Yesterday I shared the following on Facebook (inspired by my friend Richard Bott):
Hello, FB friends.
Many of you know that I’m a minister in The United Church of Canada. Some of you may know that The United Church of Canada is going through a massive restructuring process. From Comprehensive Salaries to governance structures, to oversight of ministers, to… well… suffice it to say, no matter what happens, The United Church of Canada won’t look like it does after this summer, no matter what decisions are made.
Some of you will shrug and say, “That’s the church for ya! About time it blew up”, which is fine. We’ll have that discussion another day.
Some of you come from church traditions. I love that and am thankful for you all.
Here’s what I’m getting at… The United Church of Canada needs help. Big time.
So I’m asking. If you are a person who prays, please hold the United Church of Canada in prayer. We need to pray for the following things:
For compassion and clarity of purpose and direction and sacred living.
For hope and wonder and love and life.
For the guidance of Jesus Christ in our future and our decision making.
For whatever you could offer?
Our General Council meets this August. Between now and then, and after then, there will be angst and fear. I know. I’m feeling a lot of it myself.
Many thanks, and blessings on your journey.
It probably needs some explaining.
The United Church of Canada is Canada’s largest protestant denomination. We like to toot our own horns and say we have more churches than there are Tim Horton’s franchises. The problem is we also have a lot of overhead costs to maintain this denominational structure as it is today. In short, we need to cut up to $18 million dollars from our national budget.
And so, for about the last 2 years a national committee has been exploring options as to how we might look in the very near future. Last week they released their final report for all to see.
It is a drastic restructuring of our church, which is needed. However, this report does not seem to reflect many of the concerns lifted up a year ago when a draft document was released. There are concerns over accountability, education, ministry personnel issues, pastoral charge oversight, costs, and how the actual structure may fall into place.
In short, there are still a lot of questions. Too many questions that I can’t see being answered when General Council meets this summer to debate this proposal, which will then turn to our churches to vote on these huge changes.
At some point I will look to document some of those concerns and questions here. But not right away, I’m still processing.
Again, I fully believe we need a new structure in the United Church of Canada. I’m just not fully convinced this is the best one moving forward.
In the meantime, just like I did on Facebook, I ask you to join me, and many other people, in praying fervently for my denomination, the United Church of Canada. We need Jesus Christ to show us the way to serve God’s people for the next generations to come.