by The United Church of Canada
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
to a passage as "the Word of God." By this we mean
the writer was inspired by God.
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 adultery.
its stories and teachings the Bible has a mysterious
power to inform our lives.
sacrament 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
Godís love, reminding us of the sacred in life.
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.
symbolic action that signifies the new life God
gives us as we join the church community.
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.
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.
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.
a requirement for God's love. We believe people who
die without baptism are in no way condemned, lost,
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.
Supper, Eucharist, Holy Communionóthese different
terms refer to the same sacrament shared by most
Christian denominations, a symbolic meal.
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 Jesusí
last supper with his followers and of Godís enduring
invites all who seek to love Jesus to share in this
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.
of Canada prides itself on welcoming everyone the
way Jesus did, regardless of age, race, class,
gender, orientation, or physical ability.
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.
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.
celebrates the marriage of
of different religions
people who believe in Jesus Christ and want to live
faithful to his way
governing council of The United Church of
Canadaómakes 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.
fact, all worship services) are performed with the
permission of and under the responsibility of the
local congregationís 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.
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
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
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.
is everywhere around us and, we believe, a great
cause for celebration.
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
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 most vulnerable.
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 normal