President's Report 2007
Presented at the Annual General Meeting, April 3, 2008.
'For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.' (Romans 15: 4–6, New International Version)
The Christian Council of the Capital Area emerged in 1970 as the successor to the Ottawa Council of Churches. In 1969, the minutes of the Ottawa Council of Churches indicate 'ever-recurring doubts concerning its purpose, structure and future' and thus there was a commitment to 'search for "the new thing" which God is seeking to reveal or bring into being in Ottawa.' [From Resource Book of the Christian Council of the Capital Area, preface by Frank Epp, September 1, 1970.] Over the almost forty years of work and witness the CCCA has been an ecumenical presence in Ottawa bringing people together in conversation at the meeting table, through Festivals of Faith, through the experience of shared worship during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and in educational opportunities. Those who have gathered regularly to talk with one another at the meetings of the CCCA have been blessed by the relationships and learning that has been exchanged over the years. As the current President of the CCCA, I too have been blessed by the people around the meeting table and the opportunity to work together and to learn from each other. I extend my gratitude to the members of the Council for their work and participation. Particularly, I would like to mention those who finished their service with the CCCA during 2007—Rev. Jane McQuaig who had been representing the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa and Rev. Joel Crouse who had been the representative for the Lutheran Synod and to Father Yvon Vanasse who due to illness is not able to participate. It would also be appropriate in this report to extend both my personal appreciation and the appreciation of the Christian Council of the Capital Area to Rev. Dr. Andrew Johnston who served the Council so well as its President for five years.
The public witness of the Council focuses on two major components, the first is the annual celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and the second is the hosting of an educational component in conjunction with the Annual General Meeting. The CCCA meets monthly except July and August to engage in dialogue and conduct regular business. The Council is fortunate to be blessed by the generosity of the Archdiocese of Ottawa that provides a meeting room at the diocesan office.
The following is an outline of the main focus of the meetings since the last AGM.
May—Visit from Ruin Friedman from the Jewish–Christian Dialogue to talk about the program being offered in the city on 'Walking God's Paths: Christians and Jews in Candid Conversation' which originated from Boston College. There is a very active local dialogue group that meets monthly and this program has attracted participation in a number of venues.
June—As the CCCA looked towards the fall, time was taken to talk about planning ideas and sharing areas of interest in forming the work of the Council.
September—Following the ideas that emerged from the June planning time, the agenda included a time to collect and gather a list of ecumenical conversations and projects in the Ottawa area.
October—The CCCA is a forum for members to talk about current issues of faith and in October the Council engaged in a conversation about the statement from the Vatican regarding its understanding of Church. Jacques Faucher led us through a lively discussion of reactions to the statement.
November—Larry Martin & Paul Kompass from the local KAIROS group shared the work they are doing and the need to better network with the churches. It was agreed that they should be associate member of the CCCA. KAIROS is an ecumenical coalition that works in the area of justice education.
December—Christmas Gathering was held and the Council finalization of plans for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
January—Discussion of how CCCA might be able to find a common Christian voice with which to speak. There was conversation about how the CCCA has
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Workshop—Faith in the Public Square with Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton, General Secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches—25 attendees.
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Worship Service with Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton as the preacher. Service at St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church. There was a very small attendance.
February—Book discussion on The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. The CCCA was challenged to think about how Christians respond to popular culture that may intentionally choose to devalue 'religion.'
March—Future directions for the CCCA—What is our current sense of purpose and mission? How do we engage the questions in new ways?
Over the past year the CCCA has been wrestling with the questions that the former Church Council of Ottawa found itself asking in 1969—how do we better live out the purpose and goals that we claim. The CCCA indeed is seeking God's gifts of encouragement and endurance as it looks for new ways of energizing the ecumenical dialogue and context in our city. Those who gather around the table each month as dedicated to the vision and calling of ecumenical conversation and witness, we are also challenged to open ourselves to new ways of energizing that mission.
Rev. Lillian Roberts