Staff and Council News

August 7, 2018

The United Church elected its 43rd Moderator, the Right Rev. Dr. Richard Bott.

Born in Marathon, ON, on the traditional and unceded territory of the Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, and ordained in 1994, the Rev. Bott has lived his life “as a beloved child of God” within the United Church. He has served communities of faith in Ontario and British Columbia, most recently Pacific Spirit United Church in Vancouver, and is well known for his skills as a leader, writer, and educator, and an active user of social media.

Elected at the 43rd General Council in Oshawa, ON, in July 2018, Bott spoke about the need for the church to build trust, and to not be afraid to talk about our collective purpose. He offered this as a starting point: “To help people to enter into and deepen their relationship with God … through the stories and person of Jesus of Nazareth. How do we do that? With the most radical love that we know: a true love of Holy Mystery, a true love of ourselves, and a true love of all other parts and people in God’s creation.”

 

Remit Enactment Means Major Structural Changes for the Church

GC43 enacted all seven remits that originated at GC42 three years ago. Remit enactment represents one of the biggest structural changes in the history of The United Church of Canada. Before reaching the floor of GC43, a strong majority of pastoral charges and presbyteries voted in favour of the remits.

“Now the stage is set for a new structure that will take us into the years ahead,” says David Allen, Remit Implementation Project Leader with the United Church. “We can look forward to how the new structures will reflect our faithfulness to God in the future.”

There was interest in deferring the vote on Remit 1: Three Council Model to later in the week to allow for further discussion. However, a strong majority of Commissioners voted in favour of enacting remit 1 with the other remits.

Below is a snapshot of each remit. You can find detailed information online.

Remit 1: Three Council Model

This remit represents a major change to the structure of the church—presbyteries and Conferences will no longer exist. The new structure will be made up of three councils, or levels, with specific ministries and responsibilities: communities of faith, regional councils, and a denominational council. There will also be clusters and networks—communities of common interests, mission, and support. A parallel but distinct process is ongoing in the Indigenous Church.

Remit 2: Elimination of Transfer and Settlement

Settlement and Transfer committees will no longer exist. Communities of faith will find their own ministers through their needs assessment and search committees.

Remit 3: Office of Vocation

The church will have a new Office of Vocation overseen by an elected body that honours intercultural mission and ministry in church. This Office will manage all things related to ministry, and elect a Board of Vocation comprised of ministers and laypeople from across the church. The Office is accountable to this board. With input from regional councils, the Board will establish standards for education, training, admissions, and accreditation.

Remit 4: Funding a New Model

There will be one assessment model to fund the denominational and regional councils that is more equitable and transparent, and fairly recognizes rural and smaller congregations’ financial constraints. The denominational council will assess pastoral charges to cover the costs of governance and support services. Governance and associated support services at all levels of the church will be funded through assessments. A consistent, revenue-based assessment formula (4.5 percent) will replace the more than 30 different formulas currently in place. Mission & Service donations will be used solely to fund the church’s ministry and mission.

Remit 5: Ministry Partners within Mutual Recognition Agreements

A new ministry status—ministry partner—will identify ministers serving in the United Church under mutual recognition agreements. While under appointment or call, a ministry partner would be equivalent to an ordered minister in terms of membership and responsibilities. Ministry partners will be eligible for calls or appointments just like any other United Church minister. A similar category and process for ministry partners is being created in partner denominations.

Remit 7: Candidacy Pathway

There will be a new, flexible process for becoming a member of the Order of Ministry (ordained or diaconal minister.) The Candidacy Pathway will allow those who feel called to ministry leadership to enter the pathway through the candidacy boards within the Office of Vocation. In the pathway each candidate will move through the phases of the pathway in ways that suit their own situation. There will also be ongoing conversation about how the pathway may best work for intercultural churches.

Remit 8: A Step Towards a New Model of Membership

Full members will now allow adherents to vote on all matters at community of faith meetings. This change will allow local ministries to vary their membership policy to suit their situations.

 

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June 13, 2018

UCC CHANGES / REMIT ACTION / GC 43 JULY 2018/LONDON CONFERENCE ANNUAL MEETING

The planning for the possible changes arising from the remits on structural change of the denomination is evolving.

POSSIBLE PASTORAL RELATIONS CHANGES, 5 things that may look different

  1. Expanding models of covenant and understanding of covenant to reflect different types of pastoral relationships [more than congregations]
  2. Joint needs assessment report may be replaced with profiles. One profile will be created by ministry unit [congregation].  Will include a living faith story and ministry needs within given categories.   A second profile will be created by each ministry personnel member.
  3. The creation of an online to hub to which the profiles will be uploaded becoming a place where congregations/ministry personnel can discover covenant possibilities.

[Electronic meet ups.  Think e-harmony for the church.]  Congregations can also approach ministry personnel in other ways and also proceed to the hub to meet gather their information.

  1. Role of the Presbytery reps will now move to the Regional Councils and the liaison between the congregating and the Presbytery rep. will change slightly. Regional Councils will still be responsible for providing support to congregations in the process.
  2. Some modification to the policy around when a congregational meeting must be called, changed.

OFFICE OF VOCATIONS, some proposals going forward…

  1. Data base where all ministry profiles are located. Ministry personnel will be able to access their entire file, be able to request changes in they see errors, change contact information when moving, add continuing education as it occurs.
  2. Ministry Personnel when searching for a call will upload resume, skills and gifts, within the given categories.
  3. Will include retired ministry personnel.

NEW FINANCIAL MODEL

A webinar on “A New Financial Model,” with the United Church’s Chief Financial Officer Erik Mathiesen who will describe what the new financial model will mean for our pastoral charge and for the mission of the United Church as a whole.

43rd GENERAL COUNCIL, July 21-27, Oshawa, in addition to the business, includes a Festival of Faith

www.generalcouncil43.ca

  • Numerous workshops
  • Mass Opening Worship Service, inviting all to relocate for worship, expecting upwards of 2000 people, will also be live streamed Sunday July 22, 10am.
  • All congregations invited to participate in workshops, worship, a fun run/walk, hear stories of innovation and hope

 

FROM LONDON CONFERENCE ANNUAL MEETING

  1. Two petitions were passed.
    1. London Conference declared itself to be an Affirming Conference. This does not change requirements for individual congregations but congregations are encouraged to undertake the Affirming work.
    2. London Conference apologized for the hurtful words within the 1988 petition that was sent in response to the UCC document “Towards a Christian Understanding of Sexual Orientation, Lifestyles and Ministry”. An example of such wording…  “Affirm that the practice of homosexuality is a sin.”

 

  1. Pensions change—cannot work in ministry for 13 weeks following retirement date. If returning to work when retired, the appointment must be to a substantially different ministry position than the one you retired from.

 

  1. Hoping that the notice of assessment will be coming to congregations in early November.

 

  1. Be mindful and prayer for those undertaking the work of these transitions.
  • Assume best intentions.
  • Be patient with each other.
  • Offer helpful feedback.
  • Remember if you want a risk big enough to create change there is no safety net big enough to catch everything.
  • Many of the same routine tasks will need to occur but this is an opportunity to do so with a new and hopeful spirit. Aim not just for transition but for transformation into a church that is ever more passionate for God and God’s mission for the church.

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In 2019 two Courts of the United Church of Canada, the Presbytery and the Conference, will cease.  These governing bodies will be replaced by a Regional Council model.

After consultation a Commission decided that there will be 16 Regional Councils.  We will be located in RC7 which will consist of 141 Pastoral Charges, including all pastoral charges in the current Presbyteries of Elgin, Essex, Kent, Lambton, Middlesex, and Oxford.  One significant early decision of the Commission was to honour a request from the Caretakers of Our Indigenous Circle to engage in a distinct process to decide their relationships within the new church structure.  When that report has been received it will be communicated to the larger church.

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March 23, 2018

As implementation of the structural changes to our denomination continues, new appointments are being made to give support to the newly created regions.

Our congregation is in the new Region 9.  The provisional Executive Secretary for Regions 7, 8, and 9 (southwestern Ontario up to the Bruce Peninsula) is Cheryl-Ann Stadelbauer-Sampa, the current Executive Secretary of London Conference.

 

March 7, 2018

REMIT UPDATE VOTING RESULTS

Remit 6: One Order of Ministry was not approved by a majority of the 85 voting presbyteries and 2,137 voting pastoral charges of The United Church of Canada.
As a result, our Order of Ministry continues to embrace both diaconal ministry and ordained ministry. In 2018 presbyteries will continue to recognize designated lay ministry applicants and designated lay ministers.

 

 

A Follow Up to the Annual Meeting of Feb. 11, 2017                                              

February 22, 2018

One of the questions raised at the meeting was, “what has been the response of the UCC to the world refugee crisis?”

When the call went out for sponsors of Syrian refugees, White Oaks United Church discussed the possibility of sponsoring a family but it was decided that it did not have the resources of money and people to do the work well.

When Calvary United Church sought help in supporting a family it was sponsoring, WOUC submitted an application for financial support to Middlesex Council for $5000 for refugee sponsorship as a minor partner in their endeavor.  That application was approved and the monies given to Calvary.  In addition, when specific items such as clothing and furniture were needed by the sponsored family on their arrival, WOUC posted in the Sunday bulletin and on a board in the church hallway the requests.  Individual people of the congregation responded as they could.

The last more easily accessible date on refugee sponsorship by the United Church of Canada as a whole appears in the 2015 Annual Report publication of the UCC.

In general, this 2015 report lists 7 million raised by congregations and donors to sponsor Syrian refugees.  Over 500 Syrian refugees welcomed to Canada.  $0.9 million donations for Syrian refugee camps.  Thousands of Canadian Food Grains Bank food boxes delivered for Syrian families.

That report can be found on line at

https://commons.united-church.ca/Documents/Communications,%20Publications%20and%20Media/Publications/Annual%20Reports/2015%20Annual%20Report.pdf

For people interested in knowing how refugee sponsorship and support works, that information can be found at

http://www.united-church.ca/social-action/justice-initiatives/sponsor-refugee

http://www.united-church.ca/social-action/act-now/support-refugees-fleeing-united-states