REMITS TO BE VOTED ON BY COUNCIL
At the last United Church General Council meeting in Newfoundland in 2015, there was a decision to put 5 remits forward for voting by each pastoral charge, of which St. Aidan’s is one. The Council will be voting on each of the 5 remits on February 15 but invites discussion before then with participants in the congregation to share thoughts about the remit questions. If you want to contact one or more Council members about the remits, they are: Colin Booth, Mary Kennedy, Paul Malnarich, Roger Hannaford, Gordon Robinson, Mandy Wilson, Helen Pinel, Doug Koch, Maureen Koch, Cheryl Black, Arlene Galloway Ford, Alan Curtis, Puddie Curtis and Tony Smith. Each of these remits is important to the United Church as they will change the original basis of Union of 1925.
The remits are being put forward to reflect changes in the United Church. Over time, there have been a fewer people participating in the United Church which in turn has resulted in fewer funds and volunteers available to serve the church. In addition, matters such as personnel issues and property decisions are becoming more complex and require experienced staff rather than volunteers to help steer congregations more easily through these.
The first 3 remits were included in the January 8 bulletin at St. Aidan’s. The last 2 remits are as follows:
Remit 4 – Funding a New Model
This remit would approve giving the General Council the power to assess pastoral charges to cover the costs of governance and support services for the denomination. Currently, presbyteries have the power to assess pastoral charges to cover their expenses. Conferences also have the power to assess, and their funding comes from the assessments as well as grants from the General Council. These grants are funded through Mission & Service as well as from other donations. The General Council does NOT currently have the power to assess, so its costs are covered by Mission & Service, donations, investment revenues from funds held in reserve, and donations.
This remit proposes a single assessment model to fund the General Council (or Denominational Council, if Remit 1 passes) and regional levels of the church that will be both more equitable and transparent. If approved, it would mean that governance and associated support services at all levels of the church, beyond the local pastoral charges, would be funded through assessments.
Switching to an assessment method would make a clear distinction between funds used for the governance of the church and those used for Mission & Service. Donations to Mission & Service will only be used for mission and ministry expenditures made regionally or nationally, including grants to global partners and community ministries in Canada.
Remit 6 – One Order of Ministry
At present there is one order of ministry that is made up of ordained ministers, ordained to word, sacrament and pastoral care, and diaconal ministers, commissioned to education, service
and pastoral care. There is also a category of ministry made up of those who are recognized as designated lay ministers following successful completion of a specific program of study.
Does the pastoral charge agree that there should be one new order of ministry encompassing the present categories of recognized designated lay ministers, diaconal ministers, and ordained ministers, with ordination to the ministry of word, sacrament, education, service and pastoral care as the single rite of entry, and with provision for the continued identity of the diakonia within the ordained ministry?
For more information on Remits, please visit either the St. Aidan’s website remit information (click on blue and white “Remit” section) or go to United Church of Canada URL at www.gc42.ca/remit. For those without internet access, there are documents on each remit available from the Library. In addition, on Sunday, January 29 there will be a table at coffee time in the hall where you can go to find more information and there will be a meeting with a light lunch on February 5 in Rooms 2 C/D at 11:30 am for a short presentation and discussion on all five remits, at which some members of Council will attend to hear your concerns and thoughts on these remits.