The United Church of Canada

The United Church of Canada

August 08, 2012 09:00 ET

United Church General Council Meets in Ottawa August 11-18

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 8, 2012) - Canada's largest Protestant denomination, The United Church of Canada, is holding its 41st General Council in Ottawa, August 11-18, 2012. The meeting will take place on the campus of Carleton University. The Ravens' Nest gymnasium will serve as the main meeting space.

The General Council is a national gathering of more than 350 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, close to 300 guests, observers, youth, children, global partners, staff, and volunteers will be present for the week-long gathering. Although seating may be limited at certain times, members of the general public are welcome to observe the meeting as visitors.

The General Council meets every three years to elect a new Moderator, to pray and worship together, and to approve new church policies. The last meeting of the General Council took place in Kelowna, British Columbia in August, 2009.

Approximately 130 proposals for action are coming before the 41st General Council. Some come from the Executive of the General Council, while others originate from different parts of the church across the country. Commissioners will decide whether to

  • enact changes to the doctrine section of the United Church's Basis of Union. The changes would add the 1940 Statement of Faith, A New Creed, and A Song of Faith to the existing Twenty Articles of Faith that were framed at the United Church's formation in 1925.
  • approve a report that identifies the theological principles that reveal the core values that we hold as a church and that shape our identity as The United Church of Canada.
  • acknowledge the hardship of rural churches.
  • simplify the governance processes as outlined in the United Church's Manual of bylaws.
  • take action on a variety of social justice issues such as child poverty, homelessness, and economic disparity in Canada, Canadian mining activities in the Philippines and Central America, the age of eligibility for Old Age Security, Israel/Palestine, climate change and environmental justice, support for persons living with mental health issues, Indigenous rights and the Doctrine of Discovery, federal funding for the Katimavik program, and the Northern Gateway Pipeline.
  • take a stand against the spreading of gossip.
  • approve a new Crest for the United Church that would reflect the presence of First Nations throughout the history of the church.

All documentation related to the business being dealt with by the 41st General Council is posted online at www.gc41.ca/work.

The election of the new Moderator will also likely draw considerable media interest, particularly in the communities where the nominees live. Thus far there are 15 nominees for Moderator: seven from Ontario, two from Quebec, and one each from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. The election of the new Moderator is scheduled for Thursday, August 16, followed by the installation service on Saturday, August 18, at 10:30 a.m. Vision statements and biographical information about the nominees can be found at www.gc41.ca/moderator-nominees.

Deliberations with regard to the report of the Working Group on Israel/Palestine Policy are currently scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 14.

Throughout General Council, a complete news and information service will be available to reporters both on-site and off. A team of writers is covering events as they happen to produce daily news reports. Updated information, including the daily agenda will be posted online at www.gc41.ca.

Reporters are also invited to register to receive daily updates of General Council News at http://feeds.feedburner.com/gc41News.

We will be live streaming all plenary sessions during the week-long meeting at www.gc41.ca/live.

Social media coverage will also be used for online coverage. Visit www.gc41.ca/social for more on General Council content on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Flickr, and discussion threads on WonderCafe and Caféchange.

Contact Information

  • The United Church of Canada
    Mary-Frances Denis, Media and Public Relations
    416-231-7680 ext. 2016 (office through August 8, 2012)
    416-400-7273 (cell/August 9-18, 2012)
    613-520-2676 (Newsroom/August 10-18, 2012)
    mdenis@united-church.ca