The House of Commons passed the amendments to The United Church of Canada Act on April 2, 2019, by unanimous consent. Bill S-1003 contained the amendments to the church’s governing structure that were voted on at the 2015 General Council in Corner Brook, NL. They were then confirmed by the majority of pastoral charges (congregations) and presbyteries and enacted by the 2018 General Council in Oshawa, ON, marking the most significant change to the church’s structure since its founding in 1925.
The amendments replaced the two middle courts of the church, Conference and presbytery, with a regional council model, made up of staff and volunteers to oversee ministers and pastoral charges (now called communities of faith). The Denominational Council is now the legal title for the General Council; however, we will continue to use the familiar name General Council. General Council has new financial responsibilities and will maintain the church’s broader relationships across the denomination—relationships with other faith groups and partners in Canada and around the world.
The Senate passed Bill S-1003 in the fall of 2018, and it moved through the Commons procedures smoothly with no additional amendments. As with all legislation approved by the Senate and House of Commons, it still requires Royal Assent by the Governor General, Julie Payette. Moderator Richard Bott said, “This passage means the hard work of restructuring is confirmed and we are laying out a future for the flourishing of the church.”
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