GA2024 logoFor the individual presentations and reports, please take a look at the General Assembly Minutes section. Minutes of the proceedings are posted on the page as soon as they are approved and adopted and on the Reports to the Assembly page. View photos of the events at ]

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Wednesday’s worship was led by the Rev. Reuben St. Louis (minister, Gale PC, Elmira, Ont.), the Rev. Peter Rombeek (minister, Kensington PC, Montreal) and Gale member Carol Hyde, who read the liturgy. Peter and Reuben led the congregation in song. The Rev. Mavis Currie (minister, Knox PC, St. Thomas, Ont.) preached a creative and interactive sermon on Acts 27 that included congregational participation. She concluded: “We have kept this story and held onto it because this is the story of the church… God is still with us on the journey. God will not let us go.”

STATED HOUR: Fr. Bodhan Hladio, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
Today’s ecumenical visitor was Father Bodhan Hladio, an Orthodox priest for three decades and former Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. He is now on the faculty at Trinity College for post-graduate studies. His research focuses on the history and polity of Eastern Orthodoxy in North America.

Father Hladio spoke about the history of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and of Ukraine itself and the ongoing violence its people have suffered at the hands of Russia. He spoke about the current war and the devastation that it has inflicted and continues to inflict on Ukraine and its people. He thanked the PCC for support, saying, “I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to thank all of you for the overwhelming, prayerful, moral and material support you and your communities have extended to Ukrainian refugees since the war began.” He also asked that we continue to support Canada’s efforts to help Ukraine defend itself and the work of government, non-government and church agencies offering humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine and refugees in Canada.

The Moderator thanked Fr. Hladio for his presentation, noting that we need to understand how history and narratives shape our understanding of what truth is today.

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STATED HOUR: Offering the Apology Regarding the Role in Colonialism and Residential Schools
Following the adoption of the apology of The Presbyterian Church in Canada for its complicity in colonization and in operating residential schools on Tuesday, June 4, the Special Committee Regarding an Apology for Residential Schools and Colonization brought a quiet stillness and introspection to the gathering with a sacred smudging ceremony in which the committee members participated. The deeply moving ceremony was followed by singing and prayers, led by Stewart Laughing Bear Folster, a member of the National Indigenous Ministries Council (NIMC) and the past Moderator and convener of the NIMC, the Rev. Mary Fontaine. Members of the special committee took turns reading the preamble to the Apology, after which the Moderator of the 2024 General Assembly, the Rev. Dr. Pat Dutcher-Walls, read the Apology in full. The committee then invited the Assembly to participate in a smudging ceremony. The Apology can be viewed or downloaded here .

STATED HOUR: Narratives that Shape Us – An Ecumenical Panel Discussion
The panellists, Rula Odeh, Board Director, Canadian Friends of Sabeel and guest speaker earlier on Tuesday, Dr. Allen Jorgenson, Professor of Systemic Theology, Martin Luther University College, past Moderator of the Assembly, the Rev. Mary Fontaine, Fr. Bodhan Hladio, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, and the Moderator of the 2024 General Assembly, the Rev. Dr. Pat Dutcher-Walls discussed their roots and heritage as a means to illustrate the profound impact these formative narratives have in shaping us, giving the Assembly glimpses into the complexity and diversity that underpin humanity and how these narratives can deliver hope and illustrate the intricacies of our connections. This includes nature and all it encompasses, as Mary Fontaine reminded the gathering. Fr. Hladio also spoke about how these narratives can be tied to resilience despite attempts to oppress and deny people their existence. He reminded the Assembly of the maxim, “If you have hope, you plant an olive tree, as it only gives fruit in about 30 years—so, you’re planting it for your children.” Pat Dutcher-Walls, rather than discuss her familial heritage, noted instead that as a biblical scholar, she was compelled to draw on the stories from the bible as stories from God that give us our identity as the followers of Jesus. She explained that these ancient narratives that have provided hope to people over time continue to bolster the determination that can be applied to our contemporary contexts as we seek to follow Jesus and his ways of compassion. In thanking the panellists, the Rev. Dr. Richard Topping of the Vancouver School of Theology noted that their stories and sharing of formative narratives gave him a profound impression that passing tradition on made for restlessness rather than passivity. While there were undoubtedly cautionary notes about tradition, he said that he appreciated how these stories were all intensely informed by the belief that we are created in the image of God.

STATED HOUR: Table Group Discussion Regarding Narratives that Shape Us
The day’s proceedings ended with a lively and hopeful table group discussion focused on an “internal faith conversation” geared to facilitating the denomination’s understanding of how the foundational stories that shape identity help them know who they are—as a group, as individuals, congregations and presbyteries. The questions for discussion, informed by biblical themes, were how such foundational stories could define a future of hope and what the stories were that made people glad and committed to being a Canadian Presbyterian.