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Excerpts from Conference Interview Committee report

By Elena Gritzan

“After prayer and much discussion, it was moved and seconded that Rev. Gretta Vosper is not suitable to continue serving in ordered ministry in The United Church of Canada. The vote was 19 in favour, 4 against, no abstentions.” — Conference Interview Committee report

From the 19 in favour: “We have concluded that if Gretta Vosper were before us today, seeking to be ordained, the Toronto Conference Interview Committee would not recommend her. In our opinion, she is not suitable to continue in ordained ministry because she does not believe in God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit…. Although The United Church of Canada is a big tent, welcoming a diversity of theological beliefs, Ms. Vosper is so far from centre of what holds us together as a united church that we have concluded that she is not suitable to continue as an ordained minister in our Church.”

“Ms. Vosper is very clear about what she does not believe…. It was more challenging to understand what Ms. Vosper does believe. Ms. Vosper explained that she believes in love as the centre, the most sacred value. She also believes in truth and courage. Ms. Vosper said that her ministry rests on love, truth and courage, but that none of these characteristics come from God or originate in the Bible.”

From the four against: “Many of Ms. Vosper’s theological positions, while not in the mainstream, are not unique amongst the ministers and lay persons of the United Church. This is demonstrated in part by the wide support she has received in letters to the editor of the Observer. She has opened up productive discussions about faith issues in our Church and beyond. The United Church has a history of welcoming theological diversity and, to find Ms. Vosper unsuitable could stifle exploration and stunt that diversity.”

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