The 15 nominees for the 41st moderator of The United Church of Canada. From left: Rev. Ross Bartlett, Rev. Gary Clark, Rev. Arlen Bonnar, Rev. Jeff Cook, Rev. Sally Boyle, Rev. Orville James, Moses Kanhai, Rev. John Lawson, Rev. David Fines, Rev. Gary Paterson, Rev. Lisa Potter, Rev. Tom Sherwood, Rev. John Young, Rev. Paul Reed, Rev. Barry Pridham. Photo by David Wilson
Moderator nominees make their pitches to commissioners
By David Wilson
The 350 commissioners gathered in Ottawa for the third day of The United Church of Canada’s 41st General Council meeting heard a myriad of visions for the future from a record slate of nominees for the church’s next elected leader.
Representing 11 of the church’s 13 regional Conferences, the 15 nominees include 14 ordained ministers and one layperson. Two nominees are women.
The previous record for moderator nominees was nine, in 2000. What the high number of nominees signifies has led to much water-cooler chat among commissioners. In an accountability report to commissioners, general secretary Nora Sanders said the record slate is “one of the most encouraging and exciting things about this meeting.”
Voting will begin on the morning of day six and continue until one nominee has an absolute majority of votes. The high number of nominees has led to changes in the voting process that will see more nominees than usual dropping out of contention in early balloting.
David Wilson is the editor-publisher of The Observer.
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Anne Bokma left the Dutch Reformed Church as a young adult and eventually became a member of the United Church and then the Unitarian Universalists. Having long explored the "spiritual but not religious" demographic as a writer, she decided to immerse herself in practices — like hiring a soul coach, secular choir-singing and forest bathing — for 12 months to find both enlightenment and entertainment.
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