In a small community church in The United Church of Canada tradition, according to the Manitoulin Expositor, there has been a call for a resolution to make a change in the national policy of The United Church of Canada.
“At the second-ever cluster meeting of United Churches in the Manitoulin, Espanola and North Shore regions, the host Little Current Pastoral Charge (LCPC) presented a resolution regarding the ministerial appointment of an atheistic minister in a Toronto united church,” the report said.
The Chair, Scott Mosher, of the Church Council of LCPC requested the endorsement and general support of the community to move this to the regional council and the national church. He wanted letters, in agreement, from the members of the community.
On the history of the request, as reported, “The group’s action on this front dates back to January, when the church council sent a letter to the United Church of Canada in protest of its decision to allow Rev. Gretta Vosper remain as the minister of West Hill United Church in Toronto, despite her public stance as an atheist.”
With early February, 2019, Rev. Alan W. Hall sent a note to Mr. Mosher. Hall is the Executive Officer of Ministry and Employment and Human Resources in The UCC. Hall stated that the settlement process changed the role within the national level of The UCC.
Hall described how with the change in the process for a settlement, the general council did not have authority for a formal hearing. The LCPC was concerned about precedents being set into the future because of this decision. He – Hall – affirmed that the letter did not involved precedent.
Hall wrote, “Its conclusion in no way changes or influences denominational policy or doctrine. Nor does it establish a precedent that binds any future complaint.”
Any changes to the faith requirements would need several years and a transparent set of decisions with a full majority of affirmations. It would be a hard slog into the future. Hall retained confidence in The UCC into the future in terms of the “integrity of the faith and the doctrine.”
Mosher and others felt as though their concerns did not fully get addressed. The Pastor of LCPC, Paul Allard, stated that settlement left a bit of sourness in the mouth of the individuals involved in the community at LCPC.
The article stated, “Mr. Mosher told the gathered meeting that a September 2016 report into Rev. Vosper’s ministry had deemed her not suitable to continue as an ordained minister. However, a statement released in November 2018 from Toronto Conference stating that the issues had been settled and Rev. Vosper would remain in the ordained ministry at West Hill. He wondered aloud what had changed between the two dates.”
Studies indicate about 1/3rd of the churches in Canada – presumably for The UCC – will close within the next decade.
Allard stated, “We’re not trying to go after anybody, we would just like to see that, going forward, the United Church tighten its procedural matters in these regards a little more closely.”
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.
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