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People and organizations
United Church of Canada Archives

United Church of Canada. Committee on Ecumenical Affairs.

  • Corporate body
  • 1958-1971

The Committee on Ecumenical Affairs was established by General Council in 1958 to cultivate an understanding of the ecumenical movement and its relevance to the United Church. Through participation in the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches, as well as through direct contact with several Canadian churches and coalitions, the Committee promoted interdenominational cooperation with other Christian denominations and later, other faiths. At the November meeting of the General Council Executive in 1969 the Committee on Ecumenical Affairs submitted the following recommendation: That the work of the following four committees – Ecumenical Affairs, Committee on Union, Protestant-Roman Catholic Relations, Joint Committees of Seven (Presbyterian-United Church) be subsumed into one Committee which would assume the present responsibilities of each Committee and that its name be “The Committee on Inter-Church and Inter-Faith Relations”. The Committee was superseded by the Committee on Inter-Church and Inter-Faith Relations in 1971.

United Church of Canada. Committee on Inter-Church and Inter-Faith Relations.

  • Corporate body
  • 1971-2009

At the November meeting of the General Council Executive in 1969 the Committee on Ecumenical Affairs submitted the following recommendation: That the work of the following four committees – Ecumenical Affairs, Committee on Union, Protestant-Roman Catholic Relations, Joint Committees of Seven (Presbyterian-United Church) be subsumed into one Committee which would assume the present responsibilities of each Committee and that its name be “The Committee on Inter-Church and Inter-Faith Relations”. The Committee was superseded by the Committee on Inter-Church and Inter-Faith Relations in 1971.

The Purpose of the Committee, as stated in 1971, was to “challenge the Church to a vision of ecumenism which includes the whole inhabited world. The committee shall encourage, support, enable, and hold the Church accountable to its role as a sign of reconciliation and renewal among human communities at both the local and global levels. The Committee shall constantly remind the whole church that ecumenism is not an option, but rather, an integral part of its life and witness.”

United Church of Canada. Committee on World Development, Service and Relief.

  • Corporate body

When the work of the Board of World Mission became part of the Division of World Outreach the responsibilities held by two committees under the General Council, the Committee on World Development and Relief and the Committee on Overseas Relief and Inter-Church Aid, were made one under the Division of World Outreach and called the Committee on World Development, Service and Relief, in 1972. The Committee was overseen by a Secretary of the World Development Service and Relief Committee (Glenna Graham, 1976-1979), then an Associate Secretary, Development (Glenna Graham, 1979-1982); then, Development Secretary (Lee Holland, 1986-1996).

In a unit reorganization in 1997, work re development was folded into Education for Engagement, which brought together and integrated the educational work of three former DWO Committees (Development, Interfaith, Mission Education) as part of the implementation of the recommendations of the Division’s Strategic Work Task Group.

United Church of Canada. Division of Finance

  • Corporate body
  • 1925-2020

From its founding in 1925 the United Church operated with a unified plan of finance. Funds were raised by a united appeal to the whole church, and were apportioned to various departments of church work from a central fund known briefly as the Maintenance & Extension Fund, from 1926 as the Missionary & Maintenance Fund, and from 1970 as the Mission & Service Fund. In addition to money raised at the congregational and national levels, interest from trusts and estates and ministerial assessments under the annuity plans also went into this central fund.
Church finances were administered until 1942 by the Finance Committee of the General Council, established in 1926 following the expiration of the financial bodies of the uniting churches. The Finance Committee was responsible for the collection and investment of funds, gathering requests for funds from the boards, committees and agencies of the Church, and apportioning these funds. It was also responsible for the General Council Fund, insurance funds and policies, and the general property of the Church not specifically vested in a congregation or board or agency. Accounting, banking and investment duties were carried out by a Treasurer (assisted by a Deputy Treasurer) , who served as Secretary of the Committee.
The promotional work of fund-raising was administered by the Secretary of the Missionary & Maintenance fund and his assistants. These officials worked with the Conferences and local congregations to promote a sense of Christian stewardship throughout the Church. In addition to promoting systematic methods of giving such as weekly offerings and every-person canvassing, M&M staff at the national level created and coordinated special stewardship programmes and campaigns.
The pension funds of the uniting churches were administered by a United Church Pension Fund, the constitution and administrative board for which became operational in 1929. Due to the nature of the pension and provident funds established by the predecessor churches, the United Church Pension Fund did not become the sole pension branch of the church until 1990.
In 1942 a Board of Finance was established with three departments: Department of the Treasury, Department of Missionary & Maintenance, and Department of Pensions. The Board was composed of a chairman, the secretaries of the three departments as well as the secretary of the General Council, representatives of various boards of the church as well as representatives of the Conferences and non-ministerial members of the General Council. Each of the departments maintained their own boards and executives, with Treasury assuming much of the responsibility for budget preparation and accounting handled by the former Finance Committee. It should be noted however, that all final decisions on budgetary allocations remained with the Executive of the General Council.
In 1968 the Board of Finance became the Division of Finance, and in the same year Missionary & Maintenance became the Department of Stewardship Services. It now had responsibility for promoting the methods of stewardship throughout the whole church (in cooperation with the Committee on Education for Mission and Stewardship within the Division of Communications), and took on the additional duties of the Committee for Directed Programmes (the former Capital Funds Service), and the Office of Special Gifts and Bequests, as well as maintaining its primary responsibility for meeting the requirements of the Unified Budget Plan. In 1970 the Missionary & Maintenance fund was renamed the Mission & Service Fund. The final institutional alteration in the Division took place in 1985 when the Department of Pensions was renamed the Department of Pensions and Group Insurance.
During the reorganization of the General Council Office in 2001, the duties of the Division of Finance were separated into two parts: Financial Services (investments, revenue, expenditure, budget & reporting, facility services) and Financial Stewardship (annual/future revenue generation, bulletin cover production).The Permanent Committee on Finance, a committee of the General Council, was also created and is responsible for overseeing and monitoring the financial life and policies of the General Council, including assets, income, expenditures, considerations of its short-and long-term financial issues, risk management, and investment and fund management; overseeing long-term financial planning of the General Council, recommending the overall expenditure and income budgets to the Executive; monitoring income, expenditures, assets, liabilities and capital initiatives and reporting them regularly to the Executive and recommending financial strategies. Also in 2002, the United Church of Canada Foundation was created as an arm’s length body that is expert in the management of trusts and endowments that support the work of the Church. In 2009, Financial Services became the Finance Department and Stewardship Services work was transferred to the newly created Philanthropy Unit.

United Church of Canada. Division of World Outreach.

  • Corporate body
  • 1972-2001

The Division of World Outreach was created by General Council in 1972 out of the Board of World Mission and became operational in July 1973. The new Division promoted mutuality in mission and interdenominational cooperation; it divided its administrative framework into geographic areas, including Africa, Asia, Latin America, Caribbean, South Asia and Pacific.

In 2001 as part of a General Council structure reorganization, Division of World Outreach became part of the newly formed Justice, Global and Ecumenical Relations unit.

United Church of Canada. Division of World Outreach. Africa Desk.

  • Corporate body
  • 1972-2001

Until 1976, first as an Associate Secretary and then as Secretary, Garth Legge had responsibility for Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America. James A. Kirkwood first reported as Associate Secretary for Africa in 1977, with Garth Legge continuing to have responsibility for the Caribbean and Latin America. From 1988 to 1993, Paula J. Butler and Jim Kirkwood shared the roles of Africa Area Secretaries, followed by Omega Bula and Paula Butler (1994-1995), Omega Bula and Lee Holland (1996-2002). Under the major reorganization of 2002, work related to Africa was moved to the Justice, Global and Ecumenical Relations Unit.

United Church of Canada. Division of World Outreach. Asia and Pacific Desk.

  • Corporate body
  • 1972-2001

The Asia Area comprised of Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, India, Nepal, and Taiwan in 1972 but the boundaries were continually altered since that time. E. Frank Carey, an Associate Secretary and then Deputy Secretary, was responsible for Asia until 1984. In 1985 the Asia and Pacific Area Secretary first reported; at times the responsibilities for this area were divided between two Area Secretaries--for East Asia, and for South Asia and Pacific. During this period cooperation with other churches (both native and foreign) and mutuality in mission were important. Area Secretaries for East Asia 1985 have included Rhea M. Whitehead, 1984-1991 and Nancy (Nan) Hudson, 1992-2000 while Jack G. Lakavich, 1988-1995 and Bruce Gregersen, 1996-2001 have served as Area Secretaries for South Asia and Pacific.

United Church of Canada. Division of World Outreach. Caribbean and Latin America Desk.

  • Corporate body
  • 1971-2001

Garth Legge, first as an Associate Secretary and then as Secretary, was responsible for Africa, the Carribbean, and Latin America until 1977 when an Associate Secretary for Africa first reported. He continued to have responsibility for the Caribbean and Latin America Area until 1983. From 1984-2002 the Area was the responsibility of an Associate Secretary (1984) or Area Secretary (from 1985). Associate Secretaries were Rev. Thomas C. Edmonds, 1984-1990; Rev. Christopher Ferguson, 1991-1998 and Jim Hodgson, 2000-2001. Under the major reorganization of 2002, work related to Caribbean and Latin America was moved to the Justice, Global and Ecumenical Relations Unit.

United Church of Canada. Division of World Outreach. Interfaith Dialogue.

  • Corporate body
  • 1971-2001

In 1972, the General Council authorized the creation of a portfolio under administration of the Division of World Outreach on Research and Education in Interfaith Relations and International Understanding. The name of the portfolio changed in 1976 to Interfaith Dialogue when the terms of reference were altered to exclude international affairs, and to give more emphasis to education and promotion of interfaith exchanges. The mandate, simply stated, was "to develop community through dialogue with people of other faiths within and beyond Canada." The Secretary had six main areas of responsibility: initiating dialogues between people of different faiths; representing the Division in Canada and abroad in discussions about interfaith encounters; interpreting dialogue concerns to the Church; providing and disseminating resource materials; extending dialogue into cognate areas of human rights; and doing appropriate research. The Secretary began serving ex-officio as a member of the General Council Committee on Inter-Church and Inter-Faith Relations in 1980. New terms of reference, instituted in 1988, charged the Secretary with the task of devising ways to promote interfaith dialogue at the congregational level in concert with the General Council and Conference Inter-Church and Inter-Faith committees. James F. Seunarine was Secretary from 1974 to 1980. He was succeeded by John H. Berthrong who served from 1980 to 1989. Paul W. Newman served from 1990-1993, and Bruce Gregersen from 1995-2001.

United Church of Canada. Permanent Committee on Governance and Agenda.

  • Corporate body
  • 2001-

The Committee is one of the four committees of the Executive of the General Council that was established after the restructuring of General Council divisions in 2001. It is responsible for overseeing and monitoring the financial life and policies of the General Council, including assets, income, expenditures, considerations of its short- and long-term financial issues, risk management, and investment and fund management; overseeing the long-term financial planning of the General Council; recommending the overall expenditure and income budget to the Executive; monitoring income, expenditures, assets, liabilities, and capital initiatives and reporting them regularly to the Executive and; recommending financial strategies.

The Permanent Committee on Finance is made up of 9 to 12 voting members reflecting the gender, race, ethnic, age, vocation, and geographical diversity of The United Church of Canada and three voting members of the Executive of the General Council. The General Council Officer for Finance is the staff resource to the committee.

Most of the tasks and responsibilities of this Committee were once part of the Permanent Committee on Governance Planning and Budgeting Processes (2003-2009).

United Church of Canada. Permanent Committee on Governance Planning and Budgeting Processes.

  • Corporate body
  • 2003-2008

The Permanent Committee on Governance Planning and Budgeting Processes (PC-GPBP) was one of the four Permanent Committees set up to assist the General Council Executive in it’s work. The Committee was charged with assisting the Executive to develop it’s governance, planning and budgeting processes. It created and recommended strategies or processes through which the Executive could carry out its governance planning and budgeting roles. Specifically, it reviewed work coming before the Executive; ensured planning with the committees and units was held up and came to the Executive in a coherent, integrated and manageable form; co-ordinated and presented policy recommendations; ensured accountability for delegated tasks; made decisions as delegated in the area assigned and delegated other functions to Working Units, sub-committees or other task groups; ensured and modelled the principle of collaboration between staff and elected members; carried out other functions as requested and advised and guided the Executive on matters relevant to its mandate.

This committee was a Permanent Committee of the General Council from 2003-2008 at which point a new Terms of Reference was adopted and most work of the Committee moved to the Committee on Governance and Agenda.

United Church of Canada. Permanent Committee on Ministry and Employment Policies and Services.

  • Corporate body
  • 2003-

The Permanent Committee on Ministry and Employment Policies and Services (PC-MEPS) is accountable to the Executive of the General Council and has the responsibility to provide advice to the Executive regarding ministry and employment policies and services. This committee assists the Executive of the General Council in its responsibilities as the legal employer of a considerable number of staff and the legal administrator of a pension fund and ensures that all the various personnel systems have fair, equitable and consistent values.

The committee has a number of specific responsibilities; overseeing policies in relation to ministry personnel, GCO and Conference staff, Overseas personnel, KAIROS, the pension plan and group insurance plans of the United Church of Canada, and Administrators of the Pension Plan.

The committee is made up of 12 voting members who reflect the diversity of The United Church of Canada (diversity with respect to sex, race, age, geography and vocation) and three voting members of the Executive of the General Council. The Chairperson is appointed as a voting member of the Executive of the General Council.

United Church of Canada. Permanent Committee on Programs for Mission and Ministry.

  • Corporate body
  • 2002-

This committee brings to the Executive integrated recommendations on the program life of the church, including work to support justice and global initiatives, congregations and ministries, and our diverse and intercultural ministries. It was established in 2002 as successor to some of the work of the Divisions of World Outreach, Division of Mission in Canada and the Division of Communication.

The committee is responsible for coordinating and integrating the directions and priorities set by the Executive for program work, including resource production and distribution; maintaining connections with education and outreach personnel and with appropriate committees throughout the church; bringing to the Executive coherent, integrated and manageable recommendations on program priorities; ensuring that resources in keeping with the program priorities are created and distributed; supporting the program and resource units as they carry out their work with creativity and collaboration, while maintaining constructive dialogue with unit leaders of the program and resource production units as well as the Permanent Committee on Governance and Agenda.

The committee is made up of 25 voting members who reflect the diversity of The United Church of Canada with respect to gender identity, racial and ethnic identity, age, geography, vocation, including two voting members of the Executive of the General Council and a chair who also serves as a voting member of the Executive. Additionally, two global partners and one member from the Theology and Inter-Church Inter-Faith Committee are appointed.

United Church of Canada. Working Group on the Changing Church.

  • Corporate body
  • 1994-2000

In 1994, the 35th General Council acknowledged a need for new life in the structures of the church. It encouraged Conferences, Presbyteries, Pastoral Charges, “being open to the life giving transforming spirit of God” to evaluate present structures, to experiment with new structures (if desired) and to share these experiences with the rest of the church.

The Council appointed a task group (later called Working Group on the Changing Church) to facilitate a process of consultation, support and initiative for changes that would best enable the church to carry out its mission of new models and structures. These included a revision of the four-Court system and a three-Court model that would reduce the number of decision-making and oversight bodies. The Executive, in 1997 created a task group with unit representation, known as the “Internal Task Group” (ITG), to “bring a design for a new model for structure of the General Council Offices and to include in its report, information regarding the potential cost savings, potential impact on staff and volunteers, potential impact on the church’s mission, plus a plan for implementation. The Executive agreed that the report should be given to the Working Group for the Changing Church for inclusion in its report to the 37th General Council. The latter report (the work of an Internal Task Group) was attached to the main body of the Working Group Report. The final report presented to General Council contained a comprehensive description and financial implications of only one model.

In August 2000, the General Council approved the re-organization of the General Council offices, including its governance structures. The Council did not pre-determine the shape of a new organizational structure, but asked the General Council Executive to have oversight of the process. A New Directions committee was appointed by the Executive (Nov, 2000) to guide the redesign and bring recommendations on new structures. Two Change Teams (Staff and Volunteer) were also appointed, to coordinate the implementation of the change process.

United Church of Canada. Committee on Nominations.

  • 1968-

The Committee on Nominations was proposed by a study committee in 1968. The Committee was an attempt to expand the process of finding suitable candidates for the several committees and commissions appointed by the General Council, by inviting representatives of the Conferences and the Church at large to participate. The Committee was responsible for compiling biographical and other information on prospective candidates, and also for the appointment of members of the Judicial Committee and other standing committees of General Council. The Committee reports to the Executive of the General Council.

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