Cruxifusion has adopted the tradition of posing questions to nominees for Moderator of the United Church of Canada so that we may learn a bit more about them. To view answers from all nominees for GC43, click here.
1. Who is Jesus Christ for you?
The words of A New Creed: “the Word made flesh” immediately come mind. Jesus, son of God and a refugee at birth, is simultaneously divine and human. Through Jesus’ teachings and life spent amongst the most marginalised, we learn of God’s radical love for the world. A sociopolitical revolutionary, Jesus was a threat to the empire that he and his followers lived under – such a threat that he was tortured and crucified. Through His resurrection, we know that that radical love will always triumph over evil. The Risen One is found in each of us whenever we worship God or work to mend the world, which is an act of worship itself. Jesus is my guide, my mentor, and my brother in the struggle.
2. The General Council Executive has identified discipleship and faith formation as a key objective of the work of our denomination for the next three years. Please share something about your personal understanding of Christian discipleship.
Although I was baptised in the U.C.C., my family did not attend church when I was growing up. It was as a teenager that I felt the call to follow Christ. So. I understand discipleship as starting with a willingness to intentionally answer a call. From there, it is an ongoing process of prayer, reflection, and study to ensure that you are continuing to answer that call. The last year has also taught me that true discipleship includes following Christ into spaces that are unexpected and possibly messy. The saying “let go and let God” may be cliché, but it truly is key to being a disciple of Christ.
3. As Moderator, your task, according to the Manual (2016) is to: “give leadership to the United Church, especially in spiritual things, quickening in the hearts of the people a sense of God as revealed in Christ, and heartening and strengthening the whole United Church.” How might you see yourself doing this, and particularly to the small, rural, and more isolated congregations that comprise a large percentage of our denomination?
First, I need to recognise that the unique challenges of rural congregations are not something I’m intimately familiar with. The most important thing I can do at first is to listen and hold the pain and frustration that comes from those challenges in my heart. With that said, the core of the reason why I agreed to seek a nomination to stand for Moderator is the belief that our church must reclaim evangelicalism, to heal the world and be a force for good in the public square. Issues such as rural poverty and the disappearance of the family farm must be as a part of these efforts just as much as the issues urban communities face. It would be my hope that a more robust national voice would reaffirm for folks that we are indeed proclaiming the Good News on these lands, thus easing some of the isolation and disconnection from the denomination that people experience.
4. Recognizing our ecumenical connections, how would you help the U.C.C. become more welcoming of those who hold a more orthodox or Christ-centred theology?
The Church exists to proclaim and realise God’s love for the world, as Christ taught us. Walking with the radical Jesus who told the rich ruler to sell everything, give to the poor, and follow him (Luke 18) is what we do. We are not the Church when Christ is not at the centre. These core truths are the foundations that allow us to enter into prayerful dialogue with people who hold various theologies. I would encourage these conversations; our theologies are richer when they are informed by others’.
5. How can we pray for you and what is your prayer for the Church?
Thank you for the question. These last few months have had a degree of uncertainty that hasn’t always been comfortable. I would ask that you pray that I continue to be strengthened by God, knowing that I will be called to where God needs me.
My prayer for the Church is that, as we live into our new ways of being, we grieve losses and acknowledge the discomfort of change, but we also remember Christ’s call not to worry, rather to strive for God’s kindom (Matthew 6:25-33).