Invigorating leadership for a flourishing church

What does it mean to be a leader in a 21st century church? What will The United Church of Canada look like 5, 10, or 20 years from now? We have a rich history. There are many lessons and celebrations from our past to reflect on. And our strategic plan identifies leadership as a pillar to drive us forward. Who will lead us, who is leading us now, and who will be leading us into the coming decades?

Just as Moderator Carmen Lansdowne wants to engage the nation in dialogue about difficult problems and collaborative solutions, she also wants to engage with the church in developing ministry leaders for the 21st century. To flourish, our church needs leaders of all identities and backgrounds.

The Leadership Program is connected to the Moderator’s Flourishing project, and is a pilot project to support and strengthen a diverse group of ministry personnel leaders in The United Church of Canada.

You are invited to nominate someone – or to apply yourself – for this two-year opportunity and commitment. Successful candidates will be asked to commit to this two-year project, anticipating that they will be able to use continuing education time and allowance in order to participate.

The United Church is committed to equity and self-determination, as well as eliminating barriers and working toward the full participation of all people.

Why a Leadership Program?

We believe in our church. We believe it will be here a generation from now, offering purpose and meaning to the lives of our children and grandchildren. The program has been created to: 

  • Empower leaders with skills to support a renewed church.
  • Identify, stretch, and develop all kinds of leaders for an emerging church, enhancing the diversity of current and future leadership.
  • Invigorate United Church of Canada leadership through a rich education experience.
  • Enhance belonging and create a new eco-system of leaders.
  • Nourish leaders for meaningful and strategic growth. 
  • Discern and identify policy change to remove obstacles that prevent growth.
  • Nourish leaders who are more equipped to lead a diverse and changing church by becoming further grounded in the Calls to the Church by the Caretakers of Our Indigenous Circle and our church's anti-racist, affirming, equity, and intercultural commitments.

How does it work?

A cohort of 33 diverse ministry personnel leaders from different contexts across the country has been chosen to engage in six sessions through 2024 and 2025. Convened by the Moderator with other experts, there will be one five-day online training session per year and two five-day sessions in person at Five Oaks Education and Retreat Centre in Paris, ON, each year:

  • 2024: Jan. 21–26 and Oct. 6–11 in person; June 3–7 virtual
  • 2025: Jan. 19–24 and June 22–27 in person; May 12–16 virtual

Key training material would include priorities of participants' priorities and

  • Change management 
  • Stakeholder engagement 
  • Financial management 
  • Fundraising  
  • Allyship and advocacy 
  • Strategic communications 
  • Leadership elevation 
  • Strategic and action planning. 

Participants will be asked to commit time (for a total of three weeks a year) and funds from continuing education to support 20 percent of the cost of the program.


Up to $1,500/year for a total of $3,000 over two years. This is based on the full-time continuing education allowance for ministry personnel. Recognizing that some ministry personnel are not in full-time employment with a community of faith and some ministry personnel do not have access to $1,500 per year, cost will not be a barrier to participation.

To enhance the diversity of participants (including part-time ministers) and to fulfill our commitments to equity, some participants could contribute less, or apply for funds towards child care, or other expenses that would help facilitate their participation. 

Nominations/applications closed

Thank you to everyone who made a nomination or who applied to this program.

Applications are now closed. All applicants will be informed by mid-October.