Identity and Vision of The United Church of Canada

Commissioners at the 43rd General Council went through several rounds of discernment to move forward with proposals on the theme Identity and Vision, with voting taking place on the afternoon of Friday, July 27.

In discussion sessions, commissioners agreed that this theme was an important one, second only to Remit Implementation. There were, however, concerns that as we move from old structures to new, more perspectives be sought in articulating our identity and vision.

  • In terms of the purpose of the United Church, some commissioners expressed a disconnect in priorities between the denomination and communities of faith. Changes of this calibre should be adaptive rather than address structural needs. By not being able to explicitly name who is setting the vision, the church may be moving away from the grassroots people. With this in mind, commissioners voted to forward the notes from the GC43 discussion groups to the Executive of the General Council and take no further action.
  • Commissioners affirmed the importance of walking with and through the Spirit by putting vision and purpose first. They also voiced concerns that to hear from a wide cross-section of individuals in the United Church may be an expensive process; it was nevertheless referred to the General Secretary for implementation.
  • Notes from the GC43 discussion groups regarding membership models will be forwarded to the Theology and Inter-Church Inter-Faith Committee to further their study on the issue of membership. Commissioners found that the binary approach in the membership models presented to them was more administrative than spiritual, and required further conversation about discipleship. No further action was taken.
  • Commissioners voted to adopt Honouring the Divine in Each Other, a statement on Hindu-United Church relations, and commend it to communities of faith as encouragement to build interfaith relationships.