Gretta Vosper is pastor of West Hill United Church in Toronto, and founder and chair of the Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity, an organization that provides resources and support for those exploring the boundaries of Christian thought, both within and outside of the church. She received her Master of Divinity degree from Queen's Theological College in 1990 and was ordained in 1992. In 2008 her book, "With or Without God; Why the Way We Live Is More Important Than What We Believe", was published in 2008 and has drawn interest from a wide range of readers. Vosper is a widely sought-after speaker and is regularly interviewed in the national media. - From "With or without God..."
Gretta Vosper is the best-selling author of With or Without God: Why the way we live is more important than what we believe. The book is informed and inspired by her pastoral ministry at West Hill United Church, and reflects her conviction that it isn't good enough to talk about an abstract belief that has no consequences for living well in community. That is what her work at West Hill is about: promoting an environment where people, often of widely differing opinions and backgrounds, can come together and work at living well within themselves, with one another, and in right relationship with the whole world.
That means that church at West Hill looks very different. Much of what is
said and done in a traditional church environment is designed to set boundaries
between those on the inside and those on the outside. Gretta is committed to
ensuring that the language within a church community is non-exclusive, and that
people - ALL PEOPLE - have a place to ask tough questions and give free rein to
their spiritual yearnings.
Gretta Vosper is also chair and founder of the Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity. This came about in 2004 from a twofold recognition of need:
First, although clergy in mainstream Christian denominations learn (and take as given) the tenets of a progressive view of faith, once they leave the seminary and are settled into a pastoral charge, they feel compelled to adhere to more traditional ways of doing things. There is a lag of about 60 years between the scholarship ministers study at school, and the words they speak from a pulpit. For many, this creates a split identity - a sense that they lead a secret spiritual life that they have to suppress throughout their active ministry. The Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity provides such ministers with support and a sense that others share their view of spiritual life.
Second, never in the history of Christianity have "average" church-goers been so sophisticated. The days are gone when the minister was one of three university educated members of a community (along with the town doctor and lawyer). Now, there are growing pockets of believers who are well aware of the gap between scholarship and preaching, and they hunger for more. They too may feel relatively isolated within their church communities and yearn for connection with like-minded people and for the assurance that their thinking is not so off-the-wall after all. The Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity provides such connection and reassurance.