The Canadian Council of Churches Governing Board met on May 23-25, 2018 at St. Paul University, Ottawa, Ontario.
The Canadian Council of Churches (the Council) is the broadest and most inclusive ecumenical body in Canada. The Council’s Governing Board brings together representatives from Anglican; Evangelical; Free Church; Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox; Protestant; and Catholic member denominations to review and coordinate its Committees and Commissions, appoint officers, obtain funds, and determine external relations to other religious and secular organizations and movements.
At this semi-annual meeting of the Governing Board we:
- Welcomed the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church as the newest member of the Council.
- Installed The Rev. Stephen Kendall as President; Pat Lovell, Sr. Gill Goulding, and Kathy Vandergrift as Vice-Presidents; The Rev. Canon Dr. Alyson Barnett-Cowan as Past President; Norm Creen as Treasurer; and Bob Clarke as Chair of Personnel Committee for the 2018-2021 triennium.
- Appointed Peter Noteboom as General Secretary for a 5-year term beginning on 1 June 2018.
- Heard from President Alyson Barnett-Cowan about her visits with member denominations; insights gained to help shape the Council’s work; and her participation in the Global Christian Forum in Bogota, Colombia.
- Received the 2018-21 Triennium Program Plan, outlining and prioritizing the work of the Council’s bodies.
- As part of an ongoing strategic planning process, mandated the Executive Committee and General Secretary to refresh the Council’s vision and mission to better communicate our identity, and the Constitution Committee to review and update the Council’s By-Laws.
- Approved the audited financial statements for the year 2017 and appointed auditors for 2018.
- Established an ad hoc committee to plan to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Council in 2019.
- Adopted the Principles of Peace as a consensus statement of the Council. The Principles of Peace clarify why peace is central to the mission and identity of the Council’s member churches and offer a common ecumenical vocabulary for the theology, witness and work of peace.
- Met with MPs, Ministers, and Policy Advisors to discuss abolishing nuclear weapons; ending poverty in Canada – the Federal Government’s role; and ensuring protection for refugees at the US – Canadian border.
- Affirmed a proposal to hold an intra-CCC consultation on the topic of Christian-Jewish relations in Canada. The purpose of this internal consultation is to learn one another’s approaches to Jewish-Christian dialogue and relations; share current Christian-Jewish engagements; and discern ways to do this work as member churches and together.
- Thanked Cesar Jaramillo, Executive Director of Project Ploughshares (an operating division of the Council), for program work on nuclear disarmament; conventional and lethal autonomous weapons control; forced migration and refugees; women, peace, and security; and preserving outer space as a peaceful domain. Congratulated Project Ploughshares on their participation in receiving the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.
- Reviewed the Commission on Justice and Peace 2015-2018 work, including the theological reflection on the Principles of Peace; the new Leadership and Learning Kit on Sexual Exploitation in Canada; and a new pastoral resource on addressing poverty. For 2018-2021 the Commission on Justice and Peace priorities are to continue work on poverty in Canada; peacemaking (focusing on militarism and Israel/Palestine); living into the Council’s expression of reconciliation with Indigenous People; and just allocation of resources.
- Reviewed the Commission on Faith and Witness 2015-2018 work, including the six-year theological dialogue on Christian Witness in the Age of Religious Diversity; plans for the inter-church dialogue event in Montreal called Dialogue at the Edges Oct. 12-13, 2018; and an online collection of Canadian bilateral dialogues. For 2018-2021 the Commission on Faith and Witness priorities are the ‘theology of the human person, with a focus on mental health’; celebrations of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity; and encouraging ecumenical theological education.
The next meeting of the Governing Board is scheduled for November 21-23, 2018 at Crieff Hills Conference Centre.