A Word to the 42nd General Council of The United Church of Canada
Dear Sisters and Brothers, on behalf of the global, ecumenical and interfaith delegation to the 42nd General Council of The United Church of Canada we bring you greetings in your 90th year as a united and uniting church. Our delegation wishes the United Church God’s blessings at this important assembly.
We thank Moderator Gary Paterson for his leadership in and beyond this church over the past 3 years. We look forward to working with the new moderator elected from the excellent slate of candidates and to further engagement with General Secretary Nora Sanders, Executive Minister Michael Blair and other United Church staff and members.
We thank the people of Newfoundland and Labrador for their generous hospitality. For many of us the history and experience of communities here echo experiences where we live. We feel at home here.
We are a diverse delegation of different faith groups, global partner churches and ecumenical partners in Canada and the world. We relate to the United Church in many different ways and we treasure the United Church of Canada’s willingness to be open and inclusive. We have experienced and celebrate a core commitment of the United Church to active engagement, working with others, to renew and restore right relations with all peoples and creation.
We are impressed with the careful way many different cultural expressions are woven into the community. We have seen and heard a lived expression of the United Church commitment to becoming an intercultural church. We feel ourselves a part of the community of discernment at this critical time. We are family. We belong together.
At this time – facing structural, financial and demographic challenges - it is tempting to turn inward to find solutions. You may feel alone in facing these challenges and believe that these internal matters must, for now, consume you. You are not alone. You are accompanied in mission and ministry, by support and prayer, from around the world. We build our relationships on what we can do together: to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God. We journey together at all times, and even more closely in challenging times.
We encourage you to uphold your history of strong leadership in the ecumenical community nationally and globally. Continue to be risk takers and innovators. Continue in your commitment to work with others on all matters unless conscience prevents. Continue to find ways to speak with and for partners on critical issues of justice, care for creation, and human rights. Continue to witness in the world beyond yourselves. Continue including partners in your planning and consider options for your future that include new and creative ways of global and ecumenical engagement.
The peoples of the world are in peril. Injustice, oppression, violence and discrimination are rampant and must concern us all. We hold this knowledge in our minds and hearts as we consider God's call to the United Church at this time.
Church, including church structures, must be connected with an underlying vision for the mission of God on behalf of God’s people. We understand a critical priority for the United Church is strengthening local communities of faith. Those communities will grow stronger precisely when they know they are part of a movement that is much larger than themselves.
We have witnessed the liveliness and passion of the people of The United Church of Canada sharing the mission and ministries they have been called to. We join with you in the work and the prayer of this General Council, seeking to know and to be faithful to the will of God for The United Church of Canada. Thanks be to God.
Members of the Global, Ecumenical and Interfaith Delegation
- Bishop Reuel Marigza - United Church of Christ in the Philippines
- Rev Bae, Tae Jin -Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea
- Rev Gesner Paul - Methodist Church of Caribbean and the Americas, Haiti District
- Rev Johnson Mbillah - Program for Christian and Muslim Relations in Africa
- Rev Peggy Mulambya Kabonde - United Church of Zambia
- Dr. Esha Faki - Peace for Life
- Ms Marilia Schuller - KOINONIA, Brazil
- Rev Miguel Tomas Castro - Emmanuel Baptist Church, El Salvador
- Rev Chris Ferguson - World Communion of Reformed Churches
- Jennifer Henry – KAIROS Canada
- Rev Willard Metzger – Mennonite Church of Canada
- Bishop Michael Oulton – Anglican Church of Canada
- Bishop Peter Hundt – Roman Catholic Church
- Rev Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan – Canadian Council of Churches
- Rev Karen Georgia Thompson – United Church of Christ, USA
- Rev Campbell Lovett – United Church of Christ, USA
- Dr Veeresh Gadag – Hindu Community
- Dr Mumtaz Cheema – Muslim Community