Interim data on ministry personnel

Multicoloured silhouettes of people's heads make up an abstract collage.
Credit: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Published On: November 4, 2022

Who are we and who are our church leaders? What identities do our leaders hold?

Leadership Counts―the voluntary identity survey of United Church of Canada ministry personnel and national committee members―asks these questions. Launched in November 2021, this survey invites voluntary responses based on several commitments to equity and self-determination the United Church has made. It also provides opportunities for people to share more about how they name their cultures, languages, genders, orientations, and disabilities.

Based on the data emerging from the survey, staff will explore what barriers exist for full participation in church leadership for people who are Indigenous, racialized, francophone or active in French ministries, Two Spirit or LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, and youth and young adults―and whether those barriers differ based on gender and ministry status, or any other factors. General Council and regional council staff will also be surveyed at a later date.

Some interesting trends have already begun to emerge from the data received! There is much diversity within those who name equity identities, as well as those who do not. We see a variety of ways in which people name their cultural backgrounds, their languages, their language abilities, and how they name their gender and orientation.

Trends among ministry personnel: to date, 1,310 ministry personnel have completed the survey, including people who are candidates, designated lay ministers, diaconal ministers, and ordained ministers. They represent all regional councils and include both active and retired ministry personnel.

Initial results show that these ministry personnel hold a number of identities: Indigenous (2.1 percent), racialized (8.5 percent), francophone (2.4 percent), and Two Spirit or LGBTQIA+ (15.4 percent). Almost 9 percent of respondents have a primary language other than English or French, 14.5 percent have a disability, and 1.6 percent are under the age of 30. Similar to members of national committees, ministry personnel have shared that they speak 42 primary languages other than English or French.

What will happen with the data?

The data received helps us to ask questions. For example, are some identities missing or underrepresented? If so, why? Are there barriers preventing some people from participating fully in these leadership roles in the church?

Asking questions about who are ministry personnel or who is on a committee is just part of the picture. For ministry personnel, the Pastoral Relationships Thriving with Equity Research Project has concluded. It examined not just the identities of ministry personnel but also how they are engaging in their pastoral relationships. A report and related recommendations is currently under consideration for implementation. For committee members, separate but related processes are exploring how people of diverse identities are participating.

How can I participate in the survey or update my data?

If you’re ministry personnel in the United Church, you can log in to and select the new “My Identity Data” tile. From there you can either complete the survey, or update your data any time after you have completed the survey.

What’s next?

To get an even more accurate count, we want to hear from everyone! Everybody counts. An interim report will be generated later this year. If you are ministry personnel or a current member of a national committee and would like to complete your survey, please e-mail .

News Type