As you may or may not know, on August 8th the General Council began its week long meeting in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.
What is General Council?
Why should you care?
For the first question, the General Council is the top level of our Church’s for court governance structure. At the congregation level, we are governed by boards or sessions, above that is the work and oversight of Presbytery (we are Woolastook Presbytery), above that is the third court of Conference (we are in Maritime Conference), and the fourth court is General Council. Each of the courts/governing bodies has different responsibilities from rules around the sacraments, to Ordination, Commissioning and Recognizing of our Church’s ministry, to structural and theological stances of The United Church of Canada as a denomination. That’s all pretty simple right?
But that doesn’t really say much about why we should care, why we should be paying attention to the conversations and debates taking place this week. As mentioned we are a four court church, with our structure being an amalgam of our founding denomination’s structures. At this the 42nd meeting of the General Council, there are proposals that will mean massive changes for that structure, and could change how we do church, how we live out our call from Christ moving forward. Also a part of the conversations is the Israel/Palestine issue and our denominations stance. Other proposals will look at how we bring people into ministry and what the shape of ministry will take in the future.
The good news is that we can keep up with a lot of what is going on at this year’s meeting of General Council because it is being live-steamed on YouTube. You can find The United Church of Canada’s YouTube page by clicking here.
Unfortunately watching live doesn’t really work from tablets it cellphones, but it works great on a desktop computer or laptop. If cells and tablets are all you have, you can still keep up with Corner Brook by watching videos as they are posted. It won’t be in real time but it will be pretty close.
If you have twitter, follow #GC42 and see what delegates and observers are saying and praying
Watch as the future of the church takes shape. Be present as the Holy Spirit inspires delegates from across this United Church of ours. Embrace the Christ that moves forward with us, whatever the future may bring.