- The Women’s Missionary Society circulated information to commissioners about the upcoming 2020 National Women’s Gathering and the Woman of Faith Awards.
- Presbyterian College described their work in recruitment and their work in establishing a global place of learning. A motion passed to re-appoint the Rev. Dr. Dale Woods as Principal of Presbyterian College without term.
- Knox College in Toronto is celebrating 179 years, and the Rev. Dr. John Vissers gave a brief overview of their history, detailing the many years of service to the congregations and presbyteries of the PCC. The Knox College board is currently engaged in the development of a strategic plan to shape the future direction of the college.
- Vancouver School of Theology provided an update on their work and gave a minute of appreciation of Rod Thomson, a member of the Board and former Convener.
- Linda MacKinnon reported that the Atlantic Mission Society remains hopeful, despite declining membership. The AMS special mission project for 2018–2020 is the New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Centre in Nepal where Dr. Nick and Becky Bauman, and their children, have been serving as PCC mission partners. The Presbyterian Message, published nine times a year, continues to provide updates on the work of the AMS.
- The Committee to Nominate Standing Committees expressed thanks to those members who serve on standing committees and whose service concludes with this General Assembly.
The Rev. Jonghyun Kim, Moderator of the 54th General Assembly of the Korean Christian Church in Japan (KCCJ), a longstanding partner of The Presbyterian Church in Canada, and the Rev. Byuungho Kim, General Secretary, were welcomed to the assembly. The Rev. Jonghyun Kim addressed the assembly speaking in Korean, translated by David MacIntosh. David McIntosh is the co-director of the Centre for Minority Issues and Mission in Tokyo, Japan. His appointment is supported by The Presbyterian Church in Canada and the United Church of Canada.
The Rev. Jonghyun Kim brought greetings and conveyed thanks for the long history of partnership with the PCC. He and presented the assembly with a plaque of gratitude. “We pray for God’s rich blessings on The Presbyterian Church in Canada.”
Plaque from the Korean Christian Church in Japan
To The Presbyterian Church in Canada
In 1927 The Presbyterian Church in Canada sent Rev. L.L. Young as a missionary to the growing community of Koreans in Japan. His Gospel mission among us contributed to the formation of The Korean Christian Church in Japan in February 1934.
When, by God’s grace, Korea was liberated from Japanese colonialism in 1945, The PCC returned Rev. Young to Japan to continue his work with Koreans who could not go home, or elected to remain in Japan after the war. Through selfless service, Rev. Young and others who followed helped The KCCJ to grow as an agent of God’s Gospel mission among Koreans in Japan. Over the years, The PCC sent to the KCCJ 34 missionaries and aided immeasurably our mission among compatriots who faced racism and discrimination in daily life, supporting us in Christian education, lay leadership development and our struggle to win human rights. We in The KCCJ will never forget this hand of friendship.
Giving praise to God, our guide throughout history, we present this plaque to commemorate the precious mission relationship between our two churches, and to express heartfelt gratitude to the people of The Presbyterian Church in Canada for your unlimited love and mission support.
June 5, 2019
The Korean Christian Church in Japan
Kim Jonghyun, Moderator
Kim Byungho, General Secretary
The full speech is available here.
Committee on Church Doctrine
The report of the Committee on Church Doctrine was presented by the Rev. Wally Hong. The Assembly passed a motion to affirm a statement called “Living in God’s Mission Today,” first introduced to the 2015 General Assembly, and commended it to presbyteries and congregations. A study guide will be developed to assist with this. The committee also passed a motion to reduce the number of people on the committee to 15, including a representative from each of the theological colleges.
In response to Overture No. 8, 2018, on the church’s stance on marijuana use, the committee has been engaged in a time of study and reflection to formulate an appropriate response. They will report back to the 2020 General Assembly on this subject.
Cutting Edge of Mission
The Dr. E.H. Johnson Memorial Award was established in 1981 to recognize work on For the past 38 years, The Dr. E.H. Johnson Memorial Award has been presented to an individual or an organization for their work on “the cutting edge of mission.’’
The Rev. Joan Masterton introduced Dr. Sheila Watt-Cloutier, an internationally recognized environmental, cultural and human rights advocate for almost 25 years. Drawing attention to the impacts of climate change that people in the Arctic have been experiencing first-hand, she has identified Inuit people as “sentinels” to the rest of the world on this issue. She recently wrote the national bestseller, “The Right to be Cold.”
Ms. Watt-Cloutier was presented with the cutting edge of mission award by the moderator after a powerful speech detailing the impact climate change is having on northern environments and those who live in the Arctic. She spoke of how connected and inter-connected our world is, and how all of humanity has a responsibility to what is happening in the Arctic. “Our culture has much to offer,” she said. “Inuit culture needs to be protected.” She explained how adaptable and resilient those who live in the north are, but how the next wave of tumultuous change is upon them. “We all have struggles, there are always going to be obstacles, but there are ways we can overcome them.” She received a standing ovation.
The full presentation given by Sheila Watt-Cloutier to the Assembly is available here.
Victoria Graff, a young adult representative, thanked Ms. Watt-Cloutier for sharing her life’s work and passion, for her courage and faithfulness, and asked the assembly to stand for a pledge: “to not only keep learning, but to turn this knowledge into action, and spread the word along the way, and we encourage the church to follow this path.”
Rainbow Communion, part 2
The Rev. Bob Faris and Sue Senior returned to complete the report of the Special Committee re. Listening (LGBTQI people). A motion was passed that asks the Life and Mission Agency to develop and gather resources to strengthen our ability to provide appropriate support to bodies of the church in developing models of pastoral care that recognize the gifts of all and encourage mutual support and care for those who have been harmed by homophobia, transphobia, heterosexism and hypocrisy.
Another recommendation passed that The Presbyterian Church in Canada reaffirm its statements that homosexual orientation is not a sin and that studies have not revealed any scriptural, scientific or pastoral basis or justification for programs to change a person’s sexual orientation and therefore acknowledge that any form of conversion or reparative therapy is not a helpful or appropriate pastoral response to those who identify as LGBTQI.