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

1829 

  • Methodist Book and Publishing House is founded in Toronto.

1874

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

1875

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

1884 

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

1885

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

1900-1914

1902 

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

1904-08 

  • Representatives of uniting churches work on Basis of Union.

1906 

  • Several Congregational Churches form the Congregational Union of Canada.

1912 

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

1914 

  • World War I begins and church union efforts subside.

1921-1929

1921 

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

1925 

  • On 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.

1925-26 

  • 1st General Council, Toronto, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. George C. Pidgeon.

1926-28 

  • 2nd General Council, Montreal, Quebec, Moderator: The Right Rev. James Endicott.

1925-29 

  • Congregations, colleges, and offices of the uniting churches merge.

1928-30 

  • 3rd General Council, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Moderator: The Right Rev. William T. Gunn.

1929 

  • The Depression begins.

1930s

1930s 

  • Youth 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.

1930-32 

  • 4th General Council, London, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. Edmund H. Oliver.

1930 

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

1932-34 

  • 5th General Council, Hamilton, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. T. Albert Moore.

1934 

  • Fellowship 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."

1934-36 

  • 6th General Council, Kingston, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. Richard Roberts.

1936-38 

  • 7th 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."

1937 

  • Baptists 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

1940-42 

  • 9th 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."

1942-44 

  • 10th General Council, Belleville, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. John R.P. Sclater.

1942 

  • United Church resists pressure to support conscription.

1943 

  • Anglicans 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.

1946-48 

  • 12th General Council, Montreal, Quebec, Moderator: The Right Rev. Thomas W. Jones. A commission is appointed on Canadian Culture.

1946 

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

1948-50 

  • 13th 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

1950-52 

  • 14th General Council, Toronto, Ontario, Moderator: The Right Rev. Clarence M. Nicholson.

1950 

  • Reaffirmation 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.

1954-55 

  • 16th General Council, Sackville, New Brunswick, Moderator: The Right Rev. George Dorey.

1955-65 

  • Development 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).

1956-58 

  • 17th 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.

1959 

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

1960s

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.

1962 

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

1964 

  • A 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.

1966-68 

  • 22nd 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.

1968 

  • The 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.

1968-71 

  • 23rd General Council, Kingston, Ontario, Moderator: Dr. Robert B. McClure.

1968 

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

1969 

The Service Book is published.

1970s

1971-72 

  • 24th 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.

1972-74 

  • 25th 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

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."

1982-84 

  • 29th General Council, Montreal, Quebec, Moderator: The Right Rev. W. Clarke MacDonald.

1982 

  • In 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).

1984-86 

  • 30th General Council, Morden, Manitoba, Moderator: The Right Rev. Robert F. Smith.

1985 

  • Union 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

1990-92 

  • 33rd General Council, London Ontario, marks 65 years of the United Church. Moderator: The Right Rev. Walter H. Farquharson.

1992-94 

  • 34th 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.

1997-1999

  • 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.

2000s

2000 

  • The 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.

2001 

  • The 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."

2002 

  • The 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.

2007

  • The 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.

2010s

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 church and Affirm United launch Iridesce: The Living Apology Project to help the church discern if and how it might live into a possible apology to the church’s LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people.
  • The United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ USA commit to the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent, which runs 2015–2024.
  • Moderator Jordan Cantwell joins ecumenical leaders in urging the Government of Canada to pass legislation ensuring that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • The 43rd General Council meets in Oshawa, Ontario, and elects the Rev. Richard Bott as Moderator.
  • The 43rd General Council enacts seven remits, including one that establishes a new three-council model that creates 16 new regional councils to replace Conferences and presbyteries.
  • Conference offices and presbyteries close on December 31, 2018.

2019

  • A major restructuring of the church is implemented, including a new funding model that includes pastoral charge assessments, a new Office of Vocation, and a new Candidacy Pathway.
  • The House of Commons unanimously passes amendments to The United Church of Canada Act on April 2.
  • The church confirms that people entering ministry must be in essential agreement with the Statement of Doctrine.
  • The church continues its commitment to seeking reconciliation and a peaceful resolution of the crisis on the Korean peninsula and opposes UN sanctions on North Korea.
  • The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and The United Church of Canada enter into a Full Communion Agreement.
  • In August, Indigenous members establish a National Indigenous Organization—consisting of a National Indigenous Council and a National Elders Council—as a step toward a self-determining Indigenous Church within The United Church of Canada.
  • A United Church delegation attends the UN Climate Negotiations (COP25) in Madrid in December.

2020s

2020

  • The COVID-19 pandemic forces the closure of the General and regional council offices and churches across Canada.
  • Moderator Richard Bott starts offering weekly online Sunday worship as well as weekly sessions with ministry personnel.
  • Communities of faith, camps, and community ministries find amazing ways of reaching people despite physical distancing.
  • Following the horrific death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and widespread Black Lives Matter protests, the proposal “Towards an Anti-Racist Denomination” is referred to the General Council Executive to begin initiatives to rid the church of bias and racism.
  • In October, General Council 43 commissioners vote to become an anti-racist church. An Anti-Racist and Equity Officer staff position is created in the General Council Office. 
  • GC43 commissioners vote to postpone General Council 44 from July 2021 to July 2022 because of concerns around COVID-19. The Moderator and Executive agree to stay on for an additional year.
  • The Rev. Michael Blair is appointed General Secretary after Nora Sanders retires.
  • United Property Resource Corporation is launched to meet the need for professional real estate development and management expertise for communities of faith and non-profits across Canada.
  • The church advocates for a guaranteed livable income in Canada, a need that becomes even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The United Church apologizes for its role in separating mothers and their babies in maternity homes it operated from the end of World War II to 1980.

2021

  • United Church leaders and members are invited to Town Halls hosted by the Moderator to map out a common mission and vision for the church for 2022‒2024.
  • The church launches a COVID-19: Global Response campaign to support communities in the Global South struggling with the effects of the pandemic and to buy vaccines for those communities.
  • In May, the remains of 215 children are found in unmarked graves on the grounds of the former Kamloops Residential School in BC, the first in a number of horrific discoveries. To honour the children who did not return home from its 15 residential schools, the United Church creates the Bringing the Children Home initiative.
  • United Church Publishing House announces the website launch for Then Let Us Sing!, an online music portal that will make all of the United Church’s hymn resources available in one digital location and under one copyright licence.
  • A United Church delegation attends the UN Climate Negotiations (COP26) virtually, and the church signs on to a new Canadian Investor Statement on Climate Change as a member of the Responsible Investment Association, pledging to manage their assets in promoting a transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • In October, General Council 43 adopts the Call and Vision, which reflects what the church aspires to be over a 5- to 10-year span.
  • The church also adopts the 2022‒2025 Strategic Plan of the General Council Office.

2022

  • General Council 44, the first virtual meeting of the council in the church’s history, is held via several sessions between February and August.
  • With a large percentage of Canadians vaccinated against COVID-19, communities of faith and United Church offices gradually open to in-person gatherings.
  • GatheringWorship.ca, an extension of Gathering magazine’s almost 50-year presence, is launched.
  • The United Church condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and launches a major appeal to support Ukrainian refugees.
  • The Very Rev. Bill Phipps, 36th Moderator, 1997‒2000, dies in March.
  • Alberta Billy, the We Wai Kai Elder who demanded that The United Church of Canada apologize for its role in colonization and the loss of Indigenous languages, culture, and spirituality, dies in June.
  • The Rev. Dr. Carmen Lansdowne is elected the 44th Moderator.