The case concerns a small congregation in Bermuda which has
sought to withdraw from The United Church of Canada on the basis of the UCCs
deviation from Christian doctrine. The congregation wished to sever association with the UCC
while retaining title to church property. The deed to the property states that
it must be used for the worship of God in
accordance with the doctrine of the Methodist Church as articulated in the Twenty-Five
Articles of Religion of John Wesley. Favorable outcome for the Bermuda congregation
therefore hinged on evidence that The United Church of Canada contradicted the
Twenty-Five Articles of Religion. Expert testimony given by Dr. Victor Shepherd
demonstrated that the UCC has intentionally and repeatedly contravened its own Basis of
Union in its formal theology as well as its day-to-day operative theology.
The judgement of Madam Justice Wade ruled in favour of
the congregation. The United Church of Canada has appealed this ruling.
Dr. Shepherd was accepted by the court as an expert witness based
on his theological scholarship, particularly in the theology of John Wesley and Methodism.
His testimony outlines the United Churchs deliberate deviation from its own Basis
of Union in documents and pronouncements since 1988: