General Council Executive 43 Meets for the Last Time
The General Council Executive elected at the 43rd General Council of The United Church of Canada had its last planned meeting on Saturday, April 30, 2022. Given the prolonged GC44, the Council enabled the 43rd General Council Executive to meet to ensure the business of the church continued. The meeting was shaped by worship and benefited from support to continue focus on equity aspirations.
The Executive, who have governed for an extended period given the pandemic, reflected on their experiences in this role. Sparked by Galatians 6:1‒9, members surfaced experiences of genuine gratitude and intense learning, and opportunities for deep relationship. They also spoke of pain and heaviness when addressing challenges, and hope and confidence for a vibrant future for the church.
The GCE approved a proposal emerging from their recent retreat directing the General Secretary to create a workflow task group to consider what proposals need to come to the GCE, what could best be dealt with by the General Secretary, as well as the role of the Sub-Executive or any needed committee structure. The task group is asked to report in November 2022 to the GC44 Executive.
A number of proposals were addressed in a consent motion, including a decrease in expectations of the GCE role in determining governance representation on Observer Publications Inc. structures, and a temporary increase to $0.46 per kilometre to gasoline reimbursement rates. The increase would be to September 30, 2022, renewable to December 31, 2022, if gasoline prices stay high.
The General Secretary reported on a current Cost of Living Group Review being conducted by Mercer Consulting’s Compensation Team. The team is examining the current practice of establishing regional costs of living groups and communities of faith assignments. Their research will help guide whether the practice should continue with minor revisions or be reconsidered for a more effective model, a decision that would come to the GCE in November 2022.
The GCE also set up a task group, to be made up of members recruited through the nominations process, to review the offices of the Moderator and General Secretary, considering the current and expected needs of The United Church of Canada. The Manual requires that the office of the Moderator be reviewed every 10 years. The Executive chose to add the office of the General Secretary given the restructuring of the church. The task group would provide an interim report (June 2023) and a final report (2024) to the next General Council Executive, with recommendations, as appropriate, brought to the 45th General Council.
In worship, the General Council Executive covenanted with Marlene Britton, recently appointed as the new Team Lead, Policy and Programs for Ministry Personnel, and Jennifer Henry, appointed to the role of Senior Program Development and Strategy Lead. The Moderator released the 43rd General Council Executive of their covenantal duties, freeing them for other roles in service and leadership across the breadth of The United Church of Canada. The meeting concluded with communion in celebration of the Easter mystery.