Canadian Ecumenical and Inter-faith
The United Church of Canada works in partnership with ecumenical and inter-faith organizations, Christian councils, and church agencies in Canada. We are journeying together toward relationships that are just, honest, respectful, and life-giving. The following individuals will represent Canadian partners at GC44:
Canadian Council of Churches
Rev. Dr. Das Sydney
The Canadian Council of Churches is a broad and inclusive organization which represents 26 different denominations and 85% of Christians in Canada. It is engaged in a number of key areas of shared interest from theological reflection to racism and climate change. It produces the Canadian edition of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity resources and also works through Project Ploughshares which is a peace research institute of the Council.
About Rev. Dr. Das Sydney
Rev. Dr. Das Sydney is the President of Canadian Council of Churches. He was born in India, grew up in Africa, and had his university education in Ghana, Canada and the U.S. He is a past president of the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec and has served as an adjunct at Acadia Divinity College and McMaster. He has served in churches in Ontario and Nova Scotia and is currently the Minister Emeritus at Highland Baptist Church in Kitchener, ON. He is married to Angela, a graduate nurse and they have three children and three grandchildren.
Anglican Church of Canada
Archbishop Linda Nicholls
The Anglican Church of Canada consists of 30 dioceses in four ecclesiastical Provinces from coast to coast to coast. Indigenous members of the Church are creating an Indigenous Anglican expression within the Anglican Church of Canada under the leadership of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples and the National Anglican Indigenous Archbishop. We are part of the worldwide Anglican Communion through global partnerships and a shared commitment to the historic episcopate; creeds, Scriptures and five marks of mission. We are in full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. We are currently discerning new strategic aspirational pillars centered around our life in Christ as we see where God is calling our Church as we emerge from the pandemic.
About Archbishop Linda Nicholls
Archbishop Linda Nicholls was installed as Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada on July 16, 2019. Previously she served as Bishop of Huron (2016-2019), Area Bishop of Trent-Durham, Diocese of Toronto (2008-2016), Coordinator for Dialogue for Ethics, Interfaith Relations and Congregational Development at the national office, and almost twenty years as a parish priest in the Diocese of Toronto. With degrees in music (B.Mus.) and education (B.Ed.) Linda taught high school music and math at Woodstock International Christian School for five years before theological studies at Wycliffe College (U of T); ordination as a deacon (1985) and priest (1986). She also holds a Doctor of Ministry degree (U.of T., 2002). Linda has a keen interest in the renewal of the healing ministry in congregational life; ethics in healthcare; spiritual direction; national theological commissions and ecumenical dialogue. She has served as the Co-Chair of the Anglican Roman Catholic Dialogue in Canada and is a member of the third Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III). Other interests include Choral singing, wilderness canoeing and walking to fill her recreation time along with her duties as staff to a cat.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Bishop Susan Johnson
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is comprised of 5 geographical synods, 493 congregations and 90,000 members. It was formed in 1986 as a merger between two predecessor Lutheran bodies. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the World Council of Churches, the Canadian Council of Churches, and KAIROS. It is in full communion with the Anglican Church of Canada. It's relief and development arm is Canadian Lutheran World Relief.
About Bishop Susan Johnson
Susan Johnson has served as the National Bishop of the ELCIC for almost fifteen years. Prior to her election, she served in ministry in the Eastern Synod of the ELCIC, latterly as an Assistant to the Bishop. Prior to ordination she worked as a high school music teacher in the Greater Vancouver area. She has received honorary doctorates from Huron College and the Atlantic School of Theology. She is one of Wilfrid Laurier's 100 alumni of distinction. With Michael Blair she is one of the two Canadian Ambassadors for the WCC's #ThursdaysInBlack.
The Presbyterian Church in Canada
Rev. Stephen Kendall
The Presbyterian Church in Canada was formed in 1875 and is in the historic Reformed Tradition. Congregations from coast to coast seek to live out our mission: Disciples of Christ, Empowered by the Spirit, Glorifying God and, Rejoicing in Service! As a founding member of the Canadian Council of Churches, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the World Council of Churches, we live and work together with others in our common witness.
About Rev. Stephen Kendall
The Rev. Stephen Kendall is a minister of The Presbyterian Church in Canada, ordained in 1987. Since 1998. hE has served as the Principal Clerk of the General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada. He also serves as ecumenical officer for the denomination and has been a member of the Governing Board of The Canadian Council of Churches since 1998. Internationally he served on the Executive of the World Communion of Reformed Churches and is part of the Ecumenical Officers network for the World Council of Churches. Stephen Kendall has served five years as minister of a new congregation in Calgary, and seven years in a congregation in Toronto. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Carleton University and a Masters of Divinity from Knox College, University of Toronto.
National Muslim Christian Liaison Committee
Muneeb Nasir is the Muslim Co-Chair of the National Muslim Christian Liaison Committee (NMCLC) which fosters open dialogue, mutual respect, and cooperation between Canadian Christians and Muslims. Founded in 1984, NMCLC has sponsored regular dialogue and learning events, consulted on documents and resources and collaborated on social issues.
About Muneeb Nasir
Muneeb is a Muslim faith leader, writer, and interfaith activist who is respected for his knowledge and involvement in religious and current affairs. He is the Chair of the public endowment, Olive Tree Foundation, and the Managing Editor of the online Canadian Muslim Journal. Over the years, he has served on boards and advisory committees including on the Steering Committee of the Parliament of the World's Religions, on the Muslim Advisory Board, at University of Toronto's Emmanuel College and on the Scarborough Hospital Advisory Council.
Jewish Interfaith Guests
Rabbi Allan Finkel
Rabbi Allan Finkel was born and raised in Winnipeg and was educated in Winnipeg’s Hebrew day school system. His parents had immigrated from Eastern Europe with a mother who was a Holocaust survivor, and he grew up in the Orthodox tradition at the Talmud Torah Synagogue. He later wandered through Conservative Judaism and in his thirties, he settled into Reform Judaism where he found his spiritual “home.” He has a diverse background, having accumulated a law degree, an MBA and three wonderful children. His career path and extensive volunteer commitments have all featured a commitment to the Jewish values of Tikkun Olam – repairing the world. Rabbi Allan’s journey into the rabbinate occurred later in life and he is currently the spiritual leader at Temple Shalom, Winnipeg’s Reform (liberal) Jewish congregation, with a strong passion for creative and innovative adaptations of Judaism in these modern and changing times, and to the engagement and inclusion of interfaith families and to inclusiveness in all dimensions. Rabbi Allan is also an outspoken advocate for interfaith engagement and especially for building strong bridges and partnerships across all denominations within the Jewish community, and he currently serves as the chair of the Winnipeg Council of Rabbis.
Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
CIJA is the advocacy agent for all the Jewish Federations across Canada. CIJA represents the diverse perspectives and concerns of more than 150,000 Jewish Canadians affiliated with their local Jewish Federation. CIJA is the Canadian affiliate of the World Jewish Congress, representative to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), and to the World Jewish Restitution Organization.
About Richard Marceau
Richard Marceau is CIJA’s Vice President of External Affairs and General Counsel. A lawyer and member of the Barreau du Québec and of the Law Society of Ontario, Richard is a graduate from Québec City’s Université Laval Law School, the University of Western Ontario Law School and France’s École Nationale d’Administration. Elected to the House of Commons in 1997 and twice re-elected, Richard is the author of Juif, Une histoire québécoise, and its English-language adaptation A Quebec Jew for which he received the Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award in 2012. With Montreal-based Rabbi Adam Scheier, he compiled and edited the Canadian Haggadah Canadienne, published in 2015, which received positive acclaim in Canada and worldwide.
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is the national assembly of the Bishops of Canada. Through the work of its members, the Conference is involved in such areas as ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, theology, social justice, liturgy, and Christian education. The CCCB appoints members to the Roman Catholic–United Church of Canada Dialogue, which has been meeting since 1975. The dialogue seeks to increase understanding and appreciation between the Roman Catholic Church and the United Church of Canada. It explores pastoral, theological and ethical issues, including those that may divide our churches. The dialogue is currently discussing theologies of creation, ecology and the environment.
The United Church of Canada is in a relationship of Mutual Recognition of Ministry with the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. Mutual Recognition means two denominations accept the credentials of each other's ordered ministers, and allow ministers to be employed in the other denomination's congregations without being required to enter an admission process. Mutual Recognition of Ministry partners at GC44 are:
United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), Philippines
Bishop Melzar Labuntog
The United Church of Christ in the Philippines is one of the largest of the Reformed or Protestant Churches in the Philippines with government estimates of 1.5 million individual members, scattered in the entire Philippine archipelago. The Church was a result of the organic union of distinct church denominations such as the Presbyterian, United Brethren, the Philippine Methodist, Disciples of Christ, Congregational, that defined the character of the Church. The Church organizational structure has the General Assembly as the greater legislative body that meets every four years, and the 49 Conferences that meet annually and the more than 2,000 local churches. The Church has seven Jurisdictional Areas, three in Luzon, two in the Visayas and two in the Mindanao and a Bishop is assigned in each of the Jurisdictional area. The General Secretary is the head of the National Secretariat and provides direction for the nationally planned programs. The Church has covenant partnerships with Churches around the world like the United Church of Canada, among others. It holds membership with the Christian Conference of Asia, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the WCC, the World Methodist Council, and the United Evangelical Mission. The UCCP will hold its 12th Quadrennial Assembly on May 23-26, 2022 in Manila.
About Bishop Melzar Labuntog
Bishop Melzar Labuntog is the General Secretary of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. From his ordination in 1989 , he has served as a pastor, as staff of the Christian Education and Nurture Desk of the National Office, as Coordinator for Christian Stewardship and Resource development and then Conference Minister of Central Mindanao Area Conference. He was Jurisdictional Bishop Assigned to Northwest Mindanao Jurisdictional Area 2010 to 2018. His service as General Secretary began in 2018.
Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK), South Korea
Rev. Eun-kyung Kim
The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK) had its 106th General Assembly last September 2021. At this general assembly, the PROK adopted a statement for Carbon Neutrality, decided to invite 6 lay persons (Men's Association, Women's Association, Youth Association) as ordinary delegates to the following general assemblies, and elected the first female moderator in its history. The delegates also committed themselves to continue with the efforts for peaceful reunification and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula and decided to found a church in the DMZ area.
About Rev. Eun-kyung Kim
I was born in 1955 in Gwangju, where the Gwangju Uprising for Democracy took place in 1980. I was born into a Christian family. My father, who was a righteous person had a strong historical consciousness. He treated me equally with his son, at a time when preference for boys prevailed. I was ordained on 15th June, 2000, the same day North-South Joint Declaration was issued from the first Inter-Korean Summit. That declaration provided a framework for future peaceful reunification of Korea, the humanitarian meeting of separated families and release of prisoners, as well as for mutual dialogue and exchanges. In addition to serving as a church pastor, I have worked with the "Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Center in Iksan" and "Jeonbuk Gyerehana" (a regional initiative for the reunification movement of the Korean Peninsula). I am currently serving the Iksan Chungang Church, which is running an affiliated social welfare center for migrants.
Full Communion Partners
The United Church of Canada has a relationship of Full Communion with The United Church of Christ, USA and The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada. Full communion is an agreement for two or more churches to work together for mission and ministry, including the recognition of each other's sacraments and ordination of ministers, allowing them to be called by congregations of either denomination. Here are the individuals who will be representing our Full Communion partners at GC44:
Disciples of Christ, USA
Rev. Terri Hord Owens, Rev. Paul Tche
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is a denomination comprised of Christian congregation in the United States and Canada. Disciples, as we are known, hold as our "polar star" a firm commitment to Christian unity. Since 2000, we have also named a commitment to being an anti-racist, pro-reconciling church. With a congregational polity, we seek to have ministry that is relevant to the various contexts in which we serve. Our identity statement declares that "We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. As part of the one body of Christ, we welcome all to the Lord's Table as God has welcomed us." The Lord's Table is a key element of worship whenever Disciples gather, but the frequency is not the point. The access that we all have to the Table and thus to God, as revealed through Jesus Christ, is at the heart of this important Christian sacrament. The Disciples of Christ hold full communion partnerships with the United Church of Canada, and the United Church of Christ in the US.
About Rev. Terri Hord Owens
Rev. Teresa "Terri" Hord Owens is the General Minister and President (GMP) of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the US and Canada. She was elected in July 2017, and is the first person of color and second woman to lead the denomination. She had a career in information technology consulting for over 23 years prior to entering ministry. She served as the Dean of Students at the University of Chicago Divinity School (her alma mater) for 12 years, and pastored a Disciples congregation in the Chicago suburbs most recently prior to assuming the ministry as GMP.
About Rev. Paul Tche
Rev. Paul S. Tché has served the Christian Unity and Interfaith Ministry (CUIM), the office for ecumenical and interfaith affairs of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States of America and Canada, as president since 2016. In his role and ministry with the CUIM, he offers leadership as the ecumenical officer for the Disciples of Christ, representing the church in local, national, and international efforts in giving expression to the unity of the church and our oneness in Christ. As an interfaith officer, he participates in various interreligious dialogues representing the Disciples and equips congregations to engage with interfaith neighbors and friends.
United Church of Christ, USA
Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia A. Thompson, Rev. Mark Pettis
The United Church of Christ (UCC) is a distinct and diverse community of Christians that come together as one church to join faith and action, the result of a merger of five streams of faith in the US that formed in 1957: the Congregational Church, the Christian Church, the German Evangelical Church, the German Reformed Church, and the Afro-Christian Churches. The United Church of Christ is based in the United States, and with over 5,000 churches and nearly one million members across the U.S., the UCC serves God in the co-creation of a just and sustainable world. The UCC is a church of firsts, a church of extravagant welcome, and a church where "…they may all be one" (John 17:21). Its stated vision is to build a just world for all. In July of 2021, the entire denomination committed to the shared mission of leveraging its full capacity to bring about racial justice and equity. This campaign is called "Join the Movement."
About Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer
Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer is the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ in the United States of America. He was ordained in 1988. He completed doctoral studies in 2004 in the study of White Privilege and Its Effect on the Church. After 16 years serving two local churches, Rev. Dorhauer began working in the UCC's middle judicatory offices, first covering the states of Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee and then the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. In 2015 heI was elected to serve as the 9th General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ in the US. He and his wife Mimi have celebrated 37 years of marriage, have three adult children and two adorable grandchildren.
About Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson
The Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia A. Thompson is the Associate General Minister for Wider Church Ministries and the Co-Executive for Global Ministries, the shared mission agency and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She has fiscal, management and visionary oversight for WCM and the joint mission collaboration with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) through Global Ministries. The programmatic units in her purview are sustainable development, global partnerships, global advocacy, disasters ministries, ecumenical and interfaith relationships, migration, refugees and asylum, the One Great Hour of Sharing special offering, General Synod and related ministry areas, and the United Nations.
Her ecumenical and interreligious commitments have overlapped in her interest and implementation of global consultations on multiple religious belonging. Her leadership in this area has facilitated dialogue in the church and created safe space for engaging the variety of expressions of religious multiplicity. Her doctoral dissertation was focused on research in this area, looking specifically at the ways in which African Caribbean people continue to practice African derived religious and spiritual expressions along with other religious and often times with Christianity. She is a gifted writer and poet whose writings have been published in books, journals and on-line publications. Her book of poetry Drums in Our Veins will be published in 2022. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, her poetry and writings reflect her Jamaican heritage and culture as well as the traditions and lore of her African Ancestors. Karen Georgia earned a BA from Brooklyn College in New York, a Master's in Public Administration from North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC, and a Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York. She earned her Doctorate in Ministry at Seattle University.
About Rev. Mark Pettis
The Reverend Mark Pettis serves as the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Manager for the United Church of Christ. In this role he is responsible for guiding and coordinating the ecumenical and interfaith relations of the national setting of the denomination. Among other ecumenical and interfaith commitments, he serves on the Executive Council for Religions for Peace USA, on the Coordinating Committee for Churches United in Christ (CUIC), as a participant in the National Council of Churches-National Council of Synagogues Jewish-Christian Dialogue, as a member of the National Council of Churches Interreligious Convening Table, and on the Advisory Board for the Shoulder-to-Shoulder Campaign. Prior to serving in the National Setting of the United Church of Christ, Rev. Pettis served as the Senior Minister of the Manhattan Beach Community Church (United Church of Christ).
Migrant Church Partners
This term is used for new migrant communities in direct connection with their parent church and in partnership with the United Church. Migrant Church partners at the GC44:
The United Methodist Church, USA
Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst
Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst is an Ecumenical Staff Officer for the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church. Her responsibilities include: multi-lateral engagements, trainings, grants and general management. She is an ordained elder, having served three local congregations and as a District Superintendent in the United States before being appointed to this global, ecumenical ministry role in 2015.
About Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst
Jean is married to Jerry Cappel, an Episcopal Priest involved in environmental theology, and she is thankful stepmother and recent grandmother. She lives in Kentucky with her spouse, and his collection of alpacas, dogs and chickens.
United Methodist Church, Zimbabwe
Rev. Alan Gurupira
The United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe strives to be a continuously transforming United Methodist Church in the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area that claims higher ground, spiritually, physically, socially and morally. They are committed to making disciples of Jesus Christ through outreaching, witnessing, networking and nurturing for the transformation of the world. The Church has several mission centres made up of units comprising the hospital/clinic, school, local church and orphanage homes.
About Rev. Alan Gurupira
Rev Gurupira has served the church for the past 38 years. He has been in Mutoko and Murewa as a Pastor in Charge, School Chaplain and a Station Chairperson, and has served as District Superintendent for Murewa – Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe District . Later on he became the Connectional Ministries director for the Zimbabwe West Annual Conference, at the same time deputising the then Administrative Assistant to the Bishop Rev Zebediah Marowangepo and holding the position he vacated.
World Methodist Council, Germany
Bishop Rosemarie Wenner
The World Methodist Council (WMC) is made up of about 80 Methodist, Wesleyan and related Uniting and United Churches representing over 80 million members in 138 countries, including the United Church of Canada. The WMC engages, empowers and serves the member Churches by encouraging Methodist unity in witness, facilitating mission in the world, and fostering ecumenical and inter-religious activities. At its Conference and Council meeting 2016 in Houston, Texas, the WMC decided to prioritize the work on the themes Poverty & Equality; Migration; Racism, and Discrimination. To work for the greater unity of the Christian Community, the WMC engages in dialogues with other World Communions. To mention two examples: There is a continuous dialogue with Roman Catholic Church since 1967. 2019, the WMC and the Organization of African Instituted Churches met to start a consultative process.
About Bishop Rosemarie Wenner
Rosemarie Wenner lives in Germany, near Heidelberg. Her home church is The United Methodist Church and after serving as an ordained elder in various ministries in Germany, she was elected to the episcopacy and served as the resident Bishop of the Germany Area of The United Methodist Church (Evangelisch-methodistische Kirche) from 2005 to 2017. In her retirement she works as Geneva Secretary of the World Methodist Council, tasked to connect the work of the World Methodist Council with the World Council of Churches and other Ecumenical partners such as the Global Christian Forum. Focus areas in my work for and with the World Methodist Council are Migration and the cooperation with other partners in the New International Financial and Economic Architecture (NIFEA).