UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

No date yet for Vosper hearing

By Mike Milne


More than a year after a Toronto Conference committee found Rev. Gretta Vosper “not suitable” to serve as a United Church minister, the formal hearing that could officially remove her from ministry has not been scheduled.

Vosper, who calls herself an atheist, is still minister at West Hill United in Toronto, where she has served for more than 20 years. She is strongly supported by her congregation. The complaint that sparked the review of her ministry came from another church in her Presbytery.

Early in 2017, Toronto Southeast Presbytery rejected a last-ditch move to suspend proceedings against her. By October, though, Vosper and members of her congregation were told the formal hearing previously scheduled for November would not take place.

The General Council Judicial Committee has 40 members from across the church, and its executive has the task of setting up a panel of three to five members to hear Vosper’s case. They will decide whether she should be placed on the church’s Discontinued Service List (Disciplinary), revoking her credentials for ministry and effectively firing her. Members of that panel are normally United Church members, says General Council Office’s head personnel officer Rev. Alan Hall.

So far, no one has signed up for the job.

Along with judicial and legal experience, panel members must have knowledge of United Church beliefs and bylaws, but also be impartial. “[Potential] panellists have been identified,” says Hall, “but it’s difficult for a panellist to commit until they know how much time will be required and when that time will be.” Picking a time means co-ordinating all the players involved.

“We hope it would be sometime in the winter, this winter,” says Hall.

Congregational life at West Hill United carries on, albeit hampered by the uncertainty. Vosper says congregational plans for innovative programs have been denied Presbytery and Conference support, and a plan to sell West Hill’s property and move to rented facilities was also thwarted.

The review of her ministry, says Vosper, has put her life and that of her congregation on hold for two and a half years. “It needs to be resolved,” she says.



Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Interviews

Courtesy of Pixabay

Why this woman is leaving the Catholic Church in her 60s

by Angela Mombourquette

After a lifetime devoted to Catholicism, a Nova Scotia teacher is settling in with the United Church of Canada. Here, she explains why.

Promotional Image

Editorials

Jocelyn Bell%

Observations: It’s a long road toward full equality for women

by Jocelyn Bell

'It’s a wonder that we continue to see male ministers as normative and attach shame to female ministers’ biology and sexuality.'

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Playing by Heart

by Observer Staff

United Church music director Kara Shaw was born prematurely, became almost totally blind and was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Today, the 28-year-old showcases her unique musical ability, performing piano on local and national stages.

Promotional Image

Faith

May 2018

Toronto church builds interfaith friendship

by Vivien Fellegi

Faith

May 2018

This parent found no support for her autistic daughter — and decided to change that

by Kieran Delamont

Suzanne Allen talks about raising a daughter on the autism spectrum and bringing all autistic girls together

Faith

May 2018

Church retreat helps first responders with PTSD

by Joe Martelle

Interviews

May 2018

Why this woman is leaving the Catholic Church in her 60s

by Angela Mombourquette

After a lifetime devoted to Catholicism, a Nova Scotia teacher is settling in with the United Church of Canada. Here, she explains why.

Ethics

May 2018

Pregnant in the pulpit

by Trisha Elliott

Ministers who take a maternity leave still face discrimination in their own congregations

Interviews

May 2018

The two words Rev. Cheri DiNovo wants to hear from the United Church

by Alex Mlynek

The Toronto minister talks about her disappointment over the church’s silence when she officiated the country’s first legalized same-sex marriage 17 years ago – and why she wants an apology.

Promotional Image