More of our Commissioners to the 41st General Council reflect on their experience:
Ivan Gegan, Ordered Ministry Representative to the General Council Executive
1. What part of General Council did you like best?
The Table group discussions with fantastic and committed UCC people from all over Canada. I loved the inclusiveness of people in our Council who welcomed different languages, cultures, ethnicities and sexualities. It was a wonderful example of how we can exist and should exist in God’s Realm. Some of the “pop up prophets” (preachers) were exceptional – insightful, poignant and filled with spiritual light.
2. What part of General Council was the most important?
Times in Commissions.
3. What part of General Council moved you in a special way?
Sitting with the First Nation representative and getting to know her. Also the younger representatives from across the Church bore evidence of their commitment and wisdom – very well spoken 20-somethings we have in our Church!
4. What part of General Council could you leave out and still have everything you needed!
The whole debate on Israel-Palestine was trying on the spirit. The political lobbying outside the Council spoke of the brinkmanship and high stakes surrounding our position.
Joan MacLeod, pictou Presbytery
1) Best -a toss up betwen the wonderful safety and sharing of our table group (#28) and the worships, especially the opening and closing worships.
2) Most important was the political stance of the church in both rejecting The Northern Gateways and supporting the oppressed people of Palestine. though sadly our pension board would not agree to the divestment from Goldcorp. (although again a toss up)between those and the election of our new moderator (which seemed to be spirit driven). I feel we elected the right moderator for our time!
3) I cried when singing “How Great Thou Art” at Dominion Chambers with 600 voices. I also cried when the first part of the Palestine Proposal went through. I was moved by the first nations night on Sat night and the testimony of Lorna Standingready. But I was awed by our new moderators sermon on Saturday morning. I have listened to it with my partner on livestream and I have a feeling I will continue to return to it. She asked me to put it on a flash drive, so she can share it with her bible study group!
4) Leave out- 8 DAYS WAS TOO LONG.By Thursday night, we just wanted to go home. I understand it was shortened from other years, but it was still too long and I wonder about the necessity to have a day off to sight see. Couldn’t people come early to do that?. (It would also be a huge savings!) It was an exhausting week with early mornings 6 or 7 am to get up and late nights , I rarely got to bed before 1! as a result I picked up the conference flu (my nose started streaming at the Ottawa airport and my vitamin c was in my checked suitcase! ) I am still ill but I will recover!
Brenda Nesbitt, Valley Presbytery
1. Worship at the centre stage many times over was powerful and moving for me. As it turned our I sat right next to the stage, so felt immersed within each experience of praise and worship.
2. For me, the most important point made at this conference was the fact that we discerned all that we read, perhaps altered and then amended, while inviting the power of the Holy Spirit into all our decisions.
3. I was extremely moved by my new understanding that all United Churches stand on ‘Native Lands’. Moving from this new understanding to the signing of the Covenant, provided me with an ‘Aha’ moment.
4. I could leave out so much word-smithing and live within the ‘intent’ of each proposal.
Alice MacAskill, Inverness-Guysborough Presbytery
1) I enjoyed the worship and business parts.
2) the most important part was the business.
3) the place where an Aboriginal lady spoke about her stay at a Residential School.
4) the open space part.
Henry Ellsworth, Halifax Presbytery
1. It was an excellent GC, and I would have to say the abundance of music thoughout the whole 8 days
2. The most important was working in the Commissions on the proposals
3. I was moved by the presence of the Native council and the part they play in the UC, and the final signing of the convenant with them by the Moderator.
4. If I had to leave out something it would be the open spaces, I did not get much from those sessions.