The United Church of Canada has elected the Rev. Dr. Carmen Lansdowne, Kwisa’lakw, 47, as its 44th Moderator. She will be the church’s spiritual leader for the next three years.
Ordained in 2007, the Rev. Dr. Lansdowne is only the second Indigenous person to be elected Moderator, following the Very Rev. Stan McKay, who served as Moderator 1992‒1994. A member of the Heiltsuk First Nation, she was born in Alert Bay, British Columbia, and has been a lifelong member of the United Church. She is committed to an Indigenous way of being in the world.
In articulating her vision for The United Church of Canada, the Rev. Dr. Lansdowne speaks of a church committed: “To build new connections and rebuild old ones. To work towards social change that sees a world cared for, and human dignity honoured. To walk together every day in repentance and reconciliation. To march and fight and change unjust systems together. To pray together. To sing together. To discern together.”
The Rev. Dr. Lansdowne holds a PhD from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. In addition to her theological contributions as a writer and speaker, she has served the church in a variety of roles locally, nationally, and with the World Council of Churches. As Moderator, she will be on leave from her position as Executive Director of First United Church Community Ministry Society, which serves the people of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
General Secretary the Rev. Michael Blair spoke of “great excitement across the church” at the election of the Rev. Dr. Lansdowne, saying, “She embodies the deep spirituality, bold discipleship, and daring justice to which the church aspires.” The Rev. Dr. Lansdowne was uncontested in the Moderator election.
At this moment of transition, the United Church also expresses its sincere gratitude to outgoing Moderator the Right Rev. Dr. Richard Bott, who served the church with grace during an extraordinary and extended period. Of the transition, the Rev. Dr. Bott said: “I look forward to supporting our new Moderator as she leads the church in this critical time. A powerful voice, Moderator-elect Lansdowne will bring lived experience, wisdom, and an abundance of gifts to lead needed transformation in the church and the world.”
Meeting online for the first time in its 97-year history, the church’s General Council 44 will install the new Moderator at its closing worship service on August 7, 2022. This worship service will be livestreamed across the country, with an in-person event held at Canadian Memorial United Church in Vancouver at 1 p.m. PT.
For further information: Aaron Gallegos,.