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

Rev. Dr. Barry Pridham

We have asked all the nominees for moderator four questions so that we, as a church, could get to know them a little better. Here are the responses for Rev. Dr. Barry Pridham. If you would like to know more about Barry, please read his profile from the General Council 41 website.

1) “Cruxifusion” means “united by the cross.” What does Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection mean to you?
As a Christian, Christ’s life, death and resurrection is everything to me. It means that God loved the world, everything and every living creature and human being, so much that God somehow came in Jesus the Christ, so that the world may know experience and respond to the way of love, justice and peace of God, embodied in Jesus and his vision of the Kingdom or Reign of God.

I’ve added Jesus “life”, as it informs our knowledge and love of and commitment to Christ as “followers of the way.” Only as we die to self and rise for him, “lay healing hands on the reviled and rejected like he did on his behalf-We who rage for righteousness in his insistent voice, we who love the sinner, even knowing that “the sinner” is no farther off than our heartbeat.” (Victor Weinstein) Will Christ’s resurrection presence live in and through us and redeem people, institutions and ultimately the world.

2) Describe the God you worship.
The God I worship is the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Rebecca, Ruth, Naomi, Mary, Bishop Oscar Romero, Nellie McClung, my parents, grandparents and… God is the same yesterday, today and always, in God’s mercy, love, grace, forgiveness, inclusiveness, and compassion. God is as Paul says “the very ground of our being.” “Holy Mystery,” as our Song of Faith puts it aptly. Yet through Spirit presence, God is at work making and keeping human life human and continually revealing God’s self as God of change, risk, venture and joy. God is thereby worthy of my individual and our collective praise.

3) Which Christian author has had the greatest impact on you?
Many “Christian” authors have inspired and moved me to live a life of faithfulness in my private, family and public life. But more than most Karl Barth has inflamed my passion for the scripture and its call to discipleship and life in community. My evangelical faith and passion for social justice are fanned to flame by many of his writings. I like the often quoted story that having been asked later in life, after writing volumes of systematic theology, how he would sum up the faith, he responded, “Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so.” Amen!

4) What gifts and passions do you have that you believe the United Church needs today?
I’m an outgoing, passionate, dedicated, follower of Jesus Christ, who believes in the church as a sign, foretaste and instrument of the Reign of God. I believe I bring integrity, love of my Lord, respect for and a desire to work together with people of diverse Christian understandings, those of other faith traditions and those with no particular faith commitment but common humanitarian concern, to be change agents for a more equal, democratic, just and inclusive world.

I have demonstrated new ways of being the church-a mall ministry each weekday, new congregation in a seniors retirement complex, an outreach to industry as a chaplain, linking arms with community organizations to address poverty, feed those on the edge of life, celebrate peace and diversity and to welcome new immigrants.

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