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

Rev. Debra Bowman

Rev. Debra Bowman has been nominated for Moderator of the United Church of Canada. To see Debra’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?

I have faith in the resurrected Christ and a profound love and expectation of the United Church of Canada. We have been in a liminal time, reeling with the decline of the church and our part in the attempted destruction of First Nations’ cultures. I believe God is pushing us out of that liminal space and calling us to live what it is we say we believe – particularly at the ground level.

I have significant experience serving in leadership roles in the church. I am both compassionate and committed to addressing difficult issues head on. I have a strong sense of humour.

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

Ack – I can’t pick just one.

Lloyd Gaston: identifying the latent anti-Semitism of the New Testament and his rigourous examination of the NT was formative.

Daniel Boyarin: his thinking post-Gaston about Paul’s claims and the self-differentiation of the early followers of the Way from their Jewish community.

Walter Brueggemann: his work on the prophets and justice. Actually – anything he writes!

James Alison and Rene Girard: identifying the dynamic of scapegoating and the risen Christ’s role in breaking that dynamic, offering peace rather than vengeance upon his resurrection.

Sally McFague: the world as the body of God and her recent writing on kenosis

Ted Peters: proleptic theology

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

Each life and all creation matters and is precious to God. Hyper-consumerism will not fulfill the deep yearning for meaning or love. In Christ there is no shame that cannot be named and forgiven. The paralysis of cynicism and despair can by lifted with a hope beyond reason, a hope rooted in the resurrection. In that hope we can and must engage the places in our lives and in the world where we seem to be far from the kindom by cooperating with God’s yearning for creation.

Culture offers the church good news too – there is a reaching for transcendence and ritual that we often miss.

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

It means everything. The Word in flesh has shown us the most egregious consequence of going all the way in a commitment to the promised kindom of God. That God resurrected Christ shows me several things: there is no hopelessness in God’s world; no action committed to God’s love is futile; the kindom of God is breaking in, but not yet complete and; the risen Christ has shown us the response to ultimate violence – ‘Peace be with you’. Not vengeance, getting even, seeking the next scapegoat but offering our all and responding with peace in the face of resistance.

5. How can we best pray for you?

Thanks so much for asking.

By praying that God’s will be done. That considerations about where people are from, what their age is, what their gender or sexuality are, what their ministry status is, are irrelevant. That whoever can best serve God and the church be elected. You can pray that I be shown that place between ‘holding something lightly’, and being passionately committed and that I can rest there. And if I am elected, please pray fervently every day that I serve the church and God well.