You are invited to participate in this research project to help the General Council Office strengthen the church’s public witness in its varied expressions. Where and how should the church focus its energy (human, spiritual, financial, programmatic) over the next five years?

Public witness is our way of raising our voices for justice, peace, and the healing of creation. Individuals and faith communities may speak out on behalf of ourselves, with our partners (Canadian, global, local), and/or in support of causes we stand with to participate in God’s transformative work of justice, peace, and love.

We can publicly and prophetically witness to God’s love by expressing our faith through prayer, vigil, art, song, contacting elected officials, presence, and accompaniment, among other ways.

The United Church structure is in the midst of changing, and it is important to think about new ways of connecting to faith communities for public witness. Through the Live Justice initiative, the United Church is investigating how the General Council Office should focus its energy and resources to strengthen the public witness of the church. We need to hear from you, the people of the United Church, to do this. How can the church support your faith community in action and help you be a witness for God’s love in the world?

Take Action

Plan to participate in the Live Justice initiative! You can get involved by facilitating or participating in a Kitchen Table Conversation (KTC) related to public witness. A KTC is a brief (60‒90 minute) small-group discussion process that takes place in someone’s home or at a local venue such as a church meeting room, café, public library, community centre, or similar place.

How to Participate

  1. Download and follow the easy-to-use Kitchen Table Conversation Kit: Facilitator’s Manual, which will help you or someone in your United Church congregation or faith community plan and facilitate the KTC.
  2. Let the justice [at] united-church.ca (United Church know by e-mail) of your plans to host a KTC by April 22, 2019.
  3. Invite interested people in your congregation or faith community to share their experiences and opinions about how the General Council Office can best strengthen the church’s public witness work practised locally, nationally, and internationally. Aim for about 6‒12 participants for your KTC.
  4. Convene your KTC with a facilitator who will help guide the discussion based on the research questions. Instructions for facilitating a Live Justice KTC are available in the Facilitator’s Manual.
  5. Appoint a note-taker to record your conversation. Tips on how to record the conversation are available in the Facilitator’s Manual. Use the Note-taker Reporting Form (available online and below) to record your KTC. Instructions on how to submit your notes are available in the form and the manual. 
  6. Send your completed notes to the United Church by May 31, 2019.

Are you interested in participating in a KTC but not aware of one happening in your local area? Fill out this online form and we will let you know if there is a KTC happening in your area. We will also send you information on opportunities to join a virtual KTC.

Are you interested in hosting a KTC with a group of people for whom it’s not geographically practical to get together in person? The United Church may be able to help facilitate a virtual KTC for you. justice [at] united-church.ca (E-mail the United Church) by March 11, 2019 with your request.

Background

This research project intends to

  • produce offerings and results that have concrete applications (implementable outcomes)
  • engage in research about the current reality and the coming five years that is grounded in experience but not weighed down by worry

The most valuable information this project will gather is stories about public witness experiences from all levels of the church. This project is an opportunity for both storytelling and dialogue. Documenting these experiences and opinions will enable us, together, to strengthen and further our public witness work.

For more information contact:

Christie NeufeldtProgram Coordinator Public Witness416-231-7680 ext. 4078
1-800-268-3781 ext. 4078
cneufeldt [at] united-church.ca