August 07, 2009 12:00 ET

Reminder: United Church General Council Meets in Kelowna August 9–15

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor TORONTO/ONTARIO/MEDIA ADVISORY--(Marketwire - Aug. 7, 2009) -

Canada's largest Protestant denomination, The United Church of Canada, is holding its 40th General Council in Kelowna, British Columbia, August 9-15, 2009. The meetings will take place on the campus of the University of British Columbia-Okanagan. Delegates are being housed in student residences, and the gymnasium will serve as the main meeting space.

On Sunday, August 9, the opening day of General Council, a public worship service begins at 10:30 a.m. A large number of additional visitors from local United Churches are expected to attend this worship service.

The General Council is a national gathering of close to 400 delegates called commissioners. Commissioners are selected by the church's 13 regional Conferences and represent an equal number of lay and ordered men and women. In addition, more than 300 guests, observers, youth, children, staff, and volunteers will be present for the week-long gathering.

The General Council meets every three years to elect a new Moderator and to approve new church policies. The last meeting of the General Council took place in Thunder Bay, Ontario, in August 2006.

A total of 173 proposals for action are coming before the 40th General Council. While many of these proposals deal with matters that are primarily of interest only to the United Church, many also address more general issues of concern:

* the environment
* peace in the Middle East
* presumed consent for organ donation
* Employment Insurance emergency measures
* protection of agricultural land and local food security
* Canada-Colombia free-trade agreement
* return of Omar Khadr to Canada
* support for refugees coming to Canada
* emergency landing lights for Bella Bella Hospital

Reports coming before the 40th General Council include one that deals with the nature and meaning of ministry leadership, and a background paper on the state of the church. The latter, while not an action item itself, is intended to help inform all of the decisions being made by commissioners at this General Council.

In addition, time will be spent discussing a report dealing with a vision for revitalizing French ministries in The United Church of Canada, and a report evaluating the three-year Emerging Spirit/WonderCafe initiative. This initiative, which was approved at the last General Council, focused on establishing and nurturing the relationship of the United Church with Canadians between the ages of 30 and 45 who are not part of any organized faith group.

As always the election of the new Moderator will likely draw considerable media interest, particularly in the communities where the nominees live. Thus far there are six nominees for Moderator: three from Ontario (Brantford, Braeside in the Ottawa Valley area, and Toronto), two from Manitoba (Winnipeg and Oxford House), and one from British Columbia (Hazelton). The election of the new Moderator is scheduled for Friday, August 14, followed by the installation service on the evening of August 15.

Throughout General Council, a complete news and information service will be available to reporters both on-site and off. Most information, including the daily agenda and documentation related to the 40th General Council, is being posted online at You will also find a link to this website from The United Church of Canada's homepage at

In addition to daily news reports from a team of writers covering events as they happen, there will also be video clips posted on YouTube and live streaming of most proceedings of General Council will be carried on the 40th General Council website. An accompanying website,, is dedicated to French-language coverage of the 40th General Council.

Reporters are invited to register to receive regular updates of 40th General Council news at

As well as our regular news reports, for the first time ever General Council coverage will include the use of social media vehicles such as Flickr, Twitter, WonderCafe discussion threads and popular blogging services.
/For further information:
Mary-Frances Denis
Program Coordinator, Media and Public Relations
The United Church of Canada
416-231-7680 ext. 2016 (office until August 5, 2009)
416-400-7273 (cell/voice mail August 5–18, 2009)
250-807-9451 (August 7-16, 2009) PLEASE NOTE THIS PHONE DOES NOT HAVE VOICE MAIL

Contact Information

  • Mary-Frances Denis, Program Coordinator, Media and Public Relations, The United Church of Canada
    Primary Phone: 416-231-7680 ext. 2016
    Toll-Free: 800-268-3781