We have blogged about the case of the atheist pastor. Gretta Vosper has been a minister in a Toronto congregation of the United Church of Canada, where she preaches atheism. Contrary to my prediction, the plenty liberal denomination has finally removed her from office “because she does not believe in God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit.”
Now comes the indignation. In a story about the action excerpted and linked after the jump, a member who describes himself as “agnostic, an atheist, a non-believer” says that he wouldn’t be attending church if it weren’t for Pastor Vosper.
Gretta Vosper was given a standing ovation by her congregation after taking her first Sunday service since being banned as a minister.
Vosper’s self-described atheism led to a United Church report published last Wednesday that said she was “not suitable” to carry on. But after a long-planned talk on acceptance on Sunday, her congregation at West Hill United Church in Toronto, Canada, made it clear where their loyalties lay.“Wherever Gretta goes, I go,” said one member, 96-year-old Jeanne Hamel, who has been part of the church for 91 years.
“My heart left the United Church when I heard they had rejected Gretta. I was stunned,” she said according to The Star news site in Toronto.
Another said he would not have remained a churchgoer for 23 years if not for Vosper. Morlan Rees, who describes himself as an “agnostic, an atheist, a non-believer”, said: “Her ideas reflect what I’ve been feeling about the scriptures needing to be put into a modern context.”
The 39-page report by the church’s Toronto Conference Review Committee was damning over Vosper’s views.
“In our opinion, she is not suitable to continue in ordained ministry because she does not believe in God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit,” the report stated.
“We have concluded that if Gretta Vosper were before us today, seeking to be ordained, we would not recommend her.”
In response Vosper used her service on Sunday to deliver a sermon on acceptance and inclusion.