On the direction of the Church Board, Our Chair, Mr Ron Cooper, has sent this message to the United Church Head Office. Signed by all available Board members, it expresses our deep concern. We welcome other congregations, and indeed every court of the church to express this same concern and demand that every level of the church demonstrate its commitment by working to restore what has been lost.
To the Moderator and General Council Executive of the United Church of Canada
We the undersigned members of the Church Board of Rockland Pastoral Charge lodge this formal complaint, as follows:
Even as we pray fervently for the restoration of those who have fallen away from Christian faith, and for the strengthening of those who waver,
we insist in the strongest terms that Gretta Vosper, a publicly self-professed atheist be removed from ministry in the United Church of Canada, until such a time as she publicly and credibly professes Christian Faith.
Both the decision of Toronto Conference and the manner of avoiding scrutiny of the decision through creating a non-disclosure agreement are wrong, and are damaging to the whole church.
It is wrong for our doctrine and policy to be ignored by Toronto Conference, which was a body entrusted with upholding the polity of the church. It is wrong for the decision makers to hide behind the screen of non disclosure, preventing a proper review of their reasoning. But above all it is entirely wrong for the church to fail to remove from ministry anyone who steadfastly denies the very foundation of our denomination as the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, our Heavenly Father, who with the Holy Spirit live and reign forever.
We insist that the United Church, by whatever means available set this right, acting upon the recommendation of the Toronto Conference Interview Board which concluded that the person in question is not suitable for ministry within the United Church.
We assert that the Toronto Conference, along with the other courts of the church which have duties of discipline in this matter (including the Trustees of West Hill United Church, the Pastoral Charge, and their Presbytery) have shattered the trust and unity which is necessary for the church to operate. Apart from a reversal of this decision, the identity, faithfulness and integrity of the Denomination is destroyed: it is no longer United and no longer a Church.
This letter is being sent to the General Council Executive, in the absence of any clarity about how this problem may be addressed in the new structure that has developed since the Toronto Conference Decision. We leave it to you to remedy this complaint, and thereby demonstrate that the denominational structure retains any Christian purpose and any reason for existence.
May the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ bless you with success in removing unfaithful members from ministry, thus restoring some integrity to this denomination – or else may God remove you from authority over His people.
Ron Cooper, Chair Rev Brian Wilkie Hazel MacInnis John Douglas Jane Cooper
Donna Cameron Ray Lebeau Jacquie Hawken Nancy Levesque Rudolph Lorrain