You can also purchase "Fishing Tips" on Sundays at the back of the Heritage Room or through the office: 403-283-1539.

Fishing Tips

How Curiosity Transformed a Community of Faith

This book is for leaders, councils, boards, and small groups who want to invite true change that matters.

Fishing Tips is an open invitation to be curious. Using an acient story as inspiration, John Pentland reflects on how Hillhurst United said "Yes" to throwing the nets on the other side of convention. The result was innovative, invigorating and transformative.

"John Pentland has the amazing ability to communicate workable ideas that will help your church to grow. These are not just ideas he thought of, but things he has put into practice and seen that they really work. We need the Christian church to be a vibrant alternative and this book will show you how to get there." - Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes, C.M. Senior Pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto

"One of the great and revealing things about Fishing Tips is that for people implicated in the struggle to free the church this book can be aggravating - always a sign that something tender or precious is being probed. Another of the great things about this book is that it is the product of great love."

- The Very Rev. Dr. Peter Short, 38th Moderator of The United Church of Canada

"In our current 'church-land' context the themes of the day are most frequently decline, disenchantment and disengagement. John’s book presents a refreshing alternative ... the story of a congregation that is growing, inspiring and engaging the wider community! The 'fishing tips' he presents, as lesson learned by Hillhurst United Church, offers practical and transferable ideas for congregations and church leaders seeking renewal and transformation."

- Sue Browning

Who is John Pentland?

John Pentland is an innovative community builder, creative visionary, and inspiring leader.

Hillhurst United has more than quadrupled its membership, adding a second, and now a third service with John at the helm since 2005. He transformed Hillhurst into an important, inclusive gathering place where everyone is welcome.

John is from Ontario, and studied at Queen's University, the University of Toronto, Princeton University, and the University of Chicago, earning his D.Min. in 2002.

He lives in the Kensington/Hillhurst community, is married to Anna and together they parent four children, Jesse, Josh, Allie, and Charlotte.

He believes that we are experiencing the “most exciting spiritual time” and goes on to say that “People are searching for meaning and they want a place to belong. They want a place to question. Same old, same old doesn’t work. Churches need to figure out who they are and what they can do best. ” With one foot in the church, and one in the community, John passionately lives the concept of “bringing the church to the street”.

If you are interested in having John speak about “Fishing Tips” or other related subjects, please contact him through the Hillhurst office at


Calgary Herald: How a forward-thinking minister built a vibrant, growing and important community in Calgary by Annalise Klingbeil

UC Observer: The Hillhurst Effect by Lyle Aspinall

Media Inquiries: Sydney Morin at

© 2020- Hillhurst United Church

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Hillhurst United Church

1227 Kensington Close NW | Calgary, AB | T2N 3J6

phone: 403-283-1539   email:

The office is open Monday to Thursday from 10:00am to 3:30pm


Sunday  Services: Online at 10 am (MST). 

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