[URBAN NOTE] “Atheist United Church minister starting new secular community in Toronto”
The Globe and Mail carries Michelle McQuigge’s Canadian Press article looking at the efforts of non-believing United Church minister Gretta Vosper to set up a branch of a secular community movement in Toronto. I think this makes sense; I think she would be better off doing this than she would be in occupying a leadership role in a religious movement she is fundamentally opposed to.
A minister deemed unsuitable by the United Church for declaring herself an atheist is now at the heart of an effort to establish a type of church-style, secular community in Canada.
Gretta Vosper is one of about 10 founding members of Toronto’s Oasis Network, believed to be the first of its kind in Canada and due to launch in February.
Oasis communities, which have sprung up in several locations across the United States, are non-faith-based groups that try to draw people together based on five broad-based principles.
Among them are notions that reality is best understood through reason rather than religious insight, and that the world’s problems are best addressed by people rather than divine intervention.
Vosper sees setting up the community in Toronto as a natural extension of the work she’s already doing at one of the city’s churches.
The United Church criticized Vosper for declaring herself an atheist and will hold an ecclesiastical hearing in late 2017 to determine whether or not she will be defrocked as a minister.