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Some Thoughts on Living Faith
6 SUMMER 2022
  In every generation, the church needs to confess its faith anew. That confession must at one and the same time be the ancient faith of the church and yet spoken into the mood and questions of its own time. Living Faith: A Statement of Christian Belief endeavours to do that.
This statement was prepared under the direction of the Committee on Church Doctrine of The Presbyterian Church in Canada. It has been received by the General Assembly and commended as an acceptable statement and as useful in both worship and study.
Living Faith: A Statement of Christian Belief is available for download at It has been translated into French, Korean, Mandarin and Taiwanese.
By the Rev. Stephen Hayes
A few months ago, the Rev. Pat Hanna died. For me, her death was a poignant moment, be- cause, even though we were not close friends and in fact I did not know her particularly well, her death left me as the sole surviv- ing member of the committee that wrote Living Faith. The Rev. Douglas Herron, the Rev David Marshall and the Rev. Dr. Garth Wilson had all died before her. Add my name, and that is the to- tal membership of the Living Faith Committee that met in the early 1980s to produce the document that we came to call Living Faith.
By any measure, it was a re- markable journey. One rumour l heard was that, given the names of those on the committee, it would be amazing if the commit- tee could and would agree even
to a single line of doctrine never mind writing an entire statement of faith!
But, of course, that was a gi- gantic overstatement, and the meetings were all marked by thoughtfulness and kindness rather than animosity and anger.
We made huge progress par- tially by deciding to follow both the style and outline of the south- ern Presbyterian Church’s new statement of faith. The name of the mainly southern church was the “Presbyterian Church in the United States” and the name of their statement of faith was “A Declaration of Faith.” The outline dictated our 10-chapter head- ings. The style was to make the statement a type of prose poem essentially meaning that each line expressed but one thought. We completely accepted the outline, but in fact ended up using very
little of the actual material of the southern church. It will also be obvious that our lines were much shorter than those of the Declara- tion. But following this model was the key to making progress with what most regarded as remark- able speed. It can and should be said that Living Faith is our own work, though influenced by other statements both ancient and modern.
A few years after the adoption
of Living Faith as an acceptable statement, I attended a confer- ence in Geneva about modern statements of faith. I recall tak- ing a walk with a professor from one of the American Presbyterian Theological Colleges and he told me of giving his class most of the modern Presbyterian state- ments of faith and asking them to choose their favourite. I was both intrigued and delighted when he told me that the favourite, by far,
was Living Faith.
It seems that our emphasis
on simplicity and directness, combined with the effort to write memorable prose, had an effect. People were delighted that we had dropped the Westminster Confes- sion’s way of writing about pre- destination. Absent too was that Confession’s attack on the pope.
One of the new subjects dealt with was doubt. I felt it was very important to include a section on doubt because I thought that, be- neath the outward appearance of our church, there was in fact a lot of doubt, and I felt that this needed to be addressed. Dealing with this issue at one meeting of the Church Doctrine Committee, Dr. Ian Ren- nie made a very wise comment, agreeing that a section on doubt was helpful but pointing out that our doubt was still meant to lead us to faith. Accordingly, we added these words that might also form a fitting conclusion to this very short article on Living Faith:
Though the strength of our faith may vary
and in many ways be assailed and weakened,
yet we may find assurance in Christ
through confidence in his word,
the sacraments of his church and the work of his Spirit (6.2.3).
  “Kirk in the Cedars”
 By Canadian Ministries
If you were invited to draw a pic- ture of a new church, you might sketch a more traditional church building with a steeple, where people would come to gather in a sanctuary on Sunday mornings. While indeed some new churches may look and feel like this, there are also some innovative new worshipping communities being born in our camp and conference ministries outdoors. The Holy Spirit is calling faithful people connected with all ministries and missions within The Presbyterian Church in Canada to explore new ways to worship Jesus Christ.
The Rev. Theresa McDonald Lee, Co-Executive Director of Camp Kintail, connected with Cy- clical PCC in 2019. At that time the Camp Board was beginning to have conversations about how to provide year-round spiritual formation for staff, campers and
friends of Kintail. Worship in the outdoor chapel is a special and remembered experience, but it almost always happens within the context of a camp, retreat or event. Theresa writes: “We want- ed to offer worship to the wider community who may not have a spiritual home elsewhere, but who might have a connection to the camp.” Worshipping among the cedars in the chapel, hear- ing the lake and the birds, and glimpsing the blue sky or blinking stars, grounds the gathered com- munity in creation.
As part of Theresa’s participa- tion in the Cyclical ecosystem she has attended monthly gatherings, participated in the “discerners” cohorts and has a coach. These conversations foster a space and place for deepening learning and forwarding action. Early in the pandemic, a Cyclical event with speaker Casper ter Kuile on the Art of Gathering helped Kintail
imagine a community that could meet monthly in person, while also remaining connected be- tween gatherings.
As part of this journey of dis- cernment in community, Camp Kintail has formed a team of lead- ers and they are now intention- ally gathering people together for monthly worship. All are invited and welcome to a new monthly worship service at Camp Kintail called “Kirk in the Cedars.” Kirk is simply a Scottish word for church, and the new community will gather in the cedars of the outdoor chapel. Theresa (Tril- lium), Jen (Maranta) and Reuben (Roots), along with the staff, will provide leadership in worship and everyone will be creating the Kirk together!
• In the trees, by the lake and
under the blue sky.
• Full of music, so bring your
Everyone is welcome. It’s for those who:
• have spent years as a camper
or staff worshipping in the
• have been curious and want to
participate in what their chil-
dren experience
• want to worship outdoors
• have not been to church in 50
• are searching for a worship-
ping community
• more questions than answers
You are welcome to take part in this new worshipping community at Camp Kintail in the Chapel at 4 p.m. on: June 26, July 24, August 28, September 18, October 23 and November 27.
New worshipping communi- ties are innovative and creative expressions of ministry that are responsive to the work of the Holy Spirit. These ministries take many forms and are centred around faithful expressions of Word and Sacraments that reach new dis- ciples and call people to journey closely with Jesus.
• •
Worship at Kintail is always: For everyone from the smallest babies to the wisest seniors. Participatory—expect to move, share and connect during

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