Sometimes it is eerie silence that calls someone out of deep sleep. No birds, no wind,  no whispered conversations from another room. Silence itself can be a warning that things are worse than you knew. Here it is, 2019, fully two months since the “United” “Church” of Canada, through Toronto Conference, refused to discipline an “Ordained” “Minister” for proclaiming atheism in the place of faith. Go to West Hill “United” “Church” and you will hear the sounds of silence: no Scripture, no hymns, no prayers.

I just got a mailing from the Newly established Office of Vocation in the Untied Corp of Canada (AKA The “United” “Church” of Canada, or “the organisation formerly known as Church”) describing its formation, structure and responsibilities. Even before reading it, I knew that it has one duty that must come before all others. It’s got to find a better name.

We can’t keep calling it the Office of Vocation, because Vocation means ‘calling’ and requires that the persons under their supervision are called by God

TO: My Collaborators in the United Church (Confidential)

RE: Why we must keep atheists in our pulpits. (An Imaginary Memo)

You may have heard objections to the Toronto Conference (TC) settlement with an aggressively atheist pastor. It is suggested that TC settled to save the cost of litigation and it is wise to maintain this façade. No one can know the real reason for the settlement, since TC wisely sealed it in a non-disclosure agreement.

The anger generated by this decision – its lack of transparency, its defiance of the Conference Interview Board recommendation, its disregard for the  place of God in the very definition of church – this anger is to our benefit.

It has been rightly observed that any financial savings the national church experiences through avoiding this litigation will be negated by the loss of membership from congregations, and resultant loss of income. Don’t worry: that’s the congregations’ problem, not ours.

We will ultimately benefit from this outcome.

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:

         “Wake up, O sleeper,

         rise from the dead,

         and Christ will shine on you.”

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Eph 5:11–16)

You will hear, over and over again, from United Church sources that the decision to allow Gretta Vosper, an avowed atheist, to continue in ministry as an ordained United Church Minister is nothing to worry about.  They will tell you that this decision, though troubling, is an isolated incident, which does not change the United Church in any substantial way. Do not drink the Kool-Aid.


A quick Lenten commentary on the four Gospels, chapter by chapter.

New 2-3 chapters will be published each day through Lent 2020.