By Rev. Joel Coppieters, in response to the proposal by the Presbytery of Montreal regarding voting for Remits ‘B’ and ‘C’ on October 15, 2019.
There are three reasons why we should not proceed by secret ballot.
First, throughout this debate there has been a persistent plea for open dialogue with a strong insistence that everyone publicly express their opinions and perspectives. It would seem rather anticlimactic and incongruous at this point when our opinions will finally really count, to seek discreet anonymous voting.
Secondly, for those on the progressive side of this issue, who appear to be pushing for a secret ballot, this is a matter of basic civil rights. If that is the case, this is no moment for anonymity, this is the time to bravely stand and be counted for what you believe to be right.
Thirdly, this is a decision heavy with consequence.
- There are many small churches across the country who have already suffered, lost members and otherwise been hurt through the process of this discussion and for whom this decision will bring the final coup de grâce.
- For most of our ethnic congregations who still firmly stand with the position of the global church, this decision will make their continued outreach to their communities almost impossible.
- For dozens of other churches like Côte des Neiges who have been working for the Gospel within the PCC for over a century and a half, this decision may well force us to walk away from our historic fellowship with the PCC, losing buildings, assets and other resources.
- And for a number of us ministers, this decision may well bring the end of a fruitful ministry, at least within the PCC, and possibly the need to find another vocation.
My brothers and sisters, if you are indeed going to make a decision this heavy with consequence, I simply plead, as a gesture of respect and decency in the process, that you would at least have the courage to stand publicly, to affirm your decision and to assume the weight of its consequences.