Deep Spirituality | Bold Discipleship | Daring Justice

Message from the General Secretary

Michael Blair headshot
Michael Blair, General Secretary

Our ancestors in faith sought to understand who Jesus was and to live faithfully as his disciples. We too seek to enter the story of Jesus in spirit and truth in our own time.

As we stand on the cusp of our church’s Centennial, we hear the call to be deep, bold, and daring in renewing our church for the next 100 years.

The General Council Office’s Strategic Plan is intended to help the church realize our Vision, working closely with regional councils across the country. As the plan unfolds, we are sharing the stories below in the hope that they will engage, inspire, and compel. These stories provide a glimpse into how we are advancing our strategic objectives in the areas of Growth, Justice, Leadership, Common Good, Climate Integrity, and Indigenous Pathways. I invite you to learn more about the plan by going to Our Call and Vision.

To renew our church towards this Vision requires faith and belief, hard work, determination, and dedication. Overall, this year the General Council engaged in over 80 activities in the six strategic areas. We strengthened transparency and accountability, introducing quarterly public reporting. I am grateful that we were able to achieve close to 72% of our planned key results in our very ambitious first year. We continue to learn from the planning process, improving our focus and strengthening our orientation towards results and impact.

Overall, our goal is to collaborate with regions to support communities of faith to thrive through strategies of renewal, creation, and invitation. Our story is of a church formed by the fidelity of its members: imperfect, challenged by aspects of our legacy, but still called to a ministry of transformation and hope. May this plan invigorate that hope as we respond in faith to God’s call in our time. 

Michael signature

Strategic Objectives

Strategic objectives to guide progress towards the Vision were approved by the General Council Executive. They are focused on the ministry of the General Council Office. Each objective forms part of the operational plan, and is broken down further into initiatives and activities that are accountably tracked and evaluated.

You can find the full text of the objectives by going to Our Call and Vision.

An infographic with the strategic plan areas making up a fish shape
Strat Plan Fish - Justice emphasized

Embolden Justice

Informed by those with lived experience, we join with others in the hard work of bringing about racial and Indigenous justice, and 2SLGBTQIA+ rights, including by supporting racialized and Indigenous youth.

The Indigenous and Racialized Youth Gathering, held at the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre near Winnipeg, Manitoba, was an intentional space where young people gather with others who look like them to shed the pressures of expectations and stereotypes.

“Create and sustain a racialized and Indigenous youth program” was one of twenty 2023 activity streams within Justice.

Indigenous and racialized youth hold a banner saying "Search the Landfill" in many languages.
Participants at the 2023 Indigenous and Racialized Youth Gathering hold the banner they made in support of Camp Morgan.
Credit: Joni Shawana
Strat Plan Fish - Leadership emphasized

Invigorate Leadership

As we strive to better reflect the diversity and needs of the country—current and future—we are developing key resources, experimenting with pilot programs, and reimaging training for leaders to enable them to meet new challenges and possibilities.

The 2025 launch of Then Let Us Sing! will make almost all of our current music resources accessible online, along with nearly 200 new songs and hymns—with current interpretation of inclusion, theology, and intercultural sharing.

“Focus worship resources to meeting emerging needs” was one of eighteen 2023 activity streams within Leadership.

A group of Asian descent people singing and raising hands
Credit: Wolf Kutnahorsky | The United Church of Canada
Strategic Plan Fish - Common Good emphasized

Nurture the Common Good

Being a national organization can help benefit communities of faith across the country. Administrative efficiencies, effectiveness, and accountability, including by sharing services, frees up time and resources for ministry.

The UCC Protect United initiative is by far the largest financial commitment of the strategic plan. A $3 million loan funds an insurance program to help participating United Church ministries reduce, then contain, insurance costs. The church provides the start up capital, but also needs to provide more capital for particularly adverse claims results—especially in the early years.

“Implement a self-insurance plan” was one of eighteen 2023 activity streams within Common Good.

Canadian Memorial United Church in full sun
Credit: Maxine Bulloch Photography
Strategic plan fish with climate integrity emphasized

Deepen Climate Integrity

We offer tools and resources for immediate climate action to help communities and individuals live with respect in creation. Building by building, and coast to coast to coast, we are taking responsibility to reduce our emissions.

An affirming church with a progressive congregation, Old Barns United in Lower Truro, Nova Scotia, is more than 100 years old. Funding from the Faithful Footprints program resulted in a significant reduction in the church’s greenhouse gas emissions, saving money, and creating a more comfortable space for the community.

“Improve energy efficiency of faith buildings” was one of eight 2023 activity streams within Climate.

People on roof of Old Barns United installing solar panels
Credit: Bob Francis/Old Barns United Church
Strategic plan fish with growth-emphasized

Growth – Strengthen Invitation

We are renewing existing communities of faith, creating new churches, and supporting bolder invitation. The United Church of Canada is not wrapping up; we are ramping up as we turn towards our next 100 years.

Gallery of Faith is not a traditional church, nor is it an art exhibition. It’s one of The United Church of Canada’s new and emerging communities of faith.

LGBTQIA+ members are warmly welcomed, with queer theologians and scholars contributing insights and perspectives. Online gatherings for worship are inclusive and creative, incorporating elements such as videos, music, and online exhibitions.

“Create new migrant communities” was one of thirteen 2023 activity streams within Growth.

Four young people smiling for a selfie around a table with food
Credit: Michael Lee
Strategic plan fish with Indigenous Pathways-emphasized

Journeying Indigenous Pathways

We recognize and celebrate diverse Indigenous ways of being, knowing, and engaging with theologies and spiritual practices. We are committed to decolonizing church structures, and to partnering with a self-determining Indigenous Church.

The National Indigenous Spiritual Gathering was held July 28–30, 2023, with the theme, “Our Strong Voices.” We give thanks for the opportunity to gather and to give room to many strong voices, including Indigenous young people and Elders.

“Create and develop a self-governing Indigenous Church” was one of six 2023 activity streams within Indigenous Pathways.

Indigenous peoples of many ages on stage at the National Indigenous Spiritual Gathering 2023
Credit: The United Church of Canada


In 2023, the General Council of the United Church dedicated resources (salaries, grants, program, etc.) from the operating budget to the six areas of the Strategic Plan.

In addition to the operating budget, particular areas were supplemented by specialized reserve funds, or fund centres. We are deeply grateful to be able to advance the strategic planning, drawing from Mission and Service contributions, assessment, reserve funds, and other revenues.

By the Numbers in 2023


6 Strategic Objectives


83 Activity Streams


40 Priority Areas
(of the 83 Activity Streams)


72% progress on planned Key Results overall
(Excluding Indigenous Pathways, which reported in a narrative manner)


Climate objective highest at 84.5%


Growth objective lowest at 58%

For more detail, refer to the audited financial statements.

We are deeply grateful to be able to advance the Strategic Plan, drawing from Mission and Service contributions, assessment, reserve funds, and other revenues.

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