United Church of Canada

The United Church of Canada is the largest Protestant Christian denomination in Canada, and the second largest Canadian Christian denomination after the Roman Catholic Church. The United Church was founded in 1925 as a merger of four Protestant denominations: the Methodist Church of Canada, the Congregational Union of Ontario and Quebec, two-thirds of the congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, and the Association of Local Union Churches, a predominantly prairie-based movement. The Canadian Conference of the Evangelical United Brethren Church joined the United Church of Canada on 1 January 1968.

According to United Church statistics for 2008, there are about 525,000 members and 2.8 million adherents. About 200,000 people attend services in 3,362 pastoral charges on a regular basis. From 1991 to 2001, the number of people claiming an affiliation with the United Church decreased by 8%, the third largest decrease in mainstream Christian denominations in Canada.

In structure, the United Church has a "bottom-up" governance, where the congregation selects its clergy, rather than clergy being appointed by a bishop or other body. The policies of the church are inclusive and liberal: there are no restrictions of gender, sexual orientation or marital status for a person considering entering the ministry; interfaith marriages are recognized; communion is offered to all Christian adults and children, regardless of denomination or age.

Read more about United Church Of Canada:  Governance and Structure, Ministry, Membership, History, Music, Criticism From Outside The Church

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    And hereby hangs a moral highly applicable to our own trustee-ridden universities, if to nothing else. If we really wanted liberty of speech and thought, we could probably get it—Spain fifty years ago certainly had a longer tradition of despotism than has the United States—but do we want it? In these years we will see.
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    Irving Layton (b. 1912)