Thursday, 9 February 2012

Backgroup for Study Group on Our Words of Faith

Summary on Remit 6 – Remit on Doctrine.
On Sunday January 29th during the sermon I talked about the upcoming Remit on Doctrine (Remit 6) in the United Church of Canada.
I’ve posted some excepts from it here for anyone who may have missed it or how wants to better understand what is being asked of us.
In the spring of 2012 the church council here at Almonte United Church will be asked to vote on Remit 6.
“What is a Remit?”
A remit is a word that we use in the church, when we need to vote on a change to the Basis of Union.
When the United Church of Canada was formed in 1925 by three founding denominations the Basis of Union was created. The Basis of Union was the founding document outlining what this new church would be about, what it would believe and how it would govern it self. The part about what this new church believed was outline in the doctrine section called the Twenty Articles of Faith. 
Since 1925 small changed have been made to the Basis of Union and these changes are made through a remit, a vote to decide if the change should be allowed or not.
Often that vote is carried out at the Presbytery level however the changes being proposed this year are significant enough that is was ruled that this decision would be made by the council of every church.
What are we being asked?
The part of the Basis of Union that talks about what we believe as a church is called the Twenty Articles of Faith. And as such that has stood as the official document about what the church believes.
However several times over the years the church has sought to define anew what it believes by creating new faith statements. Statements that would be grounded in their time and place, that would use words and images of the present day to try again to attempt to capture the beliefs of this church.

There have been three faith statements over the years: The 1940 Statement of Faith, in 1968 A New Creed and in 2006 A Song of Faith.
These statements were adopted by the General Council and have been used in various ways in the life of the church. A New Creed is perhaps the most well known and most beloved as it is short and easy to use in worship, often on special occasions such as a baptism or a confirmation.
The remit asks: Should we add these three statements, The 1940 Faith Statement, the New Creed and A Song of Faith to the Doctrine Section of the Basis of Union?
Currently The Twenty Articles of Faith is the only doctrinal statement in the Doctrine Section, so this asks to add these three statements.  
Who will vote?
The remit specifically will be voted on here by the church council, it will be their decision. However is an opportunity for the whole church to engage these documents and to wrestle with the questions about just how we define, or attempt to define our faith.
How Can I learn more?
1.      Join the Study Group- We will be holding two study groups to engage these questions and explore the proposed faith statements. Please consider attending as it will be a great chance to ask questions about faith and beliefs and how they relate to our churches and our lives.
When A Song of Faith was adopted by the church in 2006 it was made clear that “concise creeds and clear faith statements don’t encapsulate all we believe, but they are a summary and serve as maps for walking the journey of faith. In church language they are called symbols. Their purpose is to invite deeper reflection and evoke more profound insights into the shared way of Christ for our day”
Let’s explore these maps together.
2.      Ask other United Churches- Every United Church in the County is being asked to vote on this remit. Do you have friends and family that attend other churches in different regions of the country? What are they doing? How are they engaging the remit?

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