Review of gretta's effectiveness suspended
In response to a request by gretta's lawyer that Toronto Conference's sub-Executive Committee suspend the review process pending the result of an appeal he has filed, the interview has been cancelled for the time being. The appeal was submitted against the General Secretary's ruling which means it will be heard by the United Church's Judicial Committee. We do not know how long that process will take, but for the time being, the pressure of a fast-approaching interview date has been relieved. We will keep in touch with you about how you might respond and, again, we thank you for all your support.
We are confident that the actions of two United Church Conferences, Hamilton and Toronto, helped influence the conferences decision to suspend the process. Each passed proposals at their annual meetings that ask the General Council to "instruct it's Theology and Inter-Church Inter-Faith Committee, or other appropriate group, to undertake a broad based and theological review of the Basis of Union part Eleven (11) which deals with the preamble and questions posed as persons are ordained or commissioned, to ensure their continued relevance and effectiveness as we move forward in support of our ministry leaders." Members present in each court voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposals.
The proposal had been made with two situations in mind: London Conference's Executive Secretary sending retired UCC minister and atheist, Bob Ripley, forms to place himself on the Discontinued Service List upon learning of his beliefs and requesting that he complete them. Bob did so and is no longer able to speak of himself as a retired United Church minister but must refer to himself only as a former United Church minister. The other situation is the one initiated against gretta by Toronto Conference. We are grateful for the membership in both conferences for working to ensure that clergy continue to enjoy the theological freedom to explore beyond the time of their ordination and the permission to share their knowledge with their congregations.