UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds
Only Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador remain within their former Conference boundaries.

United Church of Canada proposes new regional boundaries

The UCC has mapped out new regions.

By Mike Milne

Editor's note: At the end of February, the Boundaries Commission released its final report with 16 new regional councils. You can read the report here

A key element of the restructured United Church of Canada took clearer shape in mid-January, when General Council’s boundaries commission released its interim report. Complete with maps locating current pastoral charges, it sketches out 17 new regions to replace Conferences and Presbyteries.

Only Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador remain within their former Conference boundaries. Other Conferences have been split in two, including British Columbia, Alberta and Northwest, and Maritime.

With their own governing councils, regions will form part of a new three-council structure, intended to simplify governance and reduce costs and volunteer time. The structure was approved in church-wide votes last June and will likely be finalized when General Council meets in Oshawa, Ont., in July. An overarching denominational council will continue most functions of General Council, while individual communities of faith (mainly current pastoral charges) will have their own councils.

In a webinar used to introduce the report and field questions, commission chair Rev. Andrew Richardson of Summerside, P.E.I., said the number of regions (more than the original range of 12 to 15 set by general secretary Nora Sanders) was based on geography, relationships among faith communities, capacity to fulfil regional responsibilities, and culture — including language, theology and history.

The Indigenous church is not included in the proposed regions. The boundary commission is honouring a request from the Caretakers of Our Indigenous Circle to allow the Indigenous church to undergo its own process to determine its relationships within the new church structure.

Pastoral charges, Presbyteries and Conferences had until the end of January to formally request boundary changes. The most likely to do so was British Columbia Conference, where the Executive and several Presbyteries and pastoral charges passed motions opposed to the division of the Conference into a coastal and an interior region.

The decision-making commission will release its final report — likely with revisions — on March 15.

Richardson said General Council’s staff remit implementation team will deal with regional staffing and funding, but warned, “It’s not business as usual. . . . We are headed for some very different ways of doing things in the church.”


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!

Faith

The author is baptized at Central United in Calgary. (Photo courtesy of Al Coe)

Why I got baptized in a United Church at the age of 42

by Jacqueline Mercer-Livesey

"I told myself that I didn’t need to go to church to believe in God. I found peace and the Holy Spirit in the things that surrounded me. But still, there was a nagging sense of something missing."

Promotional Image

Observations

Editor/Publisher of The Observer, Jocelyn Bell.

Observations: The rewards of letting go

by Jocelyn Bell

Editor Jocelyn Bell reflects on the upcoming changes for The United Church of Canada, the magazine and in her own life.

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Two nurses tackle Vancouver's opioid crisis

Richard Moore is a resident of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. In this poignant interview, he explains the important work of nurses Evanna Brennan and Susan Giles.

Promotional Image

Faith

July 2018

250 United Church leaders have a message for Doug Ford

by Emma Prestwich

They're urging the new Ontario premier to remember those in need as he carries out promised economic reform.

Culture

July 2018

Tracing Nelson Mandela’s path a century after his birth

by Tim Johnson

A travel writer visits some of the places that shaped the anti-apartheid icon’s life.

Interviews

July 2018

Jamil Jivani sheds light on why young men radicalize

by Suzanne Bowness

In his book 'Why Young Men,' Jamil Jivani talks about his own experience as a troubled youth.

Promotional Image