Photo of GC43 Moderator Nominees
Photo: The United Church of Canada

Moderator Nominees Address GC43 Plenary

The GC43 Moderator Nominees addressed the plenary today in Oshawa, ON. The diverse group of 10 Nominees inspired Commissioners with messages of hope and how to move into an uncertain future.

Below are take-away messages from each Nominee speech and the hymn they chose to follow their address.

Rev. Susan Beaver

Beaver spoke from her life experiences as a two-spirit Mohawk woman, emphasizing growth from love and loss.

“We became love in a world that did not love us, and we changed the world. As a church, we too can change the world. Sometimes we have to be courageously terrified and vulnerable to show love to each other.”

Chosen hymn: “This Is God’s Wondrous World”

Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud

Blaikie Whitecloud touched on the themes of engagement and inclusivity in her speech, which she focuses on in her work with 1JustCity.

“This is your work; this is your church—a spiritually confident, radically progressive Christian voice. This is a church that is loving people so they are not under-loved.”

Chosen hymn: “This Little Light of Mine”

Rev. Dr. Richard Bott

Bott’s speech drew strongly on urging others not to be afraid as the church is re-examining its relationship with God.

“The purpose of The United Church of Canada is to enter into and to deepen our relationship with God, and we do that with the most radical love we know. We need to listen to the language of our communities, not just our communities of faith. We need to hear what God is saying to us in each and every one of those voices.”

Chosen hymn: “We Have This Ministry”

Rev. David Hart

In his speech, Hart examined the possible future and hope in the church through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

“God wants to resurrect The United Church of Canada, to look honestly at our failures, and release his fire on us. We will resurrect the church to be not only what we want it to be, but what God wants it to be.”

Chosen hymn: “Over My Head”

Rev. Cathy Larmond

Larmond, comfortable with storytelling, provided parables in her speech to draw attention to God’s presence with us during every step of our journey.

“After listening and discussing, we have crossed the river and are able to rest and repair. Do we trust God and the Holy Spirit to inflate our life ring? Do we trust Jesus as the vine and we are the branches to bind to God?”

Chosen hymn: “One More Step Along the World I Go”

Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean

In her address, MacLean asked commissioners to consider the face of God in the work of The United Church of Canada.

“My leadership has been focused on asking ‘why.’ The United Church of Canada is able to discuss why we undertake what we do, in whose name, and to benefit which neighbour.”

Chosen hymn: “First-Born of Mary”

Dr. Colin Phillips

Phillips spoke of acceptance within The United Church of Canada, regardless of gender identity, sexuality, race, or ability.

“There is no question that these yearnings for justice come from our leaders under God. We must challenge those who preach a gospel of exclusion—but from a place of love.”

Chosen hymn: “Called by Earth and Sky”

Wanda Stride

With a strong focus on the fear that comes from change, Stride emphasized that a strong faith is what has made The United Church of Canada what it is today.

“We are a church that is performing unprecedented change at an unprecedented rate. The Spirit has accomplished what no human can, and we must serve the One who first taught us to risk faith and dare hope.”

Chosen hymn: “I Feel the Winds of God Today”

Martha ter Kuile

Ter Kuile encouraged the United Church to embrace the changes that are coming ahead and to grow ministry within it.

“We are at an inflection point in our ministry, and we are moving together at once. We can learn not simply hope, but how to cultivate hope.”

Chosen hymn: “Come, Let Us Sing of a Wonderful Love”

Donalee Williams

As a storyteller, Williams focused on a character that is searching to live out being God’s delight.

“Have we forgotten that God delights in us? Because the Creator who delights in you has not forgotten you.”

Chosen hymn: “Dance with the Spirit”

Watch the GC43 livestream to keep up with the decisions made while in Oshawa. The vote and announcement of the 43rd Moderator of The United Church of Canada will take place on Thursday, July 26.