Remit Response Survey

Along with the quarterly e-mailout of the Renewal News and Prayer Calendar, sent the last week of September, we included a survey, asking respondents to share their responses to the adoption of remits ‘B’ and ‘C.’

We received 21 responses:

  • Ministers        12
  • Elders              5
  • Members        3
  • Adherents      1

Responses arrived from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland and included some non-Anglo representation (but not a lot).

The results:

Personal response to the adoption of the Remits (check all that apply):

  1. I am staying in my congregation — 6 ministers, 4 elders, 1 member
  2. I am waiting to see what the next General Assembly enacts – 6 ministers, 3 elders, 1 member
  3. I am looking for another denomination – 3 ministers, 1 elder, 1 member
  4. I have already left for another denomination – 1 minister (retired),
  5. I am seeking the Spirit’s wisdom – 3 ministers, 3 elders, 2 members, 1 adherent

Other personal courses of action:

Minister (West Toronto):The Clerk and I have passed along the info from General Assembly, but he we have not discussed the remits with the Session or Congregation over the past couple years at all. It may be a little of ‘head in the sand’ situation – perhaps not the best approach, but that is where we have happily been plugging along for years now.”

Minister (Oak Ridges): “I believe the GA made a poor decision preceded by poor process. However, if one just keeps working in their own congregation and acting in their own conscience, we could lower the rhetoric considerably.”

Minister (Barrie): “My congregation is traditional but vacant. I am retired and Minister-in-Association. If the congregation moves from its traditional position or calls a progressive as minister I will leave it and possibly the PCC.”

Adherent (Brampton): “When it became apparent that the Remits were likely to be adopted (as it turned out they were), I asked Session to strike my name from the nominal roll of members, and to tolerate me as an adherent if they cared to. I wish not to be a member of the PCC any longer. I feel that it has left me, and I have not forsaken it. The congregation of which I am now a mere adherent seems likely to go the way of the PCC – theologically and corporately dying. If I could hear of a congregation and denomination likely to uphold the beliefs and standards that used to be those of the PCC, I would want to explore the possibility of affiliating myself with it and supporting it; I haven’t heard of anything along those lines yet. I acknowledge that there are some congregations and denominations that I don’t consider seriously because I find their worship practices to be so deliberately distasteful and/ or disrespectful as to distract me from any involvement at all.”

Member (Hamilton): “I would like to stay with my congregation, but not if it stays with PCC.”

Minister (Barrie): “I am currently between charges and am not sure if I want to seek a new call within the PCC as I am concerned personally about the impact of the remits on my ordination vows.”

Minister retired (Pickering): “Preaching is irrelevant in present congregation, attending Northpoint by live stream, attend [congregation] by Zoom only to keep in touch with old friends.”

Elder (Ottawa): “Organizing a meeting of likeminded sessions to worship, pray, share perspectives and seek the Lord’s will.”

Minister (Montreal): “A schism seems inevitable. But leaving before all avenues of recourse have been exhausted is a betrayal of our ordination vows.”

Minister (Calgary-MacLeod): “We will not surrender our assets and property for the Presbytery to potential start another revisionist church as our legacy in our community.”

Elder (New Brunswick): “My wife and I will not be staying in the PCC with the adoption of remits, so staying in my congregation applies only if congregational action is taken after next GA, depending on what action that is.”

Member (Westminster): “I am part of a congregation who are tackling the issue through discussion and discernment but with a strong focus on the Word of God being the basis for how to live as Christians in a secular world. I will be waiting, along with our congregation, on future outcomes of General Assembly before making any decision on whether to leave or stay in the Presbyterian denomination.”

Elder (Quebec): “I have chosen to stay within the PCC. The testimony of the Rev. Dr. Greg Brawn, guest speaker for Renewal Day 2021, has impacted and encouraged me to be a voice of orthodoxy within our church and denomination. Graeme Lauber of Journey Canada has also influenced my decision to remain and love those who are struggling with same-sex attraction. I know I am not alone in my walk in the PCC, and I am very grateful for the men and women of the Renewal Fellowship that make it possible for us to meet together and pray for one another. I have also signed the RF PCC Covenant.
I am always seeking the Spirit’s guidance and wisdom, and pray for the PCC, Renewal Fellowship, and our little denomination . . . . God is still working, and may open a door in creating a sister denomination. If that be the case, I will be leaving the PCC.”

Elder (Kamloops): “I am ashamed to be a member of the PCC. The only reason I am still here is because my minister and session are committed followers of Jesus Christ. My church and the local CRC church are the only Reformed voices in town, so here I remain, for now. I do not expect the conversation regarding “gracious dismissal” to bear any fruit, but I will support any effort to find another denomination to join, or even create a new one.”

Congregational response to the adoption of the Remits (check all that apply):

  1. We are intending to stay within the PCC and support it – 3 ministers, 1 elder, 1 member
  2. We are waiting to see what the next General Assembly enacts – 2 ministers, 3 elders
  3. Our congregation is divided. We don’t know what we will do – 1 elder, 1 member
  4. Our congregation has little awareness of the seriousness of the Remit decisions – 3 ministers, 2 elders
  5. We will likely close in the near future.
  6. We have decided to leave the PCC with or without a gracious dismissal option – 1 minister (Eastern Han-Ca), 1 elder (New Brunswick)

 Other courses of action not listed above:

Adherent (Brampton): “The congregation of which I have become an adherent, lifting my lines from membership in it and thus in the PCC, is, to anyone who has eyes to see, demographically moribund. Moreover, it fails to fulfill a great deal of the proper role and functions of a congregation. I’m 86 years old, but it’s a toss-up which of us will die first.”

Elder (Ottawa): “Our church held several informational meetings and then voted to oppose the changes on human sexuality. Session recently reconfirmed their stand in a letter to the congregation.”

Elder (New Brunswick): “Session has adopted options 2 and 6, but there has been no congregational vote. I feel that options 1, 3 and 4 apply to parts of the congregation,
so session has work to do before a congregational vote on option 6.”

Elder (Kamloops): “The last response – We have decided to leave the PCC with or without a gracious dismissal option – is very close to where I would choose to go.
Currently, there is no way our congregation will surrender our building and assets to the national church. We will refuse to support our national office in every way we can.”

Member (Lanark-Renfrew): “I am an elder [Retired] I’m not sure where our session stands right now, but my family is waiting to see and if there isn’t a strong response, my family will be looking at moving to another Church. We do have options. However St. Andrew’s is a Bible based church and I’m sure there will be a strong response by our session and that’s the only reason we’re still here.”

Please share briefly any additional thought you may have on this issue:

Minister (West Toronto): “I appreciate the prayerful responses and pray that somehow God will bring good out of this situation. I believe the evil one does delight in the pain, division, and loss of Church connection that this issue has caused.
with hope in Christ.”

Minister (Oak Ridges): There is no gracious dismissal option at the moment … and no need to seek other denominational shelter as people care very little about denominational ties. So for the time being … staying put.”

Adherent (Brampton):  “If you’d care to hear what I think are the ‘proper role and functions of a congregation’ (a phrase I use in the answer above) let me know. I don’t mind identifying myself. [NOTE: Renewal Fellowship has invited him to share his thoughts; stay tuned.]

Minister currently without charge (Barrie): “Unless the denomination can separate into two theological streams I do not believe that it will be possible for me to follow my call in the PCC.”

Minister retired (Pickering): “It seems irrelevant/inconsequential/invisible/insignificant to congregation. Opinion of minister and session unknown.”

Elder (Ottawa): “There is no middle ground; some people are leaving because of the denominational stance while others are leaving because of the church’s stance.”

Minister (Montreal): “We, the dissenters of the current PCC doctrinal swing, spent so much time (understandably) in organising resistance that we did not develop fully how faithful to respond to a social situation radically different from that found in the societies of the New and Old Testament.”

Elder (Quebec): “Recently I was elected as elder, and tomorrow, October 3rd, I will be ordained. The PCC’s remits have been weighing heavy on my mind. At a session with the elders, I raised my concerns with the remits, and where we should stand as a church, and where I should stand as an elder; as I do not want to create any divisiveness within our church. A kingdom divided cannot stand. My concerns were brushed aside after a long and uncomfortable silence. One elder eventually said that the situation was very complex, and God is working, and we will revisit this question at a later date. That was that.”

Minister, retired (Vancouver Island): “I find this action of the last General Assembly having a painful disengaging affect on me. I have done all I can to remain with in the PCC through working on restructuring proposals. In June the Assembly voted ‘no’ to investigating such ideas. It appears that our days of negotiating are over! Therefore I find myself looking for a new church family.”

  • Questions developed by Robin Ross. Responses collated/organized by Andy Cornell

6 thoughts on “Remit Response Survey

  1. Pretty clear that the responses are all over the place. Perhaps it depends on the context you find yourself in. The minister in my congregation was driven to leave the church and the PCC by constant harassment from a small number of progressive activists and the passive acceptance of our Session, which utterly failed the congregation as well as the minister. There is now a Presbytery presence to help clean up/gloss over the unholy mess, What is a believer in God’s Word as taught by His Son to do?
    I resigned from Session a year ago and I will no longer serve a failed Session, which is still in place, in any capacity.

  2. I speak as one who is retired from active ministry, as one who has endured the ever-continuing changes credited or blamed on the movement of the Holy Spirit. I do not plan to leave either my congregation or the denomination. I lead with some thoughts of Scripture and words from Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva: “God has been poured into our hearts by His Spirit dwelling in each one of us, calling us to a life of devotion and inviting us to bloom in the garden where He has planted and directing us to radiate the beauty and spread the fragrance of His providence.” In my prayer life and struggle, I am reminded from Scripture that Jesus did not walk among the angels. He spent his time among the downtrodden, the sick in spirit, and sinners of all sorts, including some of the holy people within and without the temple. How shall the non-believer receive the good news of Jesus’ love if we refuse to walk among them? We are called and sent to declare the good news of the gospel, and we cannot do this by erecting more walls. Let us remain firm in our faith and true to our vows of ordination. Let us also remain firm and true to our opportunities to preach the good news and invite brothers and sisters to come and repent and be saved. In my ordination response, I humbly called upon Paul’s defense – “a sinner such as I”. I have been frequently reminded that the most grievous sin that cannot be forgiven is the denial of Jesus Christ. In my ministry, I have been blessed to experience people who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour and have been born again. The conversion experience will not happen as easily if we set ourselves up in an “us and “them” divide. Let us ask God to give us an infilling of the Spirit so that we may fulfill our gospel calling while we are yet still able.

  3. Has anyone considered that by remaining an active, contributing member of the denomination that has so radically departed from the authority of Scripture, its own confessional standards, and the historic teaching of the church in the matter of marriage, sexual ethics, and leadership, that one may be complicit in promoting the very thing that is opposed?

  4. I sense a lot of negativity in the replies. If this is what the majority of real reformed Presbyterians (not liberal) have, then remember Daniel in the lions den that a secular society put him in. I will not lose my faith no matter what.

  5. Being now a person with no church affiliation, I am worshiping via TV and You-tube. and giving my Tithe to a mission. Having been an elder in the PCC for over 26 years with no formal position in my congregation. It was an easy option for me to leave the denomination. I am praying for the PCC, all the elders, ministers especially who need to make a decision on what to do. I respect those who want to wait to see what the GA will do in 22, but I believe they need to have a discussion at the Session level as to what they believe and what action they are willing to take should things not go as they are praying for. Please don’t leave these decisions for the last minute.

  6. as a retired minister I have been serving a congregation who believed I was being sent to close the door in a dignified way. That was not on my agenda. I have promised to stay as long as God wants me to. I was incredibly alarmed by the lack of Bible knowledge in the congregation which tells me our colleges are either sending out pastors who do not know the Bible, or pastors who don’t understand their role as teaching elders. Our colleges are in need of a Reformation. In the meantime I continue to preach and teach as a Christian pastor, serving in a Presbyterian church. As I told the congregation recently, I hope and pray I never see the sign out front that says “Ichabod Presbyterian Church.” I will always stay true to the Reformed faith, not some kind of liberalism.

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