The Presbyterian Church of Canada heard from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on the final day of its General Assembly gathering in Waterloo, Ontario. In his remarks, Kerry Rice, Deputy Stated Clerk of the Office of the General Assembly of the PC(USA), said North America and the world are changing and that people of all faiths are facing daily threats from those who hate.
“It seems like every week, there’s violence at a church, synagogue, or mosque. No one is immune,” he said. “We continue to see families seeking asylum in our country, only to be turned away, incarcerated, and separated from their families.”
Rice said the idolatry of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution has created a “powerful and seductive” gun culture to which many have fallen victim.
“I lost my son one year ago today to an accidental shooting — he and his brother were enamored of guns and were admiring a new handgun they had just purchased,” Rice shared. “The gun discharged, and Tyson was killed. The U.S. must face its gun culture and the church must lead that effort.”
Rice added that the gap between the poor and the wealthy continues to grow, and that corporate greed is placing the planet at risk.
Rice also said the church is at a crossroads and continues to change in the 21st century.
“Even as the church of Jesus Christ, we sometimes find ourselves looking for fault among our churches or church leaders, when we should hold close and pray for God’s guidance,” he said. “The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Presbyterian Church in Canada have enjoyed a special relationship. Both of our churches have much work to do as we continue to enjoy power and privilege at the substantial expense of other communities. It is our prayer that together, we can impact change that will tear down walls of racism and hate and begin to build a world of welcome, without judgement or violence.”
Rice spoke highly of the PCC’s work on confession and reconciliation with the indigenous people of Canada, calling it admirable and inspiring.
“We in the PC(USA) can learn from this work as we come to terms with our own participation in the oppression and subjugation of Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Native Alaskans,” he said.
Rice talked about the partnerships between the PC(USA) and PCC, specifically the joint work with the Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Center Association as well as the collaboration on pastoral and vocational calling. He also called on the churches to continue the partnership as a witness to the love of Christ.