Remit Enactment Means Major Structural Changes for the Church
GC43 enacted all seven remits that originated at GC42 three years ago. Remit enactment represents one of the biggest structural changes in the history of The United Church of Canada. Before reaching the floor of GC43, a strong majority of pastoral charges and presbyteries voted in favour of the remits.
“Now the stage is set for a new structure that will take us into the years ahead,” says David Allen, Remit Implementation Project Leader with the United Church. “We can look forward to how the new structures will reflect our faithfulness to God in the future.”
There was interest in deferring the vote on Remit 1: Three Council Model to later in the week to allow for further discussion. However, a strong majority of Commissioners voted in favour of enacting remit 1 with the other remits.
Below is a snapshot of each remit. You can find detailed information online.
Remit 1: Three Council Model
This remit represents a major change to the structure of the church—presbyteries and Conferences will no longer exist. The new structure will be made up of three councils, or levels, with specific ministries and responsibilities: communities of faith, regional councils, and a denominational council. There will also be clusters and networks—communities of common interests, mission, and support. A parallel but distinct process is ongoing in the Indigenous Church.
Remit 2: Elimination of Transfer and Settlement
Settlement and Transfer committees will no longer exist. Communities of faith will find their own ministers through their needs assessment and search committees.
Remit 3: Office of Vocation
The church will have a new Office of Vocation overseen by an elected body that honours intercultural mission and ministry in church. This Office will manage all things related to ministry, and elect a Board of Vocation comprised of ministers and laypeople from across the church. The Office is accountable to this board. With input from regional councils, the Board will establish standards for education, training, admissions, and accreditation.
Remit 4: Funding a New Model
There will be one assessment model to fund the denominational and regional councils that is more equitable and transparent, and fairly recognizes rural and smaller congregations’ financial constraints. The denominational council will assess pastoral charges to cover the costs of governance and support services. Governance and associated support services at all levels of the church will be funded through assessments. A consistent, revenue-based assessment formula (4.5 percent) will replace the more than 30 different formulas currently in place. Mission & Service donations will be used solely to fund the church’s ministry and mission.
Remit 5: Ministry Partners within Mutual Recognition Agreements
A new ministry status—ministry partner—will identify ministers serving in the United Church under mutual recognition agreements. While under appointment or call, a ministry partner would be equivalent to an ordered minister in terms of membership and responsibilities. Ministry partners will be eligible for calls or appointments just like any other United Church minister. A similar category and process for ministry partners is being created in partner denominations.
Remit 7: Candidacy Pathway
There will be a new, flexible process for becoming a member of the Order of Ministry (ordained or diaconal minister.) The Candidacy Pathway will allow those who feel called to ministry leadership to enter the pathway through the candidacy boards within the Office of Vocation. In the pathway each candidate will move through the phases of the pathway in ways that suit their own situation. There will also be ongoing conversation about how the pathway may best work for intercultural churches.
Remit 8: A Step Towards a New Model of Membership
Full members will now allow adherents to vote on all matters at community of faith meetings. This change will allow local ministries to vary their membership policy to suit their situations.