1. What gifts and passions do you have that you believe the United Church of Canada needs today?
The primary gift that I bring to the role of the moderator is my profound sense of Christian hope. I am confident that God is at work in the global church and in the UCC in particular. I believe that the church can be a force for good in the world and in Canadian society. As a minister for 27 years I bring the heart of a pastor; a deep desire to proclaim and share the good news, and a concern for those who are broken, disheartened, disenfranchised, and defeated by the principalities and powers of the world.
2. Which Christian author has had the greatest impact on you?
During my doctoral work at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta I had the good fortune to take courses from Walter Brueggemann. In my own biblical and homiletical work I am very influenced by his interpretation of the Hebrew scripture through the lenses of testimony, dispute and advocacy. His book The Prophetic imagination continues to be an important touch stone for my ministry. His deep faith and the way he is able to energize, inspire and convict has long impressed me.
3. How would you articulate the good news that Canadian society needs to hear from our church in this time and place?
As society becomes increasingly fragmented and individualized, Canadians have become correspondingly detached and isolated from each other. Loneliness has become endemic. The good news of the gospel is the friendship of God shown to all creation through Christ. The church needs to continually proclaim the relational nature of the gospel that calls us into communities of faith where we most fully experience the presence of Christ in the human relationships we form and nature there. For a lonely world there is no more important message.
4. “Cruxifusion” means “united by the cross.” What does Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection mean to you?
The cross is a powerful reminder that Jesus is a part of all human suffering. The uniqueness of our faith is that we believe in a God willing to suffer with us. This is surely deep comfort to all who are oppressed and distressed; a God who knows what it is like to suffer unjustly. But even more profound is the hope of resurrection; not only that God suffers with us, but the fact that this divine suffering overcomes and defeats the powers of death both real and metaphorical. The divine reversal of human power dynamics is our hope for liberation.
5. How can we best pray for you?
I would appreciate prayers for myself and my family as we live with the uncertainties of this process. I would also ask that you pray for all of our candidates and for discernment and wisdom as the church chooses its next moderator