Monday January 11, 2016

Atheist minister fights to keep her place in the United Church

"If it's not supernatural or interventionist, if it's not a divine being, if it isn't all knowing and judging and all of those things then why name it God?," says Gretta Vosper, a Reverend of West Hill United Church.

"If it's not supernatural or interventionist, if it's not a divine being, if it isn't all knowing and judging and all of those things then why name it God?," says Gretta Vosper, a Reverend of West Hill United Church. (Lian Chan)

Listen 22:58

Since its foundation, nearly a century ago, the United Church of Canada has famously been a broad-minded Christian denomination.

Its goal at the outset was to unite the many strands of liberal Protestant practice under the same roof.

And through the years it's been widely seen as an open-minded and pluralistic institution. 

Reverend Connie den Bok - Pastor at Alderwood United in Etobicoke

"As the denomination is kind of disintegrating, the cohesiveness of the organization that held us all together under one roof is fraying," says Pastor Connie denBok of the Alderwood United in Etobicoke, Ontario. (Courtesy of Dr. Rev. Connie den Bok)

But now, one United Church minister in Ontario, is forcing the church to re-examine the limits of that approach... and to ask whether a lack of faith should get a Reverend defrocked.

The Current's Gord Westmacott brings us his documentary, A Matter of Faith.

West Hill United Church - Gretta Vosper Doc

"Our use of theological language that posits a moral authority is a very dangerous tool in the 21st Century," says atheist United Church minister Gretta Vosper. (Lian Chan)

Should Reverend Gretta Vosper have a place in the United Church? And what role should faith and belief play in organized religion?

Tweet us @TheCurrentCBC. Find us on Facebook. Or as as always send us an email 

Our documentary editor is Joan Webber.
 

RELATED LINKS

♦ Gretta Vosper's website 
♦ West Hill United Church (Gretta Vosper's Church)
♦ Alderwood United (Connie denBok's Church)