By Treena Duncan, Executive Minister
As I write this I am looking out the window at the lengthening days and am aware of how quickly time is passing. Last fall, you received correspondence from the National church about an ongoing process within The United Church of Canada – a process contemplating the establishment of an Autonomous Indigenous Organization. It probably seemed like we had a lot of time to consider this question, but the deadline is now quickly approaching.
When remits are issued by our church, they are important topics for us to educate ourselves to make faithful decisions. Remit 1 falls under Category 3, necessitating a vote from the governing body of each community of faith. This initiative, proposed by the National Indigenous Council, is a crucial step towards reconciliation. It’s important to note that failing to vote on a remit is effectively recorded as a vote against it. Therefore, I strongly urge you to submit your vote before the impending March 31, 2024 deadline.
Remit 1 asks the following questions:
Does the regional council/pastoral charge agree to amend the Basis of Union to reflect
1. That The United Church of Canada will be organized as follows: (1) a three-council structure, consisting of communities of faith, regional councils and a Denominational Council; and (2) an autonomous National Indigenous Organization; and
2. That once the new autonomous National Indigenous Organization is established within The United Church of Canada, it will have its own mechanisms to make any future changes to its structure and processes, and, therefore will not be subject to the remit process under section 7.4.1 of the Basis of Union; and
3. The changes required for the establishment of the autonomous National Indigenous Organization.
This is proposing a new way of being in relationship together, but the Indigenous Church does not wish to separate from the United Church. Remembering the long history of Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationships in the United Church, the National Indigenous Council, in its proposal to General Council 44 said: “It is time for us to move towards a different relationship. It is time to set aside the notion of ‘missions to the Indians’ and truly move towards being ‘partners in God’s call to all the earth’.”
Would you please take a moment to complete this simple form by Friday, February 9, 2024 to let us know when you’re planning to vote on Remit 1 or if you’ve already voted.
I have also included some resources below for your convenience: All the materials for voting are posted on this webpage (scroll to its bottom). Other resources include the study guide, a text summary of frequently asked questions, and a January 2024 Letter from the General Secretary. Videos: January 2024 video on questions about the Remit, addressed by members of the non-Indigenous church. Also, available is a short video on Indigenous perspectives on the Remit, released in November 2023. Also helpful is the Chinook Winds Regional Town Hall on Remit 1 – November 8, 2023.
You are also welcome to reach out to myself or Karen Medland or Chris May Poy if you have questions about the remit.
Executive Minister, Chinook Winds & Pacific Mountain Regions