42nd General Council Remits


United Church of Canada Remit Update

In August 2015, the 42nd General Council approved a number of remits or questions to be voted on by pastoral charges and presbyteries.  The results of these remits will make significant changes to both the organizational and financial structure of the United Church of Canada.

Remits 1, 2, 3 and 4 were carried at the St. John’s Official Board Meetings in November, January, March, and May.  These remits were also approved by the majority of presbyteries and pastoral charges and will be taken to the 43rd General Council for approval when it meets in July 2018.  Details results of the voting can be found at www.gc42.ca/remits

Remit 6 – One order of Ministry – was voted on at the St. John’s Official Board Meeting on November 22 and unanimously not supported.  The voting deadline for Remit 6 is February 28, 2018 and results will be posted at www.gc42.ca/remits.

A Remit Implementation Task Force is currently laying the ground work for a smooth transition to these new structures and processes.  Further information on the implementation can be found at www.united-church.ca/leadership/church-administration/remit-implementation

Resources for Further Study

42nd General Council Remit Page       www.gc42.ca/remits

Questions for UCC Staff         remits@united-church.ca

Background Information on the United Church 42nd General Council Remits

What is a Remit?

A remit is one part of a decision-making process when the United Church of Canada wants to make a change to the Basis of Union (the church constitution).  If a majority of the presbyteries and congregations vote in favour of a remit, then it goes back to the General Council for a final vote.

Eight remits were approved by the 42nd General Council in 2015

Voting by Pastoral Changes and Presbyteries

Remit #1 – Three Council Model

Remit #2 – Elimination of Transfer and Settlement

Remit #3 – Office of Vocation

Remit #4 – Funding a New Model

Remit #6 – One Order of Ministry

Voting by Presbyteries Only

Remit #5 – Ministry Partners

Remit #7 – Candidacy Pathway

Remit #8 – A Step Towards a New Model of Membership

Important Voting Deadlines

Remits 1, 2, 3, and 4:              Votes must be received by June 30, 2017.

Remits 5, 7, and 8:                  Votes must be received by February 17, 2017.

Remit 6:                                  Votes must be received by February 28, 2018.

St. John’s Board Meeting Voting Dates

At the pastoral charge level, the Board is the only body that may vote on the remits. The Board may not delegate this function to the congregation but may seek input from the congregation.  At least one-third of the membership must be in attendance at the Board meeting in order for it to be valid. The vote is decided by a simple majority of the Board members at the meeting: 50% + 1.


Why is the United Church of Canada doing all this?

The Comprehensive Renewal approved by the 41st General Council (2012) recommended major changes to revitalize ministry, simplify governance, and enable the church to live within its resources. The approval of any or all of the five remits being considered by both pastoral charges and presbyteries will bring about substantive, denomination-shaping changes to our church. These will allow us to better respond to declining membership numbers and financial resources since we will be a nimbler, more efficient organization.

These remits are designed to achieve more than financial savings. The hope is that more of our time, talent, and treasure will be devoted to mission and ministry and less toward bureaucracy, forms, and procedure. We must only spend what we receive (as opposed to balancing budgets by depleting needed reserves). The 42nd General Council also endorsed financial modeling that projects a need for up to an $11-million reduction from 2015 spending levels, in order to maintain key grant programs and reinvest in new ministries.

What if the remits do not pass? Or if some do and some don’t?

The remits are independent of each other, meaning that if some are voted down, the others can still be approved. However, changes sparked by the approval of one remit will automatically be applied to the others. For example, if remit 1 passes, changing the church’s four-council structure to three, all references to the four-council structure in other remits should be considered a reference to the three-council system. Even if the remits do not pass, cost reduction activities across the broader church will be implemented.