Church of Canada to debate Holy Land issues

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Father Roy writes:  Internationals have new dates to mark on our calendars:  August 11 — 18.   See my highlights in this report.   Peace, Roy

General council meeting not so political, says United Church of Canada

The Israel-Palestine conflict and the Northern Gateway Pipeline are two notable issues up for debate at the United Church of Canada’s general council meeting in Ottawa this weekend, but the church says it’s not all political talk.

Around 600 people from across Canada will attend the 41st general council meeting at Carleton University to debate 130 proposals for action and elect a new moderator.

Approving a report on the church’s core values and enacting changes to the doctrine section of The Basis of Union document are a couple of the in-house items on the agenda, but there are larger socio-political issues on the table.

The $6 billion Enbridge construction project seems to be getting most of the attention in the media, said Rev. Bruce Gregersen, the United Church of Canada’s general council officer of programs. But he maintained the meeting is “profoundly religious.”

Although the resolution calls for the church to reject the project, Gregersen said the church has not yet taken an official stance on it.

“It’s a question of listening to concerns of people who have framed the proposals based on environmental concerns,” said Gregersen. Aboriginal members in the west coast have expressed their concerns about the construction project’s impact on the environment.

With respect to the Israel-Palestine conflict, he said that is a debate about justice, fairness, and peace.

“In no way are these purely political issues,” said Gregersen, rather they are, “fundamental issues.”

Some of the actions are symbolic, while others, he said, require letters and phone calls which can take years to implement.

As with any recommendation, there might be people who disagree.

“(The meeting) becomes an opportunity to speak to the church,” said Gregersen.

The meetings will be held from Aug. 11 to 18 in the Raven’s Nest Gymnasium and will also be streamed live at gc41.ca.

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