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Canadian delegates favour new Faith & Life Committee


Lynne Williams of Valleyview MC (London, Ont.) digs into delegate work on the Faith and Life Committee proposal at Charlotte 2005.

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July 8, 2005
-by Tim Miller Dyck

Winnipeg, Man. — At their Thursday delegate sessions, Canadian delegates gave a strong positive reception to a proposal to create a Faith and Life Committee. They also voted to keep meeting once a year as a national church, as has been done since 2000.

At last year’s Winkler (Man.) assembly, delegates indicated a desire for the national church to have a role in “determining questions of theology, ethics, polity and practice.” In response, delegates considered a proposal from the General Board for the formation of a new five-person group to address these questions.

The mandate of the group is to “attend to the interface” between the Confession of Faith and church identity, give leadership in “discerning God’s will on issues of theology, ethics, polity and practice,” and develop resources for study and guidance for the church.

Table groups were mostly supportive of the proposal, some strongly so. “It is very important to approve this,” “We felt the committee was very much needed,” and “This is an incredibly important committee,” were some comments in table reports.

Within the sense that the group was needed were also some worries about how exactly it would address theological areas where there are disagreement.

“Our major concern is if we see the mandate of this committee as putting out theological fires and making theological pronouncements. We assume the goal would be to lead us in discernment,” reported table spokesperson Barb Draper.

“Will it be perceived as prescriptive or dialogical?” asked Peter Epp.

In a straw vote to determine how to proceed, almost all table groups indicated their readiness to vote on the proposal; the vote will occur in Friday afternoon’s session.