The Work of General Council

The work of General Council is never done.

That is not, as we learned at General Council 42, just an adaptation of an old ‘saw’; it is an accurate statement of fact.

Our capable, efficient, and deeply caring General Secretary, Nora Sanders, told Commissioners that much of the good work we did together could not possibly be addressed any further by General Council staff or committees — there just are not enough of them to go around. Asking us to prioritize our proposals to guide staff in their responses, she left the knowledge of good work ‘left hanging’ in our hands and on our minds.

It has been on my mind a lot. My first response was to wonder what work could possibly be so onerous that a few hundred thousand people could not take it up together. Yes, we need staff to support and assist, and help to ensure we are not overlapping our efforts to walk in the Way of Jesus, but the actual walking? Isn’t that ours to do anyway?

The Very Reverend Gary Paterson told us it is very much our work. Government and Industrial leaders, Prime Ministers and captains of commerce no longer listen to Moderators, Popes and Pontiffs. They do, however, listen to people, especially if they are hearing from lots of people in thoughtful, careful, and determined ways.

I know, from my experience as a Cabinet Minister’s Assistant, that governments do take notice of thoughtful, careful and determined people. If hand written (or personally composed) letters came into our office from a number of people on a common theme, we paid attention. We responded, not only in correspondence but also, eventually, in action.

I want to encourage you to take the time to write folk in leadership, to let them know how you feel about the work of your church. You can find the proposals passed at General Council 42 at this link: Pick the ones closest to your heart and write a letter from your heart to the leadership of the body most concerned. Copy BC Conference and your faith community; let us know where your heart is, too.

I have written one myself, to an organization that I know has our best interests at heart and struggles to balance the priorities before it. I have written the leadership of our Pension Board. I would not mind at all if you wrote them, too. I will append mine to this blog for your information and, perhaps, inspiration.

Thank you for your decision to walk in the Way of Jesus. It is good to be on the journey with you.

Read Keith's letter here.