Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, The United Church of Canada’s commissioners voted over the weekend to postpone General Council 44, which was to take place in July 2021 in Calgary. The intention is to set a similar date in 2022, which extends General Council 43 by one extra year. Essentially, this means the current General Council, including Moderator Richard Bott, will remain in place for one year longer than normal.
More than 250 voting and non-voting members attended the virtual meeting on June 20. They discussed the pros and cons of postponing the event, versus moving it to a virtual format. Accessibility was consistently brought up, when members spoke about the idea of an online-only event. For instance, wifi is not equally distributed across the country, which makes streaming events difficult in small communities.
Members also brought up the toll that constant virtual meetings can take on people’s mental health. Others expressed fears that vendors might not refund money that General Council Executive had spent to reserve services and locations, should the event remain as scheduled but end up cancelled anyway.
Of primary concern was the importance of having a “plan B” in place, in case large groups are still unable to meet in 2022. In the end, the motion to postpone was carried, with only eight votes against.
Glynis Ratcliffe is Broadview’s senior writer.
I hope you found this Broadview article engaging. The magazine and its forerunners have been publishing continuously since 1829. We face a crisis today like no other in our 191-year history and we need your help. Would you consider a one-time gift to see us through this emergency?
We’re working hard to keep producing the print and digital versions of Broadview. We’ve adjusted our editorial plans to focus on coverage of the social, ethical and spiritual elements of the pandemic. But we can only deliver Broadview’s award-winning journalism if we can pay our bills. A single tax-receiptable gift right now is literally a lifeline.
Things will get better — we’ve overcome adversity before. But until then, we really need your help. No matter how large or small, I’m extremely grateful for your support.