“Supporting, inspring and connecting Christ-centred leaders and congregations within the United Church of Canada”

Rev. Bill Thomas

Rev. Bill Thomas has been nominated for Moderator of the United Church of Canada. To see Bill’s profile on the General Council 42 website, please click here.

1. What gifts and passions do you have that you believe the United Church of Canada needs today?

First, my passions. I am passionate about the Gospel, the church and particularly The United Church of Canada and our voice. It is our call to be an apostolic church, taking the good news into the broader society and nurturing and strengthening disciples and saints in our midst. I have a strong, prophetic voice along with a compassionate pastoral presence.

I believe we are most effective in our ministry when we recognize that we are part of a much larger Body of Christ and am committed to both ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue and cooperation. As Christians, regardless of liberal/conservative, progressive/regressive/orthodox designations there is much more that unites us than divides. One of my gifts is the ability to bring diverse voices to the table to engage in meaningful conversations. I also bring a commitment to and an understanding of our partners and the relationships we have and could have together.

2. Which Christian author has had the greatest impact on you?

This is a toss up. It is either Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Walter Brueggemann. Both take up an equal amount of space on my bookshelf. Each has a deep commitment to Christ and Christ’s ministry and recognizes that that ministry continues and belongs to anyone who names themselves Christian. Each values and holds up the prophetic voice, both historically and within our present context and each offers a prophetic voice to the church. Both Bonhoeffer and Brueggemann hold up evangelism as an imperative and encourages the sharing of the gospel as truly good news. And finally, each recognizes that there is a cost to discipleship and that we carry a responsibility that rises out of being recipients of grace.

3.How would you articulate the good news that Canadian society needs to hear from our church in this time and place?

We are not alone and each of us can make a difference.The UCCan creed holds before us that we are indeed in communion with God and with each other. The Gospels provide us with the example of Jesus’ ministry and the promise that what we have seen him do we are called to do greater. By following the way laid forth for us by Jesus during his ministry, we can be agents of change in people and transformation in society. And, recognizing the power of the covenant we can be instruments of reconciliation, purveyors of God’s justice and the communication of God’s love. And, if we open our eyes we will see that God is indeed doing a new thing in our midst and each of us is called to participate in its unfolding.

4. “Cruxifusion” means “united by the cross.” What does Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection mean to you?

Throughout his life, Jesus upheld the dignity of the person and the responsibility of the community, even in the face of derision, threat and persecution. Jesus, time and again, ‘spoke truth to power’ at great risk to himself. His death on the cross is a declaration that there is something worth dying for. And he calls each of us to identify that something in our own lives, to ‘take up our cross and follow him.’

The resurrection is God’s declaration that death does not have the final word and that the one that is rejected by the powers-that-be is the very one through whom comes new life, promise and hope.

5. How can we best pray for you?

I would ask that you simply pray for me as one of the 12 whose names are put forward and that the Spirit guide us and the commissioners to General Council 42 in our discernment and deliberations. I would also ask that you pray for our spouses and significant others as well as our children, whose lives are also impacted by this journey, many of whom will only be able to watch the proceedings from afar. And finally, I would ask you to pray for the person who is elected Moderator, that they may have the courage and conviction to, in the words of Jeremiah, ‘speak the words that (God) shall give them.’