Day two of General Assembly began with worship. The Rev. Paulette Brown, minister of St. Andrew’s Humber Heights in Toronto, Ont., preached the sermon.

Click here to watch the recording of opening worship

Maclean Estate Committee Report

The Maclean Estate Committee reported on the management of the 250-acres which make up Crieff Hills Retreat and Conference Centre, elaborating on how they bring people from all walks of life to connect with God’s creation and find rest and renewal.

The convener’s introduction is available for viewing here

Trustee Board Report

The Trustee Board acquires and manages properties, enters into contracts, oversees investment of funds, issues annuities, establishes pension plans and executes documents of The Presbyterian Church in Canada.

The board reported that in 2021, the rate of return for the Pension Fund was 13.7 percent and the rate of return on the consolidated fund was 11.7 percent, elaborating that the consolidated fund is affected by market volatility more than the pension fund due to different investment goals and timelines.

The Rev. Paulette Brown

The Rev. Paulette Brown led opening worship on day two of GA 2022.

In 2021, a total of $1,912,628 came from the sale of assets of dissolved congregations. According to a decision made by the General Assembly in 2017 it was decided that each year 50 percent of dissolved congregations, up to an aggregate of $2,000,000, should be directed to the Pension Solvency Fund. That aggregate limit was reached in 2021, so funds from dissolved congregations no longer go into the Pension Solvency Fund.

As approved at the 2021 General Assembly, the Trustee Board and the Investment Advisory Committee are investigating appropriate investment opportunities in Indigenous enterprises with the goal of investing approximately five percent of the assets in the Consolidated Fund in the Indigenous economy.

The convener’s introduction is available for viewing here

Presbyterian Church Building Corporation Report

The Presbyterian Church Building Corporation (PCBC) serves to help congregations obtain the funds necessary to build or expand their facilities at favourable rates of interest by providing guarantees for loans. PCBC also helps provide housing to retired servants of the church through subsidies or rental accommodations geared to income.

Working with other committees of the national church, the PCBC is helping develop a plan to help congregations discern possibilities for their buildings. Last year, there was over $6.8 million in loans to a total of 17 congregations and related entities.

The convener’s introduction is available for viewing here

Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee Report

Several recommendations were passed that encouraged congregations to get involved in activities to strengthen ecumenical and interfaith relations, including:

  • Nurturing ecumenical partnerships
  • Using materials for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity events in 2022 and 2023.
  • Participating in the National Council of Churches’ Korea Peace Appeal . The appeal seeks the end of the Korean war with a peace agreement, the creation of a Korean Peninsula and a world without nuclear weapons.
  • Engaging in intentional anti-racism work using resources available through the Canadian Council of Churches and The Presbyterian Church in Canada. Congregations can use ideas found in A Common Word to engage in conversation and dialogue between Christian and Muslim groups, and nurture relationships with Jewish neighbours by sharing written greetings on their holy day using templates found on the Canadian Council of Churches website .
  • Engaging in studies and prayer in preparation for the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches , taking place in Karlsruhe, Germany, August 31 to September 8, 2022.

The convener’s introduction is available for viewing here

National Indigenous Ministry Council (NIMC) Report

This is the first report of the National Indigenous Ministry Council (NIMC), which was created as a standing committee by the General Assembly in 2021. The report noted that the PCC currently has three ordained Indigenous Presbyterian ministers, and five of its nine Indigenous ministries are led by Indigenous leaders.

The report summarized the experience and history of Indigenous people in Canada and in the church, including colonial assimilation through Residential School systems. It also summarized what is needed to move forward to healing and reconciliation. It named the following needs:

  • the need for more Indigenous people to be represented in the PCC
  • the need to reconcile Indigenous wisdom and spirituality with the Christian faith
  • the need to speak against Indigenous-specific racism, hate and violence
  • the need for sustained funding to enable healing for Indigenous people
  • and the need to reconcile the church’s broken relationship with God and Indigenous people.

The Assembly adopted a recommendation that the National Indigenous Ministry Council work on a statement of faith relevant to today, in consultation with the Church Doctrine Committee.

The convener’s introduction is available for viewing here

Special Committee re. Confession to LGBTQI People

The Assembly adopted a confession to God and LGBTQI people, confessing the harm caused by homophobia, transphobia, heterosexism and hypocrisy in The Presbyterian Church in Canada and committing the church to a true change of heart and behaviour. The Special Committee re Confession to LGBTQI People was discharged.

The convener’s introduction is available for viewing here

Theological Colleges Report

Knox College

Knox College adopted strategic priorities that included a focus on equipping congregations to engage their communities, deepening a critical approach to faith and using their facilities to accomplish the priorities.

The Assembly was informed of the decision to sell the Knox College properties to the University of Toronto, with Knox College leasing back the academic wing for up to 40 years.

A moment of appreciation was adapted for the Rev. Dr. John Vissers as he retired as Principal of Knox College for his service to our church and visionary leadership of Knox College.

The Rev. Dr. Ernest van Eck was appointed to the position of Principal of Knox College, for a five-year renewable term, beginning July 1, 2022.

The convener’s introduction is available for viewing here

St. Andrew’s Hall and Vancouver School of Theology (VST)

The primary mission of St. Andrew’s Hall is to educate and form leaders for The Presbyterian Church in Canada and the worldwide church. This mission is fulfilled through a partnership with the Vancouver School of Theology and the Centre for Missional Leadership in B.C.

VST continues to invest substantial resources in online learning, teaching and formation, and expands its impact through multiple national and international strategic partnerships. The goal is to provide a theological education that is contextually appropriate and global in scope.

A minute of appreciation was offered to Professor Pat Dutcher-Walls as she retired as Professor of Hebrew Scripture and Dean of the Faculty at Vancouver School of Theology.

The convener’s introduction is available for viewing here

Presbyterian College

Presbyterian College in Montreal, Que., offers quality theological education and strives to upbuild and encourage leadership in the church more widely. Lay education has been a key part of the mission.

The College has initiated a new program of online study courses that are accessible to individuals or congregational study groups. The first course explored the Bible for Doubters, examining some of the challenging texts and themes of scripture. The second study will be on the theme of reconciliation and forgiveness.

The convener introduction is available for viewing here

Life and Mission Agency Report – Part One

The convener introduction is available for viewing here

Climate Change

The General Assembly asked national committees to report when, how and where they meet as a means of finding ways to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and report to the General Assembly. The committee continues to learn what can be done online and what is better done in person and will consider the best stewardship of church resources and care for creation when deciding how, when and where it will meet.

Inclusion Actions

The Life and Mission Agency took action to support healing connected to repenting of the harm that LGBTQI2+ people, their families and faith communities have experienced because of homophobia and transphobia in the denomination. Effectively identifying and transforming sources of harm within a ministry is a cyclical process of identifying areas of ministry that can be strengthened, learning, implementing change and reviewing the effect of the changes. Resources to assist in this process can be found on the Sexuality web page of the PCC website.

Policies, procedures, documents, resources and practices were updated to reflect the full inclusion of all people.

Guidelines to help courts and committees of the church be safer spaces and a resource to equip the church to prevent harm and respond when harm occurs were created. Terms to administer funds to provide financial assistance for psychotherapy or counselling for those who have experienced harm were developed with guidance from a psychotherapist, members of the church at large, members of the Life and Mission Agency Committee and the Gender, Sexuality and Inclusion Advisory Committee. Details about who is eligible to receive financial assistance and how the fund is administered are available on the PCC website.

Congregations, presbyteries, synods and theological colleges are encouraged to consider ways to provide pastoral care among LGBTQI2+ people and their families. The Program Coordinator, Sexuality and Inclusion, offers advice to those starting new support networks and navigating existing options for support.

Rainbow Pathways, an online course to equip ministries to become more welcoming and inclusive of LGBTQI2+ people and their families, was offered.

Presbyterian World Service & Development Report

In 2021, PWS&D contributed $4.6 million towards life-changing development and relief programs. This was done with a total of $2.6 million in donations from members of The Presbyterian Church in Canada, including $348,326 to our Canadian Foodgrains Bank account and $391,171 in legacy funds given to the Loaves and Fishes Fund. PWS&D is grateful for the support of the Government of Canada and membership in the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, which allows the PCC to multiply and expand our impact through matching funds and collaboration with our ecumenical members and their partnerships.

PWS&D’s refugee sponsorship work has allowed PWS&D to provide accompaniment to 52 congregations and six presbyteries involved in sponsoring 266 refugees during 2021.

The year 2022 marks 75 years of PWS&D, and the Assembly celebrated this milestone by watching a special video, Practical Compassion, and recommending the corresponding book.

Minutes of Appreciation

Barb Summers, Associate Secretary of Communications

A minute of appreciation was offered for the 15 years Barb Summers has generously and tirelessly shared her wisdom, skill, creativity and passion with the church and its people, first as Communications Coordinator with Presbyterian World Service & Development and then as Associate Secretary of Communications. Barb will be continuing to serve the church as Editor of the Presbyterian Connection newspaper.

The Rev. Dr. Glynis Williams, Associate Secretary of International Ministries

Sincere thanks and appreciation were expressed to the Rev. Dr. Glynis Williams for 10 years of service to Christ as Associate Secretary for International Ministries, and as director of Action Réfugiés Montréal, which is a strong voice of justice and care for refugees arriving in Canada. Under Glynis’ leadership, International Ministries engaged in the complex world that God created and loves while maintaining and nurturing the church’s relationships with historic church partners, especially in Taiwan, India, Malawi, Lebanon and Eastern Europe.

Minute of appreciation for Barb Summers screenshot

A minute of appreciation is expressed for Barb Summers, Associate Secretary of Communications.

For her passion, commitment and care of people in need of refuge, Glynis was given the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.

Jeanie Lee, mission staff appointed to the Reformed Church in Hungary

The Rev. Jeanie Lee returned from Hungary to Canada in March 2020, due to the pandemic. She had been appointed by International Ministries to the Reformed Church in Hungary to work with the Kalunba refugee ministry in Budapest. When the Hungarian borders closed to refugees, the refugee ministry was no longer possible.

Jeanie Lee retired in January 2022, and gratitude was expressed for her faith and witness to Christ.

To see the results of the Assembly’s discernment, visit PC-Biz in the “Agendas” tab. Use the drop-down to find the committee’s report, such as the Business Committee, and you’ll see the Assembly action for each item. All reports to General Assembly are available on PC-Biz in the “Committees” tab. Minutes from Assembly are available on the GA2022 web page.