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The United Church has launched a Haiti Appeal, and donations can be made through local congragations or can be sent to the national office at 3250 Bloor St. West, Suite 300, Toronto, ON M8X 2Y4.
The United Church has launched a Haiti Appeal, and donations can be made through local congragations or can be sent to the national office at 3250 Bloor St. West, Suite 300, Toronto, ON M8X 2Y4.

United Church considering motion asking members to stop gossiping Add to ...

The United Church of Canada is looking at a motion urging congregants to stop gossiping, likening it to gambling and “other evils of society.”

“Gossip can cause people to lose their jobs and their good reputations,” according to the motion, under consideration at the church’s 41st general council held August 11-18 in Ottawa.

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It can “lead to broken friendships and split families, and can be used as a malicious weapon against an opponent,” the resolution continues, adding that mean-spirited gabbing “can cause people to switch churches or in some instances, to stop attending church altogether.”

The motion aims to “encourage congregations to seek ways to raise awareness of the harmful aspects of gossip.”

While not explicitly a sin, Reverend Bruce Gregersen explained that spreading tales is contrary to Christian teachings promoting love, truth and honesty. It falls into the category of “bearing false witness,” he told AFP.

However, Father Gregersen, spokesman for the United Church of Canada, acknowledged “it’s hard to know what we can do about it as a congregation.”

The conference, held once every three years, brings together 350 delegates and a couple hundred more guests and observers, representing 650,000 church members nationwide.

Other topics on the agenda include social justice issues such as child poverty, homelessness and economic disparity in Canada, as well as the hardships of rural churches in keeping up membership and staffing levels.

“An increasing number of people are spiritual, believe in God and prayer, but fewer and fewer people believe in the need to link that to an institution,” Father Gregersen lamented.

The council will also take on issues of national and international interest, including Canadian mining activities in the Philippines and Central America, climate change and a proposed oil pipeline in westernmost Canada.

As well, the church will consider a new report on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that drops a call for a general Israel boycott in favor of one directed exclusively against products that can be identified as produced in or related to Israeli settlements.

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