Response to this Site

December 4, 1997

Subject: Current happenings!
Date: Sat, 06 Dec

The unwillingness of the theological colleges to accept "Fellowship" magazine seems ludicrous. I suggest we write the principals seeking clarification. One should read United Chat for reporting on Phipps visit to VST. I have requested that Copies of "Fellowship" be provided to SCM, most particularly Rick Garland.
Also, it is suggested we watch "MacLean's" magazine.


Jack Waller


When I find the e-mail address, this will go forward:

    From ab497@chebucto.ns.caThu Dec  4 10:44:39 1997
    Date: Wed, 3 Dec 1997 06:38:00 -0400 (AST)
    From: Jack Waller 
    Subject: Action
    Ms. Virginia Coleman, 
     Secretary, General Council,
     United Church of Canada
Dear Ms. Coleman:

There is much pain and anguish over the statements made by the Moderator in the Ottawa Citizen. His subsequent interview on Vision TV has not eased my discomfiture, nor do I deem the recent action of General Council sufficient to regain the trust and credibility which has been lost.

The monies which will be diverted into damage control, will serve to further the eroding of the M&S Fund, which continues to suffer due to the manner in which the United Church has allowed itself to become embroiled in temporal concerns. My heart aches for those mission units who must put their plans on hold, or cancel them for lack of available support from the national church.

A definitive statement, and action from General Council, which will enable the whole church to reaffirm the Articles of Faith, and the creeds, will greatly assist in this.

I do not wish to be further compromised as I stand firm in my faith; however, when my personal integrity and the authenticity of my faith are questioned, I must needs object.

I have been reared in the United Church, and as role model for two succeeding generations, I will uphold those tenets which have been taught me, as I continue to grow. I can do no other!


Jack Waller

As long as I see any thing to be done for God, life is worth having; but O how vain and unworthy it is to live for any lower end!
... David Brainerd's Journal [1747]


From: (Jack Waller)
To: (Mark Fearnall)
Subject: Re: Latest at United Online
Date: Thu, 04 Dec

Ironically I just read several posts to United Forum, and was struck with comment that in the imds of some "Unitarian" is not "United Church", and the former is what we are being fed.

Mark's post has brought me back into discussion, as I was dismayed with the use of the term "renewal", as I strongly believe in reaffirmation as we move towards the millennium.

The legacy we leave the newer generations ought to attest to the Articles of Faith & the creeds.

I reiterate that we need to let the principals of the theological colleges know this, and also let Virginia Coleman also know that damage control is inappropriate, as we unite together.

Can we have all the URLs, Mark, listed so that we can access all the sites with its information.


Jack Waller


From: [
Re: Latest at United Online]

Dear Jack et al:

How about this general comment re: unitarianism....?

"The United Church is where unitarians go who can't spell"


David MacKenzie


From: [
Re: Latest at United Online]

Subject: Re: Latest at United Online
Date: Thu, 04 Dec

What do you think? As I re-read the comment about what the Moderator believes, I wonder if this isn't a recant of his earlier statement.

When I first read that statement that "we can say with confidence that Jesus was the Son of God, that Jesus is the Word made flesh, that Jesus is God incarnate and I feel that with all of my soul." I thought Bill was playing with words. However, I should be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and thus I may have been overly harsh in my original evaluation. In my mind (maybe it is only in my mind) to say "Jesus is God incarnate" is to affirm the full deity of Jesus Christ.

I guess the only way I will find out for sure is to ask Bill himself (which I plan on doing) but I just hope he responds this time.



Dear Mark & everyone else ...

Thanks for the Information ... I am Rev. Jim Breen from Alvinston Ont. (Half way between London & Sarnia). Brian Wilkie & I attended Seminary together. I am married, have one 1 year old daughter. Enough about me.

I would advise caution about the Moderator's words. Maybe his is changing his views. If So Praise GOD!

But I heard him in London at Metropolitan United Church. When he was there he affirmed Jesus was the Word Made Flesh, Divine, etc. (See the transcript from UCC Home Page if it is still there) However in the Question and answer time I asked him from the floor about the Nicean Council and worshipping Jesus, the nuts and bolts implication of divinity or not and the Nicean decision. He claimed we are NOT to worship Jesus. That Jesus points us to the God we are to worship. Thus I can only assume that he, like a whole tradition of what shall we call it ... "Liberal" (not exactly) or "Innovative" (not really; these are old ideas), "radical" (I guess that will do) thinkers who sound the same but have REDEFINED all the terms. For example at London he stated "Jesus contains as much of God as any human being can" ... in those terms he thought Jesus was divine. However, divinity in those terms is not the picture from Scripture Colossians 1:18-20. Further how does he know the fullness of God can't "fit" into a human being unless he is defining human being and thus Jesus as essentially being the same as you, I and him.

So keep listening and asking and share with us any answers you get from Rev. Phipps. Let us not jump down his throat but pray to be wisely faithful.

By the way last night (Wed Dec. 3) Lambton Presbytery passed 2 motions about the moderator and this issue.
1. We asked him to publicly admit that his private beliefs as reported are not in harmony with the United Church beliefs and the Scriptures. We asked him to apologize for causing hurt and confusion.
2. We reaffirmed our own belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour in harmony with the historic and universal Christian church as set forth in the Apostle's Creed. We also affirmed that the Basis of Union is the substance of the faith we share in common. This will be publicized through an ad placed in the Sarnia Observer Newspaper.

While these passed they were far from Unanimous. One was 31 to 23 the other was by show of hands but it was close.

During the debate it was depressing to hear modernistic individualism espoused by colleges ordained and lay. It was suggested in may ways and words that one's spirituality is only between them and God and no one else had a right to tell some one else what to think or believe.

The lesson I think we need to draw is that we are being perceived as trying to make everyone conform. We are perceived as anti freedom tyrants. With this in mind let us remind people that a group of people all going their own directions is not a community nor can it ever be one. The church is a community gathered around Jesus as our centre of worship as Lord and Saviour with the Trinity. Thus the individualism used to defend Phipp's right to think and act as he has, (like the Chaplain on Sunday Edition who said everyone will be his own theologian etc.) will destroy the church!!! Thus they are planting the seeds of their own destruction. Note also a wise college in Ministry Rev. Christine Jerret from Grace in Sarnia pointed out that such individualism will not only destroy the church community but it will make Social Action of any kind also impossible, the very thing Bill Phipps is hoping to do through the church community. Further it is the people who are isolated from community that are most easily enslaved by multinational corporations to spend their life working long hours at the expense of family and other more important things in life.

Let us keep pointing out that Phipps position and the right to hold it will only lead to chaos and a destruction of the Church community. The key to unity is not letting everyone believe what he or she wants (Unprincipled Pluralism) but it is giving up our own rights to be lord of our lives and set up Jesus Christ as our Lord and God, second person of the Trinity. Anything less will lead to the destruction of the Church as a community of faith.

Please chew on these musings and let me know what you think ... maybe together as iron sharpens iron we can respond with wisdom to the present situations and avoid certain pitfalls and point out certain hope to each other and any who will listen.

Yours in Christ



From: (James Shelley)
Subject: Introduction & Discussion List
Date: Wed, 03 Dec

Greetings. Why not? I'll introduce myself too... :) I am James Shelley, Youth Pastor of Bentinck Baptist Church (Convention, not Fellowship, for those political people out there). What's that? You *never* heard of "Bentinck" before? I'm *shocked*... actually, not. Bentinck is in Ontario, Canada.

My whole interest in this matter stems from the fact that the Church, as a whole, has a lot less class in society's eyes now than it did 50 years ago. It doesn't really matter a great deal what the "label" is, because when people like Phipps raise these issues that strike at the very core of the single thing that UNITES us, society sees it as just another issue that DIVIDES us.

Denominations, in my opinion, take a back seat (in fact, they should be in the truck!) to the fact that we all -- regardless of affiliation -- need to stand up for the truth.

(So much for a brief introduction) Anyway, that's why I'm here and very much in support of you both vocally and prayerfully as you bring message of Christ forth through this otherwise pathetic situation.

Brian Wilkie wrote:

>BTW, can anybody set up a list server, so that we could simply send notes to one >address and subscribe?

I can't set up a "real" server per say, but I can act as the go-between. If people would like to send their messages here (I will create another e-mail address for the purpose), I can redirect them to the rest of the list and add or remove people from that list if they so desire. It would just help to make things a little more manageable for everybody. Just an idea.

If people would like to do this, please give me some feedback. I'll assume silence means "forget it"... and that's ok, I won't be offended... :) ---

James M. Shelley <>< Philippians 4:4 <>< UIN: 4423599

Subject: [ Fw: Confirmation]

Subject: Fw: Confirmation
Date: Thu, 04 Dec

This is the letter I just sent to Bill Phipps. Hope he replies. Mark.

To: The Right Reverend Bill Phipps.

Mr. Phipps,

I was pleased to see the transcript of your recent statement on Vision TV. I was extremely pleased to see that you made a confession of error in your original statements by now affirming that "Jesus is God incarnate".

My evaluation is correct, isn't it? You were recanting?

I presume as well that you have recanted your statement at Ottawa Parkdale United Church where you affirmed that "we can't worship Christ".

Please, it is important that you confirm this as I will soon be addressing this on my web-site. As well I will be addressing the congregation concerning your willingness to renounce your original comments.

I think you can see why I want to make sure I have understood your statements correctly.

Mark Fearnall
Box 429
Shawville, QC, J0X 2Y0


December 03 1997 - Peace and Reconciliation in Calgary

The following piece was written "By A Little Bird" and is indeed welcome news. Remember - you saw it here first.

The Moderator of the United Church, Rt. Rev. Bill Phipps, came to Calgary Monday morning for a 9 am meeting with the Rev. Alan Schooley. They met, talked for over an hour, and parted with a handshake, agreement and a hug. Schooley, the outspoken minister of Southwood United Church in Calgary, had been dismayed by remarks attributed to the moderator in an interview by the editorial board of the Ottawa Citizen.

In his interview, made available almost immediately on United Online, the moderator was quoted as casting serious doubt on the divinity of Jesus and the reality of both the resurrection and the afterlife. Questions whether the original interview was biased led to publication by the Citizen, the weekend following, of a full edited transcript of the interview, leading to more controversy.

Schooley preached a sermon at his church on Nov 16 calling on the moderator, in essence, to "Repent or Resign."

This title appeared the following Monday morning as a front page headline in editions of the Calgary Herald, and subsequently became a national story, as it was repeated in media coast to coast.

Overnight Schooley became a national symbol, known by name, of opposition to what seemed the unacceptably unChristian tenor of the moderator's remarks. For his part, Rt. Rev Phipps was angry, claiming betrayal, according to the Calgary Herald-- "He's been my colleague in Calgary Presbytery," the moderator said. "We've worked together on presbytery projects. Why didn't he phone me and ask me about it?"

Schooley's position was known locally to be that there was no "betrayal" involved. Whoever the moderator happened to be, he had made certain public statements which appeared to be incompatible with the Articles of Faith of the Basis of Union on which the United Church rests.

The fact that he happened to be from Calgary Presbytery made it a responsibility of that Presbytery to inquire whether a discipline action needed to be taken. Some member pastoral charge of Presbytery had to initiate that action-- the rest of the church was watching-- and there could be no question of personal "betrayal" about raising the issue.

Meanwhile, on November 24, the moderator took time on Spirit Connection, a United Church of Canada program broadcast on the national Vision TV cable channel. There he made a statement commenting on the Ottawa Citizen interview, and clarifying his theological views more fully.

He said, among other things: "Just to clarify, I believe with all my heart and soul that God was in Jesus reconciling the world to God's self; that as much of God that was possible was revealed in Jesus of Nazareth and therefore we can say with confidence that Jesus was the Son of God, that Jesus is the Word made flesh, that Jesus is God incarnate and I feel that with all of my soul.

"I also believe in the mystery and the power of the resurrection; that something happened to those early followers of Jesus that transformed them from people who were sad, afraid, bewildered as to what had happened, transformed them with a whole lot of new energy because Jesus was alive and with them beckoning them into spreading the Gospel throughout their part of the world.

"I believe that the human spirit continues after death; for example that my parents are in the everlasting arms of God. They are safe in God's care." For Schooley, the moderator's TV clarification of what he meant by his remarks to the Ottawa paper made all the difference. He told an interviewer for MacLean's magazine, preparing a forthcoming story on Jesus, that he liked the moderator personally, and was relieved that there was indeed "a place in the same church for both of them."


From: Don Anderson[]
Sent: December 4, 1997 3:15 PM
To: Copple, Tony
Subject: more 'thunk'


Some more 'thunk' for your site, (thought the Trinity concept requires some physics to appreciate - ie. light of a certain colour has a temperature which doesn't happen with an electric light without electricity; to remove one implies that the other two cannot be present).

Like the way you have set up the site.

Don Anderson


From: Don Anderson[]
Sent: December 4, 1997 3:15 PM
To: Copple, Tony
Subject: more 'thunk'

Told my son when he graduated, "it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game".

The issue before the United Church is about doctrine, though not simply defined. There are several theories; something like the reformation you have several different positions, some don't want to stop the reform, while others feel it has gone too far, while yet others think we're in just the right place.....

A simple theory is a dividing church.

A second theory is a radical liberal element trying to take the church over.

A third is a radical conservative element and a radical liberal element both trying to seize the church, with a third group in between.

A fourth is similar to the third without takeover connotations, and the middle group trying to be the peace maker between the two.

Whatever, someone suggested to me recently that what we have is a church which is predominantly 'traditional' (my father said this, my grandfather said this); so its language and thought are conservative, though some may consider different theology if the words are the same.

The more conservative of us to some degree correctly see a church which is more conservative. The more liberal of us realize that for some the attachment is more to words than the ideas the words reflect, and are loathe to change the words as that would meet with immediate rejection. Instead of changing the words they have initiated a process of placing new words beside old, or what I call 'making decision by increment'. And they have been working at that for at least fifty years.

What the United Church really has to do is decide what its doctrine is, but even after fifty years the people aren't ready to change from the words of their father and grandfather. So those looking for change don't want to touch that one, but rather have looked to studies and official statements. The doctrine, studies, and official statements all have a place in our church, but only the doctrine has definitive status.

When something such as we have just experienced comes along, several persons feel betrayed by the church - the more conservative because the church has process to change doctrine, but has taken no action to change it - the more liberals because what do all those statements mean if they are excluded from what we believe.

I think we are at a very decisive time in the life of the United Church, and we are not out of it yet. Those of us (myself included) who worship Jesus Christ have lost part of what we are as a church, and those of us who stop short of worshipping Jesus Christ don't recognize that as the issue but rather insist there is a place for all of us. And maybe there are the peacemakers at whatever price.

Like I told my son, "it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game". And we have to play fair right now ''cause this one's for keeps', and that hurts.