November 20-22, 2013 Crieff Hills, Puslinch, ON
The Canadian Council of Churches is the largest ecumenical body in Canada. The Governing Board brings together representatives from Anglican; Evangelical; Free Church; Eastern and Oriental Orthodox; Historic Protestant; and Eastern and Roman Catholic member churches to review and coordinate the work of its Committees and Commissions, appoint officers, obtain funds for its work, and determine external relations to other religious and secular organizations and movements. The Canadian Council of Churches was founded in 1944.
At this semi-annual meeting of the Governing Board we:
- Received an affiliate member application from Oikocredit Canada (www.oikocredit.ca).
- Recognized < $250,000 in grants and awards for designated purposes of theological education and interfaith work.
- Adopted a balanced budget for 2014.
- Celebrated the completion of the new Faith and Public Life Canadian Council of Churches publication drawn from our May meeting: Comments and Perspectives on Religious Freedom.
- Declined to sign on to a Canadian Interfaith Conversation statement regarding the Quebec Charter at this time… but encouraged individual member churches to consider their own response. In addition, a special team of Commission and Committee chairs will be convened to discern the way ahead regarding the proposed Quebec Charter legislation.
- Participated in an expert panel presentation on the question: What are the opportunities now for churches in Canada to contribute to peace in the Middle East? The panel included Blair Clark, Canadian Baptist Ministries, on humanitarian responses; Deacon Sherif Hanna, Coptic Orthodox Church of Canada, on Egypt; John Lewis, KAIROS, on church engagement through the Middle East Working Group and the Forum on KAIROS Palestine; and Fr. Jaroslav Buciora, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, on his experience of the Middle East Council of Churches meeting in May 2013.
- Worshipped, prayed and sang in Presbyterian, Apostolic Catholic Church, and Orthodox Church in America traditions.
- Held a dialogue, in a talking circle, on the questions of “what is going on globally in the world of ecumenism”, and “what is going on in the church in Canada right now that needs our attention” to inform our Triennium priorities.
- Completed a dialogue café on planning the November 2014 Governing Board meeting that will coincide, in an assembly format, with meetings of the Commissions, Reference Groups, Church Leaders, and Working Groups of the Council. The planning committee received a green light to proceed immediately and to limit the scope to make it manageable.
- Received the Commission on Faith and Witness report and in small groups debated responses to religious pluralism.
- Selected between two expert participatory workshops, one on human trafficking in Canada led by Jennifer Lucking, Reformed Church in America, and the other on synthetic biology led by Anne Mitchell, Religious Society of Friends.
- Were inspired by the shape of a new collaborative initiative emerging on the topic of education on reserves.
- Decided to prepare, draft, and seek consensus on an Expression of Reconciliation as The Canadian Council of Churches to the March 2014 Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearing in Edmonton, Alberta.
- Launched the new World Vision Canada and CCC book by Willard Metzger, Mennonite Church Canada, on table graces (a fine holiday gift!).
- Scrolled through a presentation on religious and ethical imperatives regarding climate justice presented on the same day by the Chair of the Commission on Justice and Peace at the United Nations COP19 meetings in Warsaw, Poland.
- Received and debated a report from the Commission on Justice and Peace, especially on climate justice and the invitation to sign a Canadian Council of Refugees statement on the occasion of Human Rights Day on Dec. 10. Member church leaders are encouraged to consider signing the statement.
- Adjourned with a sense of fellowship and accomplishment for the 3 days together.
The next meeting of the Governing Board is scheduled for May 14-16, 2013 in Ottawa. Visit us on Facebook for more pictures and highlights!