Minister faces the boot over her atheism
Gretta Vosper, above, an ordained United Church of Canada minister who believes neither in God nor the Bible said this week she’s prepared to fight an attempt to boot her from the pulpit.
According to this report, Vosper said congregants support her view that how you live is more important than what you believe in. She said
I don’t believe in … the god called God. Using the word gets in the way of sharing what I want to share.
Vosper, 57, who was ordained in 1993, said the idea of an interventionist, supernatural being on which so much church doctrine is based belongs to an outdated world view.
Is the Bible really the word of God? Was Jesus a person? It’s mythology …
Vosper made her views clear as far back as a Sunday sermon in 2001 but her congregation stood behind her until a decision to do away with the Lord’s Prayer in 2008 prompted about 100 of the 150 members to leave. The rest backed her.
Things came to a head this year after she wrote an open letter to the church’s spiritual leader pointing out that belief in God can motivate bad things — a reference to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris.
Nora Sanders, general secretary of the church’s General Council, issued a ruling in May laying out a review process that could ultimately lead to Vosper’s defrocking.
Essentially, Sanders said, the review should determine whether Vosper was being faithful to her ordination vows, which included affirming a belief in “God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
Vosper is appealing Sanders’ ruling. An ecclesiastical court is set to hear her appeal in the autumn.
Allen concedes the issue has the potential to cause disunity in the United Church, which prides itself on tolerance for diversity and inclusiveness.
What we don’t want is to limit the scope of beliefs within the church … The vision of the United Church of Canada is: There is a God in whom we believe, and our statements of faith are very clear about that.
Hat tip: Dave