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Featured Book: The Other Side of the River: From Church Pew to Sweat Lodge


The Other Side of the River: From Church Pew to Sweat Lodge

In The Other Side of the River, United Church of Canada minister Alf Dumont, whose mother was Anishinaabe, shares “what it can mean to be Indigenous and Christian.” The book is a meandering, story-filled account of the author’s spiritual journey: “It has not been an easy journey”. But it began early: “I was born doubting.” “What we need to hear is each other’s stories,” he reckons in a brief UCC video posted to YouTube last summer [“Alf Dumont talks about his memoir”].

What he came to appreciate is that “we can walk with integrity with our beliefs beside others as they walk with their beliefs.” “As searchers-on-the-way, we seek to follow what is right for us…. …My theology and my spiritual interpretations are just that, my own.” He concludes, “I have come to the place in life where I am comfortable with being uncomfortable.” It’s as former UCC moderator Stanley McKay writes in the book’s foreword: Dumont “invites each of us to live freely what we believe.”

Dumont, who’s ministered to several UCC congregations, has been the director of a First Nations theological training centre, and an elder at the Indigenous Services Centre of the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

The Other Side of the River: From Church Pew to Sweat Lodge
By Alf Dumont
United Church Publishing House, 2020

The previous Featured Book, The God Confusion: Why Nobody Knows the Answer to the Ultimate Question, by Gary Cox, is now available in the Library.