UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

Day Three

Review of church operations and structure could lead to sweeping changes

By Mike Milne

Faced with an aging, shrinking membership and eroding national church finances, United Church leaders meeting in Ottawa this week decided to name a special task group to spell out the denomination’s vision and propose new ways of operating and working.

General Council voted to ask its Executive to name a five- to seven-member task group by the time it meets this fall, to “look at all significant aspects of the organization and operations of The United Church of Canada in all its courts.”

The first and perhaps hardest of the group’s tasks will be figuring out how to eliminate one of the church’s four courts, now including congregations, Presbyteries, Conferences and General Council. A proposal to eliminate Presbyteries failed to pass a church-wide vote 10 years ago. But as the General Council’s finance chair Don Hunter told commissioners Sunday, “We can’t afford the structure we have.” The review should provide “an opportunity to look at our processes to make them slimmer, faster and clearer,” he added.

Commissioners voted unanimously in favour of the review, but were told clearly by general secretary Nora Sanders that some of the church’s work will not survive.

“Comprehensive review doesn’t always mean bad news,” said Rev. Cathy Collins Barker of Windsor, Ont. “It means tension, but one of the things we have to remember is that without a vision, we as a church will perish.  When there are things let go, new hope rises.”

Over the next three years, the church will be consulted and asked for input on new models for church governance and staffing. The review task group will report regularly to General Council Executive as well as General Council commissioners.



Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

If statues could talk

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Stolen Mother

by Observer Staff

The daughter and adoptive mother of one of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women share their story

Promotional Image

Society

July 2017

From far and wide

by Various Writers

Meet 11 immigrants who are putting down new roots

World

June 2017

A suitcase for Cuba

by Christopher Levan

You’ll find more than giveaway toiletries and hand-me-downs in the writer's luggage. Each carefully chosen gift offers a glimpse into the lives of Cubans today.

Justice

June 2017

Undocumented

by Kristy Woudstra

Up to half a million people are living in Canada without official status. The ‘sanctuary city’ movement is growing, but the fear of deportation persists.

World

June 2017

Resisting genocide

by Sally Armstrong

In August 2014, ISIS attacked Iraq’s Yazidis, slaughtering thousands and forcing women and girls into sexual slavery. Today, the survivors are fighting for their ancient way of life.

Society

April 2017

Dear Grandkids

by Various Writers

Six acclaimed Canadian authors write letters from the heart

Society

March 2017

Called to resist

by Paul Wilson

Liberal Christians in the United States test their faith against a demagogue

Promotional Image