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Toronto's Atheist Minister Faces Church Court After Questioning Christianity For At Least 14 Years

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Rev. Gretta Vosper doesn’t “believe in the god called God.”

Religion News Service
By Ron Csillag
Posted: 08/13/2015 02:27 PM EDT

TORONTO (RNS) An ordained minister of Canada’s largest Protestant denomination is facing dismissal because she is an atheist.

The Rev. Gretta Vosper, spiritual leader of West Hill United Church in suburban Toronto, made her God-denying views known as far back as 2001. She stayed on course a few years later when she ended the practice of reciting the Lord’s Prayer, and some two-thirds of her congregants quit.

Her 2008 book, “With or Without God,” alienated some churchgoers anew.

Vosper, known as the “atheist minister,” is back in the news now that a church court will soon begin a review process to determine if she should be removed from the pulpit.

“I don’t believe in the god called God,” Vosper told The Canadian Press wire service this month. “Using the word gets in the way of sharing what I want to share.”

Asked in a March Toronto Star interview whether she believes that Jesus was the Son of God, she said, “I don’t think Jesus was.”

Things came to a head earlier this year after she wrote an open letter objecting to a prayer a fellow minister had written following the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. Vosper said the prayer should have acknowledged that belief in God could trigger extremism.

The United Church of Canada’s Toronto executive began looking into Vosper’s fitness as a minister. In May, the denomination’s top administrative body, the General Council, laid out the procedure for determining whether Vosper was true to her ordination vows, which included affirming a belief in “God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

“This is the first time an ordained minister has been asked to confirm her vows,” said David Wilson, editor of the United Church Observer.

Vosper, 57, was ordained in 1993 and joined the Toronto church in 1997.

The 70 or so congregants who remain in her church are said to be staunch supporters.

Founded in 1925, the United Church is known for its liberal leanings and social justice activism.

The denomination has been closing churches at a rate of more than one a week — 59 in 2013, according to Wilson.



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    Total 2 comments
    • freedom007

      How can a person who doesnt believe in God do a profession defined as Service to God? Absurd. this woman should have resigned and changed profession as soon as she recognized clearly that she was an atheist.

      Same is to be said about some theologers of the last 50 years, for example Hans Küng who dared write a book with the title “Does God exist?”
      A true theologer is someone who professionally speaks about God as a Reality. If the book had been titled “God Does Exist” and had been written to prove this, Küng would have done his true job, to praise God by his science.

      And of course true religious faith, as any clear-cut opinion that requires commitment and faith to reach its goals, can lead to “extremism” i.e. tough action in cases of confrontation with things, ideas, or even people seen as enemies.
      Atheism too can lead to extremism, and it did so in a horrible way during communist era, and still does!

      Dont fall for the idea that atheism or agnosticism could ever lead to more peace and less conflict in the world. The only ones who would enjoy more peace than today in such a world would be the Atheists themselves.

      if you do something “extremist” to defend Women´s Rights
      you will be acknowledged as the good one,
      or for the rights of homosexuals, or for the survival of Redwood trees, or Bald Eagles, or whales;
      but if you get into tough action to defend the Real Existence of A Creator who still rules the world,
      or the survival of unborn children whose mothers have the idea to abort them for this or that “good” reason,
      or the human rights of such refugees that your respective State does not see as “real” refugees but who are in need and misery just the same…
      then you suddenly are the Bad One
      and will be mocked, harassed, or even persecuted by the police.

      This absurd dichotomy has nothing to do with truth or welfare of the people or keeping peace.
      It is all about whose lobby is in control and wants to keep control, and who got the big money.
      And you know from Gospel, the devil loves money and all those who love money are in constant danger of making foul compromises with the devil.
      This is why Atheism is propagated today. Only for this reason. All “Humanist” pros of Atheism are untrue.

    • Damien

      Wacky GayTheist WASP Zionists.

      “God gets in the way of what I want to share (bombs and the organs of the non WASP Zionists).”

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