The United Church was inaugurated on June 10, 1925 in Toronto when the Methodist Church, Canada, the Congregational Union of Canada, and 70 percent of The Presbyterian Church in Canada entered into a union.

1800s

DateEvent

1829Methodist Book and Publishing House is founded in Toronto.

1874Quebec Diocese of the Church of England appoints a committee to promote church union.

1875Union of four sections of Presbyterianism into The Presbyterian Church in Canada.

1884Union of four sections of Methodism into The Methodist Church (Canada).

1885A proposal for discussion on church union in Canada originates from the Church of England (Anglican), with a conference on the subject held in 1886.

1900-14

DateEvent

1902Formal union discussions begin among Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches.

1904-08Representatives of uniting churches work on Basis of Union.

1906Several Congregational Churches form the Congregational Union of Canada.

1912Joint theological education begins among Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Congregationalists in Montreal.

1914World War I begins and church union efforts subside.

1921-29

DateEvent

1921Canadian School of Missions begins (later the Ecumenical Forum) with the purpose to train people for overseas missions (Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and later, Baptist).

1925On June 10, in the Mutual St. Arena in Toronto, The United Church of Canada is formed by a union of Presbyterian, Methodist, Congregational, and the General Council of the Local Union Churches.

1925-261st General Council, Toronto, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. George C. Pidgeon.

1926-282nd General Council, Montreal, Quebec, Moderator: The Right Rev. James Endicott.

1925-29Congregations, colleges, and offices of the uniting churches merge.

1928-303rd General Council, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Moderator: The Right Rev. William T. Gunn.

1929The Depression begins.

1930s

DateEvent

1930sYouth work develops with many different programs: Canadian Girls in Training, which had begun in 1915; Trail Rangers for boys 12 to 14; Tuxis Boys for 15 and up; and Older Boys Parliament.

1930-324th General Council, London, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. Edmund H. Oliver.

1930Union with the Synod of The Wesleyan Methodist Church of Bermuda made it a presbytery of Maritime Conference.

1932-345th General Council, Hamilton, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. T. Albert Moore.

1934Fellowship for a Christian Social Order (FCSO) is founded in Kingston, Ontario, as a "an association of Christians whose religious convictions led them to the belief that the capitalist economic system is fundamentally at variance with Christian principles; and who regard the creation of a new social order to be essential to the realization of the Kingdom of God."

1935"On this its Tenth Anniversary, The United Church of Canada reaffirms before the world its faith in the ideals and principles which brought it into being. In the light of ten years' experience it has found these ideals to be eminently practicable in their out-working, and in the quest of them its members have found an enriched and deepened fellowship, human and divine. In a renewed conviction of the worth of inclusive Christian fellowship, The United Church of Canada enters its second decade, prepared, as the opportunity may offer and as God may direct, to seek with other Christian communions further development of its ideals, whether by increased co-operation, organic union, or otherwise, and so fulfill its purpose of being not merely a united, but a uniting church."

1934-366th General Council, Kingston, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. Richard Roberts.

1936-387th General Council, Ottawa, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. Peter Bryce.

1936

  • The publication of R.B.Y. Scott and Gregory Vlastos, eds., Towards the Christian Revolution.
  • Ordination of the first woman minister in the United Church, the Rev. Lydia Gruchy.
  • Baptists adopt United Church Hymnary with some revisions.
  • Conversations take place among United, Anglican, and Presbyterian churches about a "recovery of fellowship."

1937Baptists appoint a representative to United Church Publishing House to consult on Christian education materials.

1938-40

  • 8th General Council, Toronto, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. John W. Woodside.
  • General Council affirms rights of conscience in war.

1939

  • World War II begins.
  • United Church engages in chaplaincy effort.
  • 65 United Church clergy sign a Witness Against War outlining their pacifist views.

1940s

DateEvent

1940-429th General Council, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Moderator: The Right Rev. Aubrey S. Tuttle.

1940

  • A Statement of Faith is published. By 1950, 75,000 copies are sold.
  • Church retires Depression debt with war loan. "A loan to your country and a gift to your church."

1942-4410th General Council, Belleville, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. John R.P. Sclater.

1942United Church resists pressure to support conscription.

1943Anglicans in Canada mark their jubilee by inviting other denominations to union conversations. The United Church responds with willingness.

1944-46

  • 11th General Council, London, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. Jesse H. Arnup.
  • A commission is appointed on the Christian Marriage and Christian Home.

1944

  • The Catechism is published.
  • United Church Publishing House renews agreement with Toronto Allied Printing Trades Council, allowing all eligible staff to become members of their respective unions.
  • The Canadian Council of Churches is formed with the United Church a member.

1946-4812th General Council, Montreal, Quebec, Moderator: The Right Rev. Thomas W. Jones. A commission is appointed on Canadian Culture.

1946A joint proposal from United and Anglican churches on mutual ministry is issued.

1948-5013th General Council, Vancouver, British Columbia, Moderator: The Right Rev. Willard E. Brewing.

1948

  • World Council of Churches is formed with the United Church a member.
  • Church residential schools begin to close.

1950s

DateEvent

1950-5214th General Council, Toronto, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. Clarence M. Nicholson.

1950Reaffirmation of the 10th Anniversary Declaration on the 25th anniversary of church union.

1952-54

  • 15th General Council, Hamilton, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. Alexander A. Scott.
  • General Council supports medicare and makes a de facto recognition of People's Republic of China.
  • The decision is made to begin a New Curriculum.
  • The Central Archives of the United Church are formally established, housed at Victoria University, Toronto.

1954-5616th General Council, Sackville, New Brunswick, Moderator: The Right Rev. George Dorey.

1955-65Development of New Curriculum by the board of Christian Education (David Forsyth, Alvin Cooper, Frank Fidler) and the Board of Publication (Peter Gordon White, Wilbur K. Howard).

1956-5817th General Council, Windsor, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. James S. Thomson.

1958-60

  • 18th General Council, Ottawa, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. Angus J. MacQueen.
  • United Church queries the Anglican Church on its wish to continue or withdraw its 1943 invitation; decision to continue.

1959General Council Executive approves the New Curriculum theological and educational presuppositions in November.

1960s

DateEvent

1960-62

  • 19th General Council, Edmonton, Alberta, Moderator: The Right Rev. Hugh A. McLeod.
  • Council approves policy that abstinence from alcohol is the "wisest and safest course," but moderate usage is acknowledged. Total abstinence is not a condition of membership.
  • The Rev. Arthur Packman works as padre of the pubs in Toronto. The Rev. Gordon Winch follows.
  • Growth in Understanding, a joint Anglican-United study guide on union, is published.

1962-64

  • 20th General Council, London, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. James R. Mutchmor.
  • The New Curriculum publication program begins with Donald Mathers' book for adults, The Word and the Way, becoming a bestseller.

1962Woman's Association and Woman's Missionary Society join to form United Church Women.

1964A plan of union is proposed jointly by London Conference and the Anglican Diocese of Huron.

1964-66

  • 21st General Council, St. John's, Newfoundland, Moderator: The Right Rev. Ernest M. Howse.
  • Commission on Ministry in the 20th Century appointed in response to growing frustration from congregations, presbyteries, and ministers about the role of ministry.

1965

  • Principles of Union between the United Church and the Anglican Church are published.
  • Pierre Berton's book The Comfortable Pew is published at the request of the Anglican Church of Canada.
  • Why The Sea Is Boiling Hot, a United Church symposium in response to Berton's book, is published.

1966-6822nd General Council, Waterloo, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. Wilfred C. Lockhart.

1966

  • General Council approves Plan of Union with the Canada Conference of The Evangelical United Brethren Church to be effective in 1968.
  • The United Church Renewal Fellowship is founded.
  • For the first time since union, United Church membership drops: a loss of 2,027 members is recorded this year.

1968The Rev. Ray Hord, secretary of Evangelism and Social Service, offers emergency aid to American Vietnam draft dodgers; General Council Executive disassociates itself from the decision but within two years it becomes church policy.

1968-7123rd General Council, Kingston, Ontario, Moderator: Dr. Robert B. McClure.

1968January 1: Union with the Evangelical United Brethren is formalized.

1969The Service Book is published.

1970s

DateEvent

1971-7224th General Council. Niagara Falls, Ontario, Moderator: Right Reverend Arthur B.B. Moore.

1971

  • Plan of Union approved by joint commission (Anglican, United, Disciples of Christ).
  • The Hymn Book is jointly published by the United Church and the Anglican Church.

1972-7425th General Council, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Moderator: The Right Rev. N. Bruce McLeod.

1974-77

  • 26th General Council, Guelph, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. Wilbur K. Howard.
  • Task Force on Ministry concludes that there is one ministry, "the ministry of God himself, into which ministry he calls his whole church (the laity)."

1975

  • Taskforce on the Churches and Corporate Responsibility is founded, followed by the formation of the Conference of Church and Business People.
  • Anglican House of Bishops and National Executive Council declare Plan of Union unacceptable.
  • Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and United churches agree to recognize the validity of Christian baptism in all of these traditions.

1977-80

  • 27th General Council, Calgary, Alberta, Moderator: The Right Rev. George M. Tuttle.
  • A further report on ministry shows increased inclusiveness of lay people in ministry.

1980s

DateEvent

1980-82

  • 28th General Council, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Moderator: The Right Rev. Lois M. Wilson.
  • After reviewing the latest study on ministry, Project: Ministry, a General Council Sessional Committee concludes: "As a church we are still on our journey toward a more complete understanding of ministry."

1982-8429th General Council, Montreal, Quebec, Moderator: The Right Rev. W. Clarke MacDonald.

1982In Lima, Peru, theologians associated with the World Council of Churches issue a joint document of considerable faith consensus, Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, and find agreement to celebrate Lord's Supper together (the Lima Liturgy).

1984-8630th General Council, Morden, Manitoba, Moderator: The Right Rev. Robert F. Smith.

1985Union talks between United Church and Disciples of Christ end.

1986-88

  • 31st General Council, Sudbury, Ontario, Moderator: Dr. Anne M. Squire.
  • General Council ends South African investments.
  • General Council apologizes to Native congregations of the United Church for past denial of Native spirituality.

1988-90

  • 32nd General Council, Victoria, British Columbia, Moderator: The Right Rev. Sang Chul Lee.
  • The All Native Circle Conference is inaugurated.
  • General Council declares that "all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, who profess their faith in Jesus Christ are welcome to be or become members of The United Church of Canada" and that "all members of the United Church are eligible to be considered for ordered ministry."

1990s

DateEvent

1990-9233rd General Council, London Ontario, marks 65 years of the United Church. Moderator: The Right Rev. Walter H. Farquharson.

1992-9434th General Council, Fredericton, New Brunswick elects The Right Rev. Stan McKay, a Native Canadian, as Moderator.

1994-97

  • 35th General Council, Fergus, Ontario celebrates Church Fair Day; Moderator: Dr. Marion Best.
  • In August 1994, the United Church establishes The Healing Fund to help First Nations communities respond to the painful legacy of residential schools.
  • In March 1995, the General Council Office moves from 85 St. Clair Ave. East, Toronto, to rented facilities at 3250 Bloor St. West.
  • The Ethnic Ministries Council is officially inaugurated in June 1996.
  • A new hymn book, Voices United, is published in 1996.

1997-2000

  • 36th General Council in Camrose, Alberta, elects The Right Rev. Bill Phipps as Moderator.
  • In October 1997, comments made by Bill Phipps in conversation with a newspaper editorial board spark a heated national debate over the divinity of Jesus.
  • In October 1998, The United Church of Canada offers an apology to former students of United Church Indian Residential Schools.

2000-2009

DateEvent

2000The United Church of Canada celebrates its 75th Anniversary.

2000-03

  • 37th General Council in Toronto, Ontario elects The Right Rev. Dr. Marion Pardy as Moderator.
  • General Council adopts the anti-racism policy "That All May Be One," recognizing the need for the United Church to address racism both within and outside the church.

2001The General Council Executive authorizes a restructuring of the General Council Office. The work of the five Divisions and the Ethnic Ministries Council is subsequently re-apportioned to 11 "working units."

2002The position of General Council Minister, Racial Justice, is created to assist the church to live out its commitment to becoming an anti-racist church and walking a new path toward reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples.

2003

2004 The United Church's two-year education, advocacy, and fundraising initiative, the Beads of Hope Campaign, draws to a close. This highly successful campaign was launched in December 2002 as an emergency response to the global HIV-AIDS pandemic. In addition to raising awareness and advocating for changes to public policy, over $2.3 million dollars, more than twice the original goal set for the campaign, was raised.

2005

  • The United Church launches an emergency appeal asking its congregations for donations designated for relief and reconstruction following the devastating tsunami that struck Asia and East Africa on December 26, 2004. Over $1.5 million is raised.
  • The United Church urges the Canadian Parliament to vote in favour of same-sex marriage legislation.
  • The United Church welcomes the Agreement in Principle announced by the Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations, which outlines a comprehensive resolution package for former students of Indian Residential Schools.

2006

  • The United Church of Canada agrees to sign the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
  • The 39th General Council meets at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and elects the Right Rev. David Giuliano of Marathon, Ontario, as Moderator.
  • The United Church says no to re-opening the debate over same-sex marriage in the House of Commons and speaks out in defence of the existing legislation.

2007The United Church of Canada launches its United for Peace Campaign. The two-year campaign, which will focus on education, advocacy, and fundraising, set a financial goal of $2 million. Half of the monies raised will be designated to peacebuilding initiatives in Israel and Palestine, and the remainder will be used to support peace projects that are proposed by the United Church's partners in Canada and around the world.

2008

  • To recognize and affirm the work of Aboriginal ministries, the Executive of General Council meeting in Quebec City, forms the Aboriginal Ministries Circle as a separate working unit of the General Council Office.  
  • The Moderator joins Aboriginal and church leaders in a multi-city tour focused on the legacy of residential schools and the work of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
  • The United Church calls for unprecedented public attention on June 11 as Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers Canada's apology to residential school survivors and their families.
  • The United Church launches its own YouTube channel.

2009

  • The 40th General Council meets at the University of British Columbia—Okanagan in Kelowna, and elects Mardi Tindal as Moderator.
  • The 40th General Council also adopts a multi-faceted resolution on the Middle East, two days after it repudiated the "provocative, unbalanced and hurtful" language that had accompanied a few of the proposals it received calling for action on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

2010-2018

2010

  • On January 17, 2010, Moderator Mardi Tindal issues an open letter to Canadians calling on them to consider climate change a crisis of conscience.
  • The United Church launches an emergency appeal designated for earthquake relief and reconstruction in Haiti. More than $3 Million was raised.
  • Flour is collected from all 13 Conferences so congregations can celebrate communion on The United Church of Canada's 85th anniversary by sharing a common loaf.
  • Moderator Mardi Tindal boards the train on the first leg of travelling to all 13 Conferences using as much “green friendly” transportation as possible.

2011

  • The United Church of Canada launches an emergency appeal in response to the famine and drought crisis in East Africa.
  • Moderator Mardi Tindal joins faith leaders from around the world in Durban, South Africa, for the United Nations’ climate change conference, COP17.
  • The United Church releases the results of a recently completed identity survey of its members’ values, attitudes, and characteristics.
  • The Executive of the General Council gave unanimous approval to a motion to keep the General Council Office in Toronto.
  • On September 30, 2011, two entities merged to form a new Aboriginal theological school named the Sandy–Saulteaux Spiritual Centre.

2012

  • United Church Women (UCW) celebrates 50th Anniversary
  • The release of the report of the Working Group of Israel/Palestine Policy is greeted with an unprecedented response – both positive and negative
  • The 41st General Council meets at Carleton University in Ottawa, and elects Rev. Gary Paterson as Moderator.
  • 41st General Council approves changes to the United Church Crest, adding the four “traditional colours” and the phrase “All My Relations” in Mohawk
  • 41st General Council expands the doctrinal statements in the Basis of Union to include the 1940 Statement of Faith, “A New Creed” (1968) and “A Song of Faith” (2006)

2013

  • The United Church marks the 25th anniversary of The United Church of Canada’s landmark 1988 decision declaring that sexual orientation should not be a barrier to becoming a United Church minister.
  • United Church launches the Unsettling Goods: Choose Peace in Palestine and Israel campaign.
  • United Church says a National Inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls is needed.
  • The United Church of Canada’s Toronto-based Archives moves from the General Council Office to the Toronto Christian Resource Centre at 40 Oak Street, Toronto.

2014

  • Moderator Gary Paterson joins other Canadian faith leaders to express deep concern about what is happening to religious minorities in the city of Mosul, Iraq.
  • The United Church of Canada joins 348 global institutional investors in signing an investor statement on climate change ahead of the United Nations’ Climate Summit.
  • United Church expresses deep concern over provisions in the Conservative government’s Bill C-43 that could lead to newly arrived refugees being deprived of social assistance.
  • United Church calls for its members to sign a pledge for medicare.

2015

  • The 42nd General Council meets in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador and elects Rev. Jordan Cantwell as Moderator.
  • The 42nd General Council voted to sell the church’s  investment holdings in the 200 largest fossil fuel companies.
  • Representatives of The United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ (USA) gathered in Niagara Falls, Ontario, to sign a historic Full Communion Agreement.
  • After two years of intensive study and consultation, the Comprehensive Review Task Group released its final report recommending major changes to The United Church of Canada.

2016

2017

  • Former Moderators the Very Rev. Dr. Sang Chul Lee and Dr. Anne Squire died in January and April, respectively.
  • The United Church opts for a balanced, case-by-case approach to medical assistance in dying.
  • The United Church launches an Extreme Hunger Appeal as the humanitarian crisis in Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen reaches grave levels.
  • A special electronic meeting of the 42nd General Council is held on September 30, 2017. Commissioners give strong endorsement to four motions that will prepare the church for the transition to a more streamlined structure, if changes approved at the 42nd General Council in 2015 and endorsed by Conferences and presbyteries by remit are approved by the 43rd General Council in 2018.
  • The General Council Office consolidates its leased office space onto one floor.

2018

  • The 43rd General Council meets in Oshawa, Ontario and elects Rev. Richard Bott as Moderator