Faith & Life Sciences Reference Group
The current members of the Faith and Life Sciences Reference Group are:
- Eric Beresford, Anglican Church of Canada, Toronto, ON
- Michael Buttrey – Anglican Church of Canada, Toronto, ON
- Moira McQueen – Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Toronto, ON
- Jim Rusthoven – Christian Reformed Church in North America, Ottawa, ON
- Fr. John Boutros, Coptic Orthodox, Toronto, ON
- Rev Dr Peter Kuhnert, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Waterloo, ON
- Dr. Mary Susan, Mar Thoma Richmond Hill, ON
- Paul Heidebrecht – Mennonite Church Canada, Waterloo, ON
- Emanuel Kolyvas – Orthodox Church of America, Montreal, QC
- Rev. Joan Masterton – Presbyterian Church of Canada Stouffville, Ontario, ON
- Anne Mitchell – Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Toronto, ON
- Sr Zoe Bernatsky, Ukrainian Catholics, Newman Theological College, Edmonton, AB
- Tracy Trothen – The United Church of Canada, Kingston, ON
- Rebecca Ivanoff (part time staff) – Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Guelph, ON
Organizations related to the CCC such as the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, for example, may also be asked to collaborate with the group on different projects of mutual interest through ex officio representation at group meetings.
Meetings are held in the Toronto area 3 or 4 times yearly.
According to the Forum model, decisions are taken by consensus. Members who may not be present at a meeting will be invited by email to agree or raise concerns regarding a proposed decision.
The Chair of the Faith and Life Sciences Reference Group sets the agenda for the meetings, moderates dialogue, leads the group when taking important decisions, and reports to the Governing Board twice a year.
One of the Associate Secretaries of The Canadian Council of Churches provides staff support to this group in sending out agendas for the meetings, taking minutes, and following up on requests and action items in between meetings.
The Faith and Life Sciences Reference Group enjoys access to a small annual budget from The Canadian Council of Churches. Additional projects may be funded on a grants and special donation basis.
Terms of Reference
The Faith and Life Sciences Reference Group was established by the Governing Board of The Canadian Council of Churches in 1999 as a reference group for the gathering and exchange of information on biotechnology. Both the Commission on Faith and Witness and the Commission on Justice and Peace are represented on the Faith and Life Sciences Reference Group and see the work of the Faith and Life Sciences Reference Group work as their own.
Purposes of the Faith and Life Sciences Reference Group
• To bring together representatives from the churches who are working on these issues.
• To gather information from churches, sister ecumenical organizations, other faith communities, and prominent research institutes: engaging existing expertise.
• To facilitate the joint learning of members of the Faith and Life Sciences Reference Group, engaging members of other faith communities, as well as practitioners, theoreticians, and other specialists from the field.
• To assess emerging issues from time to time, and suggest appropriate responses.
• To encourage a forum for theological and ethical reflections.
• To assist in the churches’ learning on these issues, providing helpful research and other written resources, and facilitating education opportunities for churches and their members.
• Depending on the urgency of the issues involved, from time to time engage the public authorities on topics of common concern.
• To share information broadly and communicate the findings of the group to the churches, their members, and the public.