Canadian Council of Churches
||This article possibly contains original research. (March 2009)|
|Canadian Christian bodies|
|The Canadian Council of Churches|
|Location(s)||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
(69 years, 5 months and 8 days)
The Canadian Council of Churches is the largest ecumenical body in Canada, representing 23 churches of Anglican, Evangelical, Free Church, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox, Protestant, and Catholic traditions. Together, these denominations comprise 85% of the Christians in Canada. Founded September 27, 1944, it is the broadest Christian council in the world today.
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There are now 23 Member Churches in the Canadian Council of Churches:
- The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada
- Archdiocese of Canada of the Orthodox Church in America
- Armenian Holy Apostolic Church Canadian Diocese
- Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec
- Canadian Baptists of Western Canada
- British Methodist Episcopal Church (Associate Member)
- Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends of Quakers Canada
- Christian Church in Canada: Disciples of Christ
- Christian Reformed Church in North America, Canada
- The Coptic Orthodox Church of Canada
- Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
- Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto Canada
- The Mar Thoma Syrian Church
- Mennonite Church Canada
- Polish National Catholic Church of Canada
- Presbyterian Church in Canada
- Regional Synod of Canada - Reformed Church in America
- The Salvation Army
- Ukrainian Catholic Church
- Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
- United Church of Canada
Governing Board and Commissions
The Council, with headquarters in Toronto, is governed and supported by its members through a semi-annual Governing Board. The current General Secretary of the Council is Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton. Officers and staff of the Council are drawn from the whole diversity of traditions represented by the member churches. Two commissions coordinate a large portion of its work: Justice and Peace and Faith and Witness.
The Commission on Justice and Peace provides a forum for sharing information and concerns among those involved in ecumenical work on peace and social justice in Canada and the world. It facilitates biblical and theological reflection on peace and social justice and cooperation of the churches on related concerns. Some of the key issues with which this commission is concerned include Peace and Disarmament, Faith and the Economy, Poverty in Canada, HIV/AIDS, Undoing Racism, Human Trafficking in Canada, Strengthening Public Health Care in Canada, and Canada's Role in Afghanistan, as well as ongoing discussions on human rights and just peacemaking.
The purpose of the Commission on Faith and Witness is to provide a meeting-place and a lively and fertile ground for reflection and work among Christians of different families. Together, the various denominations represented work to reflect theologically on matters of concern in the present day, and on questions of historical interest to the churches. They also periodically publish resources on topics chosen by the churches, such as The Bruised Reed: Christian Reflections on Suffering and Hope (2010), as well as coordinating the churches' participation in interfaith dialogue, with involvement on the Canadian Christian Jewish Consultation and National Muslim Christian Liaison Committee, among other bodies. Each member church provides at least one representative to the Commission. Topics that are explored by this commission include baptism, marriage, euthanasia, and Christian perspectives on suffering and hope.
Work done by the Council
Through the ecumenical movement, which arose in Canada in the twentieth century, the Canadian Council of Churches seeks unity for the divided church and seeks to remind Christians that they share Christ’s mission for reconciliation, peace, dignity and justice for the whole community.
Some of the work done by the Council and the Member Churches working together includes:
- Bringing member churches into encounter with one another in a forum where all voices hold equal weight. We promote understanding among them and with other Christian churches.
- The founding and sponsorship of Project Ploughshares, a leading Canadian peace organization.
- Providing a safe place for immigrant churches to learn about Canada and to put down roots.
- Undertaking and promoting theological study and reflection among Christian traditions.
- Encouraging and hosting churches' participation in dialogue with people of other faiths.
- Studying, speaking about and acting on conditions that involve moral and spiritual principles, including current events such as the war on terror and societal issues such as the future of health care.
- Sharing information broadly, communicating results of theological and ethical reflections to Canadian Society and governments.
- Producing resources, including material for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
- Producing a bi-annual newsletter, Emmaus, and a periodic electronic newsletter entitled "Together"
- Providing material to chaplains in Canada's armed forces and prisons, helping them work with stress-related trauma, mixed marriages and questions about life and death.
The Canadian Council of Churches is registered with the United Nations and participates in world conferences and commissions on such issues as funding for development, refugee settlement and human rights. The Council is also a participant in the annual World Religious Leaders Summit, in parallel with the G8/G20 political summits each year. In 2010, the Council also provided leadership for this event, when the international summit was hosted by Canada in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
- Badley, K., D. Antaya-Moore, & A. Kostelyk, My Place in the World, Toronto: Nelson/Thomson, 2004), p. 95