United Church

The United Church is Canada’s largest Protestant denomination. And it’s uniquely Canadian. It was inaugurated in 1925 at a large worship service in a Toronto arena and recognized by an act of Parliament.

historic picture

The United Church, founded at this convention in 1925, celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2015.

It was founded by a merger of four Christian churches: the Presbyterian Church in Canada, the Methodist Church of Canada, the Congregational Union of Ontario and Quebec and the Association of Local Union Churches, a predominantly prairie-based movement. Two-thirds of Canada’s Presbyterians joined the new United Church and the other three churches joined as a whole.

The church is one of the most socially progressive evangelical Protestant denominations in the world. It began ordaining female ministers in 1936. It takes a scholarly interpretive, rather than literal approach to the Bible. It has been progressive on education, medicare, minority rights and relations with the wider Christian Church and other faiths.

Congregations range from moderately conservative to very liberal and  conduct their affairs with considerable autonomy. There are about 3,000 individual congregations in the church and 3,500 ordained ministers, about two-thirds of them men and one-third women.

About 2.5 million Canadians list the United Church as their religious affiliation; about 500,00 of them are listed as active members on church rolls today.