan Lukey, editor, says she is privileged to be entrusted with the worship materials that worship leaders submit.

Gathering has been, and always will be, a collection of worship resources by worship leaders who have developed these materials for use in their own congregation,” she says. “Gathering only works because people share what they are creating.”

“It’s truly a community of love and care behind it,” Alydia Smith, Network Coordinator (Worship, Music and Spirituality), says. “It’s quite the accomplishment.”

The new online platform,, is updated year-round to include additional resources and bonus material for each issue. If you subscribe to Gathering, you automatically have access to the print and online resources.

More information can be found in the “Exploring Gathering at 50 Years” blog.

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