parkdale united church

429 Parkdale Avenue, OTTAWA, Ontario K1Y 1H3



40 Days of Prayer and Faith Sharing

October 8, 2012 – November 18, 2012



Frequently Asked Questions 

Answered by Rev. Dr. Anthony Bailey


Why is it important for me to participate in Unbinding Your Heart?


I want to assume that if people are connecting with Parkdale United in some way, they want to explore the relationship of their life to faith and to God. Using small groups and a discussion guide with a prayer journal, Unbinding Your Heart (UYH) is a way in which we can deepen our relationship with God, get to know others in the congregation, practice prayer, and listen to and share stories of faith and each other’s lives in a safe and confidential context. Plus, we will be doing it all together as a congregation. How cool is that?


I think you will be pleasantly surprised about how beneficial this will be for you. Through this prayer and faith-sharing initiative, I am excited – and I think you will be too - about what God will do here at Parkdale in terms of our growing in: faith, vitality, prayer, increased participation in ministries and programs, connectedness with one another, outreach to the neighbourhood, and hospitality.



I’m a busy person - how much time will this take?


Your small group will meet between 1 and 1.5 hours a week for six weeks. There is one easily readable chapter per week. The exercises in the daily prayer journal will take you between 12 – 30 minutes. In addition, each participant will be invited to connect (i.e. telephone or in person) with one other person in your small group – your prayer partner – once per week. This six-week journey is a special investment of time and commitment to your spiritual and personal well-being; truly worth it! I really hope you will make the time.




Will there be a variety of times at which the small groups will meet?


Absolutely! Small groups will be meeting at different days and times during the week. When you are ready to register you can check out those times and see which one best suits you. We are also hoping to have groups for senior youth (ages 15-19) and young adults (age 20+). The majority of the group leaders have already experienced a slightly extended version of the UYH and are eager to share their positive experience with the rest of the congregation and beyond.




What if I am a shy person and not really into groups?


I honour that. However, we have been hearing consistently positive things from those in the congregation who identify themselves as shy, introverted or non-joiners and who have experienced the Unbinding-style small group. They have been pleasantly surprised by the ‘no-pressure’, welcoming, relaxed style of the group experience, and many have admitted to personal growth in the area of shyness. So all I can say is give it a chance, and take a small step of faith.




Is it true this Unbinding Your Heart has something to do with evangelism?


The short answer is yes. The truth is, most people in our congregation, denomination and indeed in the society have a negative view of the word “evangelism”. Largely that has to do with the stereotype of high pressure, guilt-inducing, judgemental coercion of people into accepting Christianity. But that is not what we are about.


The word ‘evangelism’ literally refers to the activity of “sharing good news”; of course there are honouring and not so honouring ways of doing that. In fact, the only reason we are even talking about evangelism and are even involved in a congregation is because of evangelism. Jesus commanded his disciples to go out and share the good news of God’s love, grace, forgiveness, justice and salvation. And because they did, voila, the Church was formed and here we are.


UYH is about rekindling our faith, deepening our love of God through prayer, and growing in our commitment to follow the way of Christ. What springs forth from this kind of experience of God is a natural desire to share the good news of it in our relationships, friendships, and work in the community. It’s not about pressuring anybody; it’s about sharing our life, stories, faith and experiences with others as well as listening to theirs. In that genuine exchange of hospitality, an invitation can be offered to explore more deeply what a life in God might be like.


The people of Parkdale are loving people. Though not perfectly, we love God, we love one another, we love our family and friends, and we love our neighbourhood. When we love others we truly want to share the best of who we are and what we have with them. Unbinding Your Heart will help us to do this better.




How much will this cost me?


Each participant will be given a manual/prayer journal entitled: Unbinding Your Heart: 40 Days of Prayer and Faith Sharing, written by Martha Grace Reese. Parkdale is providing these with the hope that we might re-coup the bulk of the cost of the books. We are asking each participant for a donation of $15 to help to do this -  keeping in mind that some may not be able to afford this while others are able to cover the cost for themselves and a couple of others as well. It will all work out. This is primarily about an investment in the faith, prayer and communal life of the congregation of Parkdale United. Let us trust God together.



Listen to Questions Asked By Parkdale Congregation

June 24, 2012


For more information please send an email to
or call the Church Office at 613-728-8656.