United Church of Canada

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

United Church of Canada

Parallel form(s) of name

  • Église unie du Canada

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

  • Eglise unie du Canada

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence



Constituted in 1925, following the passage of federal legislation dealing with church property rights, the United Church of Canada was initially a union of the Congregational Union of Canada, the Methodist Church (Canada), several Presbyterian communicants, and the local union churches of western Canada (formed in anticipation of the creation of the United Church). The Evangelical United Brethren Church, Canada Conference joined with the United Church effective January 1, 1968. The official French name Église unie du Canada was adopted in September 1968.


Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

The United Church has a council-based administrative structure in which each council (congregational, regional, or denominational) is allocated specific responsibilities. ; the authority of the councils to act independently of the other councils varies depending on the area that is meant to be addressed.

The head of the church is called the Moderator, an elected position (at the General Council) for a term of three years. The responsibilities of the Moderator include: giving leadership to the church, and reaffirm and strengthen people's sense of God; visiting and giving counsel to communities of faith; serving as the primary spokesperson for the United Church; and presiding at meetings of the denominational council.

Until 2019, administration of the church was shared amongst four courts/levels: pastoral charges (which were the primary ministry unit, and were composed of one or more congregations or preaching points); pastoral charges were members of local area presbyteries or districts; presbyteries were gathered into regional conferences; and the General Council (the church's highest legislative court) was elected and met every three years to set overall church direction.

In 2019 the church moved to a three-council model: communities of faith (includes all pastoral charges, congregations, and other groups who gather regularly for worship); regional councils; and a denominational council (still referred to as the General Council).0

The clergy of the United Church are referred to as ministers, and the church provides for both ordered ministry and lay ministry. Ordered ministry includes ordained ministers and diaconal ministers. Lay ministry refers to licensed lay worship leaders, designated lay ministers (DLM), sacraments elders, and congregational designated ministers (CDM).

General context

Relationships area

Access points area

Subject access points

Place access points


Control area

Authority record identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used



Level of detail


Dates of creation, revision and deletion


  • English


  • Latin


This authority description of United Church of Canada contains information from VIAF (Virtual International Authority File) [http://viaf.org/viaf/148348068] which is made available under the ODC Attribution License [http://opendatacommons.org/licenses/by/1.0/].

Maintenance notes

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