Atheist Minister Resists Effort to Boot Her from United Church of Canada

TORONTO — An ordained minister with the United Church of Canada is resisting efforts to oust her from the pulpit because she is an atheist.

“I don’t believe in … the god called God,” Gretta Vosper told the Globe and Mail. “Using the word gets in the way of sharing what I want to share.”

She said that she believes the Bible is “mythology,” and denies that Jesus is the Son of God.

This is even lamer than Bart Ehrman having a post as a professor of Religious Studies. Ehrman is a self avowed atheist and determined “debunker” of Christianity. This lady can only be in it for the money, or to make some kind of insane point. Weird!

The article is short on details, but she sounds more like an agnostic or deist, who just doesn’t agree with the Judaeo-Christian view of the nature of God.

If truly an atheist, why would she be affiliated with anything called a church?

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. talk about having an agenda…:rolleyes:

The United Church of Canada is an amalgamation of several different protestant denominations and is currently the second largest denomination in Canada. They are also the most “progressive” of any form of “progressive Christianity” that I have ever seen. They support euthanasia, abortion, and same-sex marriage. They eschew the traditional masculine imagery of God in favor of gender-neutral terminology. In a conversation with a UCoC minister, she revealed to me that she “didn’t like the ‘Our Father’ and didn’t know it”. When asked what they taught about death, judgement, heaven and hell she responded that she didn’t have the slightest idea. The local UCoC Church in my neighborhood has purchased itself rainbow votive candles to complement their rainbow flag.

Don’t get me wrong: the UCoC isn’t all bad. They tend to be very nice people who are focused social justice, inclusiveness and belongingness. I don’t gather that they are very big on theology. Perhaps that’s way the person in the linked article feels as though there is no contradiction between her position as her Minister her and lack of believe in God. She likely believes that she is just as capable as anyone else at extracting the relevant information from scripture (love, social justice, and inclusiveness) and believes that she can disseminate that information. She likely enjoys, and feels she is good at, walking with people in different states of their lives and providing them guidance and compassion. In essence, she feels that her ministry gets to the core of the ACoC’s mission.

It’s always interesting how this sort of thing never seems to happen at a mosque, temple or synagogue.

I’m not familiar with mosques but in Judaism there are a number of Humanist congregations and rabbis. Here’s a list of communities in the US and Canada.

This is not a church, & she is not a minister. This is simply a social group which happens to meet regularly for discussion or lectures, maybe some counseling or community service, with possibly a ceremony or two thrown in. There are lots of them: Boy/Girl Scouts, NAACP/Urban League, AA, sororities/fraternities, etc etc. :rolleyes:


Where is the world moving?!:frowning:

Perhaps you are confusing Rev Gretta Vosper’s outreach ministry with her congregation. She serves both.

The congregation is called West Hill United Church in Toronto, Ontario.

Her outreach ministry is called Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity.

That is quite amazing
I am an ordained minister but I am an atheist
Like calling a plumber who tells you he is having major doubts about the utility of pipes.

I think his/her point was that the identity of a church, as opposed to the other listed organizations, is to worship God in a community. If Rev. Gretta’s lack of faith does not conflict with the purpose of the institution she serves, then the only explanation is that the the institution she serves is not oriented towards the communal worship of God. At which point it can be many positive things, but it cannot be a church.

That church should fire Her as a pastor and excommunicate her .

The denomination is going through their proper protocols to examine the situation. I don’t believe the congregation itself can excommunicate her.

Sigh, the world just isn’t ready for an atheist Christian minister!:rolleyes:

I’m familiar with those kinds of folks and I don’t think they are nice. For one thing they promote ideas which are harmful and evil. For another they are not inclusive at all. They don’t tolerate those who disagree with them. When you proclaim a falsehood you are lying. And saying you tolerate everything when you don’t is a falsehood. They are fascists and will use the power of the state to crush you if you don’t agree with them. What makes them seem nice is they don’t personally do it. They proclaim love and happiness and let someone else do the dirty work.

Here is their “Statement of Faith”:

What We Believe

While gathering together to begin the process of writing our own statement of faith, we realized that, putting our beliefs down in writing was like drawing a line in the sand. Some members of the community would find themselves able to say “Yes, I believe that,” while others would not. Faith statements have done that since the beginning of time, dividing communities, with stark clarity, into those who belonged and those who did not. That wasn’t what we wanted.

In the early days following the death of Jesus, communities were forming that were choosing to live differently from the societies around them. They shared what they had. They went into areas of disease, at great risk, and worked with the dying. They went against family wishes in order to live up to the ideas of love that they knew. They became known as Christians for how they lived.

And that’s how we want to be known as Christians – not for what we believe, but for how we live. So we created a document we call VisionWorks to help us focus on the question, “How do we want to live?” It is a statement of our values and a challenge to us, each and every day. After all, being Christian shouldn’t stop at what you believe.

If you want to read our VisionWorks document, please click here.

All well and good for a social organization, not so good for a Christian Church.

While I would generally agree with that the social left can be every bit as combative and dogmatic as they accuse the social right of being, I will say that my limited experience with the ACoC was actually very pleasant. I got the feeling that as far as that particular minister was concerned, she really did tolerate and respect everyone (even those she disagreed with). If she is at all representative of the church she serves, then I would take them are their inclusive word.

The document you alluded to in your post can be found here. I found it telling that if you use your laptop’s search function, nowhere is the word Jesus or God mentioned in the document.

Searching their entire website, the name Jesus appears six times and God appears fourteen times. In contrast, progressive appears twenty-two times and LGBTQ appears 11 times (with an additional LGBT reference).

Agree. Most inclusive churches really do try to be respectful in my opinion.

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