Sunday, May 29, 2016

The United Moose of Canada

This weekend Conference meetings of the United Church of Canada will meet across the country. Our Bridge St. congregation is part of Kente Presbytery of the Bay of Quinte Conference, which this year will meet in Pembroke. I won't be there this weekend because...I won't. I will lead worship at Bridge St. while Rev. Vicki Fulcher is attending from our congregation. I have attended conference in Newfoundland, Toronto, Northern Ontario (Manitou,) various places in the Maritimes, and across Southern Ontario. I also dropped in to Montreal and Ottawa Conference for our son Isaac's ordination. To be honest, I've been a Youth Forum leader and a table group discussion facilitator, and honestly, I've had my fill after 30+ meetings.

The format for Bay of Quinte looks good this year. They won't be meeting in an arena (kiss of death) and there will be lots of interesting workshops. There will also be discussion of how the structure of the United Church will change. The "if" of change is over, and we are on to the "when" and "how." Changes to our congregation/presbytery/conference/general council four-court system of governance have been on the agenda since my ordination year, which was 1980.

There is the old chestnut that a moose is a horse designed by a committee. Our United Church of Canada is the equivalent of a moose, an amalgamation of three denominations in 1925 which incorporated elements of all three. It was always somewhat unwieldy and became ponderously so over time as our numbers have shrunk and we have become more congregational in outlook.

We hope that the United Moose of Canada will find a new form of expression which allows us to uphold our commitment to inclusivity and social justice in Christ's name. The UCC is unique and oddly faithful in a number of ways. It would be a loss to the Canadian social fabric if we simply faded away, like the Cheshire Cat.

Let's say a prayer for all these Conferences across the country, shall we?

No comments: