From the news release on the NAtional WEbsite:
After thoughtful and prayerful consideration, the Executive unanimously adopted key directions aimed at encouraging and revitalizing ministries and simplifying processes, including:
* focusing the work of the General Council Office on supporting denominational identity and connection
* clarifying and redefining the roles of the courts of the church and reducing the complexity and size of The Manual
* establishing a Network for Ministry Development to offer training and consultation on congregational and new ministry development, and a New Ministries Fund seeded with $1 million from United Church reserves to support new and innovative ministries
* giving high priority to using new technologies and new media to their full potential, recognizing that accommodations will be necessary due to limited access to these technologies in some parts of Canada
Many of these initiatives will be developed and implemented over the triennium. Other parts of the plan will require further development and, in some cases, the approval of the General Council, which is scheduled to meet next in 2012.
As the Executive’s decision is implemented and the church reorients itself toward the future, budget realities mean a number of less welcome transitions will take place. These include the loss of 15–20 staff positions at the General Council Office over the triennium, and reductions in grants to mission support, global partners, theological schools, and education centres.
The loss of valued colleagues, work, and support for partnerships will be difficult. In its extensive discussion and discernment, the Executive recognized that embracing this plan for the future will bring opportunities, as well as loss.
At the same time as these reductions are being implemented, the new directions and initiatives approved by the Executive will ensure the church continues to be relevant and faithful in a changing context.
For those who like parliamentary language, here is the actual motion that was passed and here are some links to the report, some background, and some responses that were received.
What does this all mean? Only time will tell for sure but the hope is that it streamlines some of the bureaucratic side of church life. Real renewal for the church will not come from this though. Real renewal will come when we discover (or rediscover) a sense of mission, our raison d'etre, our purpose, a sense of who/how/where God is calling us to be.
FOr more discussion on this issue you can read through this thread