By season, fall is a time of endings, but in most of our lives, and certainly, in our regular church cycles, it is a time of new beginnings.

For us in The United Church of Canada, this fall is a time when endings and beginnings are swirled alongside each other as we say goodbye to former structures and roles and prepare for new ones. As is always the case with change, we are preparing for the new as well as we can, yet knowing that there will be unexpected experiences or issues or feelings that we encounter. That is something to be both nervous and excited about.

At the General Council Office, we have gratefully retired certain phrases, like, “should the remit decisions be enacted by General Council,” that were previously part of every planning discussion. With the conditional removed by General Council’s decisions in July, the preparations are fully underway.

Everyone has a lot of meetings in September. Here are mine:
  • Moderator’s Advisory Committee (new)
  • Governance and Agenda Committee
  • GC43 Executive (new – not yet in authority but planning for how they will work in new ways)
  • General Council Office management group
  • All parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement
  • Indigenous Ministries Council (as the Aboriginal Ministries Council has renamed itself, during their time of preparation for developing new structures and relationships within the Indigenous part of our church, flowing from the Calls to the Church approved at General Council)
  • Staff leaders
  • Expanded meeting of staff leaders, General Council staff deployed in the regions, and program staff from the regions… (many people in new roles and coming together to form new working relationships)
  • National meeting of United Church Women leadership
  • Joint meeting with Anglican and Presbyterian counterparts to consider shared services possibilities
  • GC42 Executive (coming up this weekend, to consider business referred from General Council and manual changes arising from decisions made at General Council)
I may have forgotten some, but you get the idea, and I know that you have your own lists. Pretty well all of these meetings have had some common themes… Change, new ways of doing work, racial and other forms of diversity, white privilege, right relations, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. These are the topics coming up over and over again as we work into these new times.

It’s a time of stretching ourselves, a time that is both invigorating and uncomfortable.

In the midst of this time when so much is changing, let’s remember to turn to these words from Hebrews:

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

Peace be with you.

This message was originally sent to subscribers to the General Secretary's letter, "Note from Nora." Subscribe here.