established by The United Church of Canada
is central to The United Church of Canada. As a source of wisdom,
personal prayer, and devotion, we believe the Bible can bring us closer
to God. It remains one of our best ways of experiencing God's
continuing work of creation and liberation in the world, while offering
us forgiveness, healing, and new life in Jesus.
refer to a passage as "the Word of God." By this we mean the writer was
inspired by God.
Yet we also
know the various books that make up the Bible are the stories of two
ancient communities trying to be faithful to God under difficult
circumstances-ancient Israel and the early Christian movement-and some
of what was experienced and written then doesn't fit with today's
world. We don't condone slavery, for example, or stone those who commit
in its stories and teachings the Bible has a mysterious power to inform
is a symbolic action, or ritual, by which people of faith encounter the
presence and goodness of God. In a sacrament, ordinary things like
water, bread, and wine are used to point us to God and God’s
love, reminding us of the sacred in life.
United Church, we celebrate two sacraments: baptism, the ritual that
formally recognizes we belong to the Christian community, and
communion, a symbolic meal initiated by Jesus. These are of central
importance to our faith.
a symbolic action that signifies the new life God gives us as we join
the church community.
uses water as a symbolic cleansing that signifies the acceptance of new
life within the church family. The sacrament of baptism is the single
rite of initiation into the Christian community, the church.
Church offers baptism to all ages. We believe the gift of God's love
doesn't depend on our ability to understand it, so we baptize people as
infants right up through adulthood.
children, instruction is given to parents or sponsors to equip them for
the child's Christian nurture. During the ceremony, everyone in the
congregation pledges support for the child and his or her parents.
not a requirement for God's love. We believe people who die without
baptism are in no way condemned, lost, or damned.
the United Church is recognized by all denominations of the Christian
church that practise infant baptism. Similarly, if people have already
been baptized in another church, the United Church recognizes their
baptism and welcomes them as Christians.
Lord’s Supper, Eucharist, Holy Communion—these different
terms refer to the same sacrament shared by most Christian
denominations, a symbolic meal.
is celebrated at a table that suggests the dining table in our homes.
At the communion table, we acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the host
and all are guests. The meal uses the symbols of small pieces of bread
and a taste of wine or juice to remind us of Jesus’ last supper
with his followers and of God’s enduring love.
Church invites all who seek to love Jesus to share in this family meal.
welcomed everyone, whether they were poor, rich, or just getting by;
ill or healthy; self-made or educated; popular or a loner; secure or
full of doubts.
Church of Canada prides itself on welcoming everyone the way Jesus did,
regardless of age, race, class, gender, orientation, or physical
works hard to appreciate people of all ages, from grandparents to
newborns. Children aren't viewed as adults-in-waiting, nor are they on
display for the amusement of the adults. They're full and welcome
participants at the heart of each congregation, bringing ideas and
unique talents that can inspire the entire church.
people as unique, loved creations of God and welcome all people to the
full life of Christian community, including marriage. We believe God
intends loving relationships to be faithful, responsible, just,
healing, and sustaining of the couple and those around them, and that
such relationships require preparation and nurture.
Church celebrates the marriage of
previously divorced people
couples of different religions
all people who believe in Jesus Christ and want to live faithful to his
Council—the governing council of The United Church of
Canada—makes some decisions about marriage, and local United
Church congregations make other decisions. This reflects the wisdom
that some decisions are best made as a denomination and others are best
made locally. Our denomination has followed this wisdom since our
founding in 1925.
(in fact, all worship services) are performed with the permission of
and under the responsibility of the local congregation’s church
council. This means that while General Council welcomes same-sex
marriage, it does not make same-sex marriage the norm in congregations.
Congregations develop their own marriage policy and practices.
Church of Canada views the religious practice of all people of goodwill
with respect and gratitude. We believe the Spirit of God is at work in
many different faith communities.
Christians, Jesus is the way we know God. Our understanding is
nonetheless limited by human imagination. God is greater still and
works in our world by a mysterious Spirit that knows no distinction at
the doorway of a Christian chapel; Buddhist, Hindu, or Sikh temple;
Aboriginal sweat lodge, Muslim mosque, or Jewish synagogue.
together with other Christian churches whenever possible, and among
people of other religions in Canada and throughout the world on matters
of justice, peace, and human dignity.
difference is everywhere around us and, we believe, a great cause for
one another was central to Jesus' teachings: Feed the hungry, satisfy
the thirsty, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, care for the sick,
visit those in prison.
we strengthen one another to work, through God's grace, for a better
world. To this end, we cooperate with other churches, faith traditions,
and people of goodwill to eliminate poverty and protect those who are
Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, the United Church works
with 143 churches and organizations we call partners by supporting work
they see as vital to their well-being. This enables us to feed the
hungry, care for the sick, and shelter the homeless far beyond our