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Canada: The Uniting Church in Crises

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  • Canada: The Uniting Church in Crises

    In today's press I came across an article which outlined a crises for the United Church of Canada. They have an ordained minister who openly dismisses belief in God, the Bible & Jesus. Their admin wants to defrock her but they haven't done so before so apparently they are in a flux as to how to go about getting rid of her...

    Most strange...

    Have a read. Enjoy...
    Atheist minister fighting United Church’s effort to fire her

  • #2
    Vosper made her views clear as far back as a Sunday sermon in 2001 but her congregation stood behind her until a decision to do away with the Lord’s Prayer in 2008 prompted about 100 of the 150 members to leave. The rest backed her.

    Randy Bowes, board chairman at West Hill who led the search committee that hired Vosper, said he’s had no complaints from congregants.


    GiantBabyEarClean-e1374459138645.jpg
    sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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    • #3
      Originally posted by tabibito View Post



      [ATTACH=CONFIG]8585[/ATTACH]
      The ⅔ who had serious objections already left and aren't part of the congregation. The rest likely come for the socializing and very possibly pay little attention to what is being preached or aren't actually concerned about the sermons (Hey, they're serving coffee cake and beverages after the service and that potential business contact will be there)

      I'm always still in trouble again

      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
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      • #4

        "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


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        • #5
          Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
          The ⅔ who had serious objections already left and aren't part of the congregation. The rest likely come for the socializing and very possibly pay little attention to what is being preached or aren't actually concerned about the sermons (Hey, they're serving coffee cake and beverages after the service and that potential business contact will be there)
          Ah yes - the current congregation airs no complaints (there are no complaints) - but given that Mr Bowes was on the selection committee, "has had no complaints" is not quite accurate.
          sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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          • #6
            The United Church in Canada has been heretical for years now. This is nothing new.


            Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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            • #7
              Yep, the United Church of Canada doesn't really care about doctrine, but rather appeasing to what the world wants.
              "It's evolution; every time you invent something fool-proof, the world invents a better fool."
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              • #8
                I read some of the comments (in another article about the same topic) and one of the most common responses is that church is about "teaching good morals" so who cares what she believes.

                Let me sound off a resounding no!!!

                This sort of mentality is so completely missing the point as to border on comical (well, comical if it wasn't so tragic that people actually think this). While morals and doing good works are important they aren't the foundation of the Christian faith nor are they really the focus.

                Let me shout this out--it is all about Jesus.Christianity is based on the death and resurrection of Jesus without which our faith is in vain and we are beyond pathetic (to paraphrase Paul).

                Trying to make a Christian church not all about Jesus is a hideous insult that infuriates me. It also confuses me greatly as I really don't understand why an atheist would want to be a Christian minister. I understand, as Irate Canadian pointed out, that the United Church doesn't care about doctrine, but this just seems unbelievable. There shouldn't be any discussion about this, if they are claiming to be part of the global Church she should be kicked out pronto. If they want to instead claim to be some kind of humanistic organization than they need to disavow themselves from Christianity immediately. It is like false advertisement--a Christian looking to get fellowship may wander in as they might mistaken it for an actual church and then be disgusted to realize that it isn't.
                Last edited by Paula; 08-06-2015, 11:04 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Paula View Post
                  I read some of the comments (in another article about the same topic) and one of the most common responses is that church is about "teaching good morals" so who cares what she believes.

                  Let me sound off a resounding no!!!

                  This sort of mentality is so completely missing the point as to border on comical (well, comical if it wasn't so tragic that people actually think this). While morals and doing good works are important they aren't the foundation of the Christian faith nor are they really the focus.

                  Let me shout this out--it is all about Jesus.Christianity is based on the death and resurrection of Jesus without which our faith is in vain and we are beyond pathetic (to paraphrase Paul).

                  Trying to make a Christian church not all about Jesus is a hideous insult that infuriates me. It also confuses me greatly as I really don't understand why an atheist would want to be a Christian minister. I understand, as Irate Canadian pointed out, that the United Church doesn't care about doctrine, but this just seems unbelievable. There shouldn't be any discussion about this, if they are claiming to be part of the global Church she should be kicked out pronto. If they want to instead claim to be some kind of humanistic organization than they need to disavow themselves from Christianity immediately. It is like false advertisement--a Christian looking to get fellowship may wander in as they might mistaken it for an actual church and then be disgusted to realize that it isn't.
                  This morning as I was wading through the business news I came across an article about Australia's strict labeling laws (truth in labeling and advertising) and the problems niche, high-end producers have had with counterfeiting, especially in China - protecting one's "Brand" is essential in the current international markets...and that requires ensuring the quality and safety of what the customer takes home...

                  Whats all that got to do with the United Church in Canada's current dilemma. Everything!!! Think about it...

                  Originally posted by Paula View Post
                  It also confuses me greatly as I really don't understand why an atheist would want to be a Christian minister.
                  A benevolent mentality (Jesus did advocate such, and it is something missing in many churches and so societies). That is the positive, additionally...

                  Funding!!!! In place infrastructure. In place marketing you can draw on to get bums on seats. Drawing on the naivety of people who are attracted to an established "brand" etc etc etc

                  An episode of "Yes Prime Minster" (a British TV comedy series seen around the world) detailed the Prime Minister's dilemma in choosing a new Archbishop of Canterbury. The problem: none of the proposed candidates promoted Christianity...

                  Originally posted by Paula View Post
                  There shouldn't be any discussion about this, if they are claiming to be part of the global Church she should be kicked out pronto. If they want to instead claim to be some kind of humanistic organization than they need to disavow themselves from Christianity immediately.
                  Apart from Church law and internal administration, the UCC will have to deal with Civil law - unlawful dismissal, the supporting congregations property rights, accounting, funding and so on... Civilly it is a really complicated situation to rectify...
                  Last edited by apostoli; 08-07-2015, 07:15 PM.

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                  • #10
                    UPDATE....she keeps her job...

                    https://pulpitandpen.org/2018/11/10/...ill-keeps-job/
                    Watch your links! http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/fa...corumetiquette

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DesertBerean View Post
                      Not surprising. It's so sad. My Dad became a believer while attending the United church. How far it has fallen.

                      And, tragically, the "social gospel" minded evangelical churches today are headed in the same direction.


                      Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DesertBerean View Post
                        I forgot about this thread when I nominated it for a screwball:

                        Originally posted by rogue06
                        Screwball

                        Source: Opinion split after atheist minister keeps job


                        Last month’s decision by the Toronto Conference of the United Church not to fire Gretta Vosper — the minister who doesn’t believe in God — has generated a lot of discussion.

                        The situation goes back to 2013 when Vosper, the minister at West Hill United Church since 1997, publicly declared herself an atheist.

                        Things came to a head in 2015 when she publicly criticized the denomination for posting a prayer on its website after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris.

                        In her open letter, she denounced the "existence of a supernatural being whose purposes can be divined and which, once interpreted and without mercy, must be brought about within the human community in the name of that being."

                        In 2016, the Toronto Conference conducted a review that found Vosper "not suitable" to continue as a minister because she was no longer in "essential agreement" with the church’s statement of doctrine.

                        It also found she was "unwilling and unable" to reaffirm the vows she made when she was ordained in 1993.

                        The conference went on to ask the General Council, the denomination’s top governing body, to conduct a hearing.

                        Before that hearing took place, the Toronto Conference and Vosper reached a settlement on Nov. 7 to let her keep her job.

                        In a brief joint statement, the Toronto Conference, Vosper and West Hill Church said the parties had "settled all outstanding issues between them."

                        The terms of the agreement are being kept confidential.

                        The reaction was immediate. A few lauded the decision, saying it showed the openness of the United Church. But others were critical.

                        Reading the critical comments of those from other denominations, I wondered how many understood how the decision came to be made.

                        The United Church is not monolithic or hierarchical. It follows a congregational model, in which individual congregations and conferences have freedom to make decisions about the best ways to be the church in their communities. There’s no United Church pope who can enforce the rules.

                        In this case, the decision was made by one of the denomination’s conferences, not the whole United Church, even if some in the larger church support it.

                        And even if, as some think, the United Church should have been more decisive, the fact is that many denominations have trouble dealing with difficult issues and people. At the same time, faith-based groups often place a high value on repairing and restoring difficult or broken relationships.

                        This goes double for the United Church, which is even more disposed towards inclusion, welcoming and understanding than most other denominations.

                        As for what’s behind the settlement, in the absence of any information there is lots of speculation.

                        Some are suggesting that it comes down to money — the Toronto Conference may not have the funds to fight an expensive case.

                        The issue of cost was hinted at by Vosper’s lawyer, Julian Falconer, who was quoted as saying "both parties took a long look at the cost-benefit at running a heresy trial and whether it was good for anyone (and) the results speak for themselves."

                        Another idea that has come up is that by settling, the conference believes the issue will fade away. Pursuing the case would only turn the spotlight on Vosper for weeks or longer, giving her a bigger pulpit and prolonging the public relations problems for the church.

                        It has also been suggested the denomination feels this has gone on long enough, that it has bigger issues to focus its energies and limited funds on. This would include how it can be faithful to its own unique calling to bring hope and healing to a hurting world.

                        Looking at the situation, I have to think that although Vosper has taken things to the extreme by becoming an atheist minister, she is not alone. Many Christians today are asking deep questions about their faith and about God.

                        Some are expressing these doubts and asking questions quietly. A few, like Vosper, are doing so very publicly.

                        As for the United Church, members are divided about the decision. But one thing many seem to agree on is appreciation for how their denomination is willing to be open to all sorts of questions about how to be faithful in the world — even if that results in a situation like with Gretta Vosper.



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                        This should have been a no-brainer. Then what can you expect from a denomination that essentially thinks that other non-Christian religions are just as valid a way to finding God as Christianity.

                        I'm always still in trouble again

                        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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                        • #13
                          I looked up the United Church beliefs and I bet they found they were hoisted by their own petard. To kick her out, by their own standards, was hypocritcal (if heretical).

                          We've had our church constitution written very narrowly to avoid this liability.
                          Watch your links! http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/fa...corumetiquette

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