Frequently asked questions about the eight remits now before the church

Presbyteries and pastoral charges were asked to go to to read eight remits and their accompanying study guides. These proposals, if accepted, will fundamentally change The United Church of Canada, so it is no surprise that many people have been requesting more information. We’ve assembled some of the questions here, and we hope the accompanying answers will help everyone make informed choices in the months ahead. What is a remit? A remit is the middle step of a three-step process required to change the Basis of Union, and hence the church. The first step is that General Council must approve a remit for a proposed change. The remit question is then put to presbyteries and possibly pastoral charges, which must approve it with an absolute majority. If that approval is given, the third step is for the next General Council to also agree to the proposed change. According to The Manual, 2013 (F.2, page 125): a remit is “a vote by presbyteries or by presbyteries and … [Read more...]

Comprehensive Review Task Group Releases Report

Comprehensive Review Task Group Releases Report Français After two years of intensive study and consultation, the Comprehensive Review Task Group is recommending major changes to The United Church of Canada that would revitalize and nurture a range of ministries, simplify governance and administration, and enable the church to live within its resources.   “We believe God is doing a new thing and is calling us to change dramatically so we can participate fully in God’s mission,” explains the Rev. Cathy Hamilton, chair of the task group. “Our current organizational structure is simply not sustainable from the point of view of either our volunteers or our finances.”   “We have consulted broadly across the church and are recommending six significant changes in the way the church operates and in its priorities. We feel these changes would carry the church into the 21st century and open us up to new possibilities and ministries,” Hamilton added.   The 42nd … [Read more...]

United Church Members Are Being Asked to Sign a Pledge for Medicare

Toronto: For 60 years The United Church of Canada has advocated in support of universal health care. Now the church is calling on its members to sign the Medicare Pledge launched by the Canadian Health Coalition, a public advocacy organization dedicated to the preservation and improvement of Medicare.  The Medicare Pledge is part of an ongoing campaign spearheaded by the coalition, of which the United Church is a member. In part, the pledge says that “quality health care must be based on need, not ability to pay” and that we “must improve our public health care for everyone, instead of expanding private for-profit services that benefit only a few.” So far over 10,000 Canadians and more than 100 organizations, including the United Church, have signed the pledge. The United Church’s call for its members to sign the Medicare Pledge comes just days before a National Day of Action for a New Health Accord on March 31. The day of action coincides with the date that the current health … [Read more...]

Report on Comprehensive Review Conversations

Communities of faith value highly The United Church of Canada’s identity as a welcoming and justice-seeking church, but want simpler and more effective governance and understand the church needs to change in response to challenging times. These are just some of the key findings of a report on facilitated conversations with more than 600 congregations and other communities of faith across Canada who shared their hopes and dreams for the church with the Comprehensive Review Task Group between April 2013 and January 2014. “We have been listening carefully to what communities of faith have told us, and we are grateful that so many took part in this important conversation about our future,” said the Rev. Cathy Hamilton, chair of the task group. The results of these conversations are helping the task group shape preliminary structural options that will be shared with the church shortly, and are a key step toward building recommendations for the 42nd General Council in … [Read more...]

Update letter about The United Church of Canada

  Dear Friends, Easter greetings to you! We hope that this note finds you well. As a Church, we recently moved from Lent into Easter; we have just come through a time of reflection and prayer on death and resurrection, endings and new beginnings. The current context of The United Church of Canada is also one where we are considering how some aspects of our church’s life will soon come to a difficult end, and where we will prayerfully reflect on the Spirit’s work in creating new life for our church’s ministry. It is in this spirit that we offer to you this update letter about the church in this time. Like many mainline churches in North America, we in The United Church of Canada are in the midst of challenging times: changing forms of church, changing contexts for ministry, changing human and financial resources, and changing generations of members and leaders. We are being challenged to live out God’s mission in different ways than in the past. The United Church’s … [Read more...]

Church Says Limits to Freedom of Religion Are Reasonable

Toronto: In a statement released this afternoon, the Moderator of The United Church of Canada, the Right Rev. Gary Paterson, welcomed today's Supreme Court ruling that says there are limits to freedom of religion when it comes to hate speech. "Freedom of religion is not absolute," says Paterson. "It does not include the right to engage in religiously motivated hate speech, and it does not extend to conduct that harms or interferes with the rights of others." Today's court decision, explains Paterson, confirms the position taken by the United Church when it appeared before the Supreme Court in October 2011 as an intervener in the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission versus William Whatcott appeal. That appeal originated with a human rights complaint that was filed in Saskatchewan against William Whatcott, an activist who was found guilty and fined for distributing anti-gay flyers that he said expressed his religious beliefs about homosexuals. This ruling was later overturned by … [Read more...]

United Church Moderator Invites Acts of Hope and Encouragement

  La traduction française de ce communiqué de presse est disponible à :   For Immediate Release Tuesday, January 8, 2013   United Church Moderator Invites Acts of Hope and Encouragement   Toronto: In a video posted today on The United Church of Canada's YouTube Channel, the church's Moderator, the Right Rev. Gary Paterson, is inviting Canadians to join with him this Friday in offering signs of encouragement to government and First Nations leaders who will be meeting that day. "This call to action is being made to encourage Canadians to demonstrate their support for the January 11 meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a delegation of First Nations leaders, including Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence," explains Paterson.   For some people, he says, the response to this call may mean a day … [Read more...]