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The United Church of Canada

A History

Edited by Don Schweitzer
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Paperback : 9781554585878, 330 pages, November 2011
Hardcover : 9781554583317, 330 pages, November 2011
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781554584192, 330 pages, November 2011
Audiobook : 9781771125284, April 2021
Ebook (PDF) : 9781554583768, 330 pages, November 2011

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Table of contents

Table of Contents for
The United Church of Canada: A History edited by Don Schweitzer




Genealogical Chart of Church Union in Canada | William T. Gunn

Part One: Chronology

1. Unity Among Many: The Formation of The United Church of Canada, 1899–1930 | C. T. McIntire

2. The 1930s | Eleanor J. Stebner

3. The United Church and the Second World War | Ian McKay Manson

4. A Golden Age: The United Church of Canada, 1946–1960 | John H. Young

5. “And Whether Pigs Have Wings”: The United Church in the 1960s | Sandra Beardsall

6. The 1970s: Voices from the Margins | Joan Wyatt

7. 1980s: What Does it Mean to Be The United Church of Canada? Emergent Voices, Self-Critique, and Dissent | Tracy J. Trothen

8. 1990–2003: The Church into the New Millennium | Ross Bartlett

Part II: Thematic Issues

9. Worship on the Way: The Dialectic of United Church Worship | William S. Kervin

10. A Look at Ministry: Diversity and Ambiguity | Charlotte Caron

11. United Church Mission Goals and First Nations Peoples | Alf Dumont and Roger Hutchinson

12. Jews and Palestinians: An Unresolved Conflict in The United Church Mind | Alan Davies

13. Awash in Theology: Issues in Theology in The United Church of Canada | Michael Bourgeois

14. The Changing Social Imaginary of The United Church of Canada | Don Schweitzer

List of Contributors


Contributors’ Bios

Ross Bartlett is an ordained United Church minister and instructor at the Atlantic School of Theology and lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Sandra Beardsall is Professor of Church History and Ecumenics at St. Andrew’s College, Saskatoon.

Michael Bourgeois is Vice-principal and Associate Professor of Theology at Emmanuel College, Toronto, and served as Chair of The United Church of Canada’s Committee on Theology and Faith from 2000 to 2006 during the development of "A Song of Faith. "

Charlotte Caron, a diaconal minister in the United Church, is currently Acting Principal at the Centre for Christian Studies in Winnipeg, and a volunteer with the Stephen Lewis Grandmother-to-Grandmother campaign.

Alan Davies is Emeritus Professor of Religion, Victoria University and University of Toronto.

Alf Dumont was the minister at St. John’s United Church in Alliston (1992–2011) and adjunct staff at Emmanuel College (2005–10). He was the first Director of the Dr. Jessie Saulteaux Resource Centre (1984-88) and the First Speaker (Executive Secretary) of the All Native Circle Conference (1988–92).

Roger Hutchinson is Emeritus Professor of Church and Society at Emmanuel College of Victoria University and the Toronto School of Theology at the University of Toronto.

William S. Kervin is Associate Professor of Public Worship at Emmanuel College of Victoria University and the Toronto School of Theology in the University of Toronto.

Ian McKay Manson is an ordained United Church minister currently working in Toronto. He holds a Th. D. in the History of Christianity from Emmanuel College, Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto.

C. T. McIntire teaches history and religion at the University of Toronto, and is a fellow of Victoria College, Toronto.

Don Schweitzer is McDougald Professor of Theology at St. Andrew’s College, Saskatoon.

Eleanor J. Stebner holds the J. S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities at Simon Fraser University.

Tracy J. Trothen is Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Joan Wyatt is an independent scholar and Th. D. candidate at Emmanuel College, Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto.

John H. Young is Assistant Professor of Practical Studies at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario.


From its inception in the early 1900s, The United Church of Canada set out to become the national church of Canada. This book recounts and analyzes the history of the church of Canada’s largest Protestant denomination and its engagement with issues of social and private morality, evangelistic campaigns, and its response to the restructuring of religion in the 1960s.

A chronological history is followed by chapters on the United Church’s worship, theology, understanding of ministry, relationships with the Canadian Jewish community, Israel, and Palestinians, changing mission goals in relation to First Nations peoples, and changing social imaginary.

The result is an original, accessible, and engaging account of The United Church of Canada’s pilgrimage that will be useful for students, historians, and general readers. From this account there emerges a complex portrait of the United Church as a distinctly Canadian Protestant church shaped by both its Christian faith and its engagement with the changing society of which it is a part.


``The publication of The United Church of Canada should be noted as one of the most significant milestones in the documentation and exploration of the history of Christianity in Canada. This volume not only explores the origins of the unique ecumenical project that is the UCC but, perhaps more importantly, bravely confronts its key movements, conversations, and contributions in the story of Canadian political and religious history. The contributing authors provide the reader with a rich dialectic in perspective, tone, and interpretation that significantly enhances the impact of the volume. Given the importance of The United Church to the discourse of Canadian nation-making, this work is a must-read for those who seek not only to understand the history of Christianity in North America but to engage the conversation of religion and culture, politics and power, meaning-making and societal well-becoming as we reorder our discourse of selfhood in a transnational environment. ''

- Wendy Fletcher, Vancouver School of Theology, author of Like Water on Rock:Gender Integration in Canadian Anglicanism (2002)

``Engaged with the present and looking to the future, The United Church of Canada has paid scant attention to its past, as have most academic historians. But the church, Canada, and the church's role within Canadian society have altered drastically since church union in 1925. Now Don Schweitzer has assembled an excellent group of scholars to tell the story. Readers within the denomination can learn from the past and find resources to develop a vision for the future, while all readers will gain deeper understanding of Canada during the past century. A perceptive and readable study. ''

- Marilyn Färdig Whiteley, author of[ Canadian Methodist Women, 1766–1925: Marys, Marthas, Mothers in Israel] (WLU Press, 2005)

``This is a highly useful and much needed account of the history of the United Church of Canada. A collection of essays contributed by a variety of authors, this volume nevertheless seems like a single-authored book. ... I found this anthology to be highly readable, well-researched and thoughtful. The book provides a useful introduction to the ecclesiastical and, indeed, social, history of twentieth-century Canada. ''

- Valerie Wallace, Ecclesiastical History, Volume 64/3, July 2013

``A book like this only appears once in a generation. Don Schweitzer has masterfully marshalled a cadre of very fine authors to produce an outstanding collection of essays, and it is rightfully being snapped up by scholars, students, ministers, libraries, and lay leaders. This is a vitally important book and succeeds in being both scholarly and accessible to a wide readership. ''

- Mac Watts, Touchstone, Vol. 32, No. 1, February 2014