Moderator Richard Bott shares how the milestone anniversaries being celebrated this year make the United Church what it is and will shape its future.
The United Church of Canada is celebrating a number of milestone events which have played a significant role in shaping this United Church of ours. These anniversaries will be reflected upon at Marking Moments, a special seminar being held Monday, September 24 at Emmanuel College in Toronto (sign up to join us via the livestream).
Below, Moderator Richard Bott shares a few thoughts on each of the anniversaries being celebrated. We invite you to share your own thoughts and reflections on these denomination-shaping events and decisions in the comments.
50th Anniversary of A New Creed
“As one who loves the liturgies of the Christian faith, I’ve always seen ‘A New Creed’ of The United Church of Canada to be not only an internal reminder of our shared faith, but also one of our gifts to the wider church. From ‘We are not alone, we live in God’s world’ to ‘thanks be to God,’ the rhythm and poetry have helped us to celebrate some of our understandings of the relationship between God and God’s people.”
50th Anniversary of the Union between the United Church and the Evangelical United Brethren
“The United Church of Canada gained a great deal in this amalgamation – not only in the gifts of leadership offered by Evangelical United Brethren ministers who became national staff, but from the many congregation members who lifted up faith education for every age and stage of life.”
30th Anniversary of the “Membership, Ministry and Human Sexuality Statement,” 1988 General Council
“As a Commissioner to the 32nd General Council, I vividly remember the struggles that we went through in trying to discern how God was calling us to live. A great amount of heartache, hope, and prayer formed into, ‘all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, who profess their faith in Jesus Christ are welcome to be or become members of The United Church of Canada’ and that ‘all members of the United Church are eligible to be considered for ordered ministry.’ Looking at my colleagues in ministry across the United Church, I am awed by the depth of gift that the church would have lost with any other decision. Though there is still work to do, ‘MMHS’ gave us a vital place to start.”
70th Anniversary of the Founding of the World Council of Churches
For 70 years, the World Council of Church has helped Christian communities of faith the world around to learn from one another, and to support unity, common witness, and Christian service. From helping us to understand shared theological ideas (as in ‘Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry,’) to practical, hands-on, ministry (like the work to help individuals living with AIDS), the World Council of Church has brought us together as Christ’s people.
— Rev. Dr. Richard Bott is the 43rd Moderator of The United Church of Canada. You can connect with him on his Facebook page.