Rev. Dr. John H. Young has been nominated for Moderator of the United Church of Canada. To see John’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 a good sense of the United Church’s history and ethos. I have been extensively involved in church governance at various levels of the church since the late 1980s. In that leadership work in the Church, I have demonstrated an ability to bring together persons of varied perspectives. I have a capacity to explain church processes, historical matters, and theological concepts in a way that people are able to follow and to understand what is at stake in a particular matter we are discussing. I think these gifts are important ones in our current context.
2. Which Christian author has had the greatest impact on you?
Walter Brueggemann is the contemporary Christian author who has had the greatest influence on me. Douglas John Hall would come second, and Serene Jones third in that regard.
3. How would you articulate the good news that Canadian society needs to hear from our church in this time and place?
I think what an increasingly secular Canadian society needs from the United Church is a willingness on our part to talk about our theology—what we think about God, Jesus, Scripture, sin and grace, the sacraments, etc. These dimensions of our faith matter pastorally as our members and other Canadians wrestle with ethical issues at work, or moral questions such as physician assisted death, or addictions, or violence, or self-esteem, or . . ., and the list goes on. No one else in our society, save members of other faith communities, will wrestle with these questions, with life’s theological dimension.
4. “Cruxifusion” means “united by the cross.” What does Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection mean to you?
Jesus’ death and resurrection, along with his life and teachings, show God’s great love for us. At the heart of Christianity is the Incarnation, Christianity’s audacious claim that, in Jesus, God took on human flesh and lived among us. God’s decision to become one of us shows God’s great love for humanity. Regardless of the atonement theory to which one subscribes, Jesus’ willingness to accept death on the cross is a particularly strong manifestation of that love. That divine love reaches out to us as we are, forgives us, and encourages us to live such that God’s will is done.
5. How can we best pray for you?
I hope that people across the United Church would pray that each nominee is able to present well to the commissioners in Corner Brook the gifts and passions they offer to the United Church at this point in our history. Such a presentation would help commissioners to choose the nominee best suited to serve us in the coming triennium. I also hope all of us would pray for wisdom and the presence of the Holy Spirit to be with whoever is chosen as Moderator as that individual leads and carries out the responsibilities of the office in the years ahead.