Gay man helms Canada’s largest Protestant church

Timothy Kincaid

August 17th, 2012

Ottawa Citizen:

In a historic vote, the United Church of Canada has elected its first openly gay moderator.

After six ballots and nearly eight hours of voting at the Church’s 41st general council in Ottawa on Thursday, Rev. Gary Paterson emerged from a record field of 15 candidates to win the top job at Canada’s largest Protestant church. He is thought to be the first openly gay person to head any mainstream Christian de-nomination.

Priya Lynn

August 17th, 2012

O Canada

Our home and (not so) native land…


August 17th, 2012


The United Church of Canada was formed at the same time that the United Church of America was being formed. Then conservatives in the Methodist and Presbyterian churches revolted and pulled out of the Union leaving four remaining denominations to form the United Church of Christ.

This explains why the UCC (Canada) and the UCC of America are so much alike in their progressive, pro-gay stances.


August 17th, 2012

@TampaZeke. Please cite a source for any attempt to form a “United Church of America.”

I am a United Church of Christ minister and I know my church’s history. I have never heard of a “United Church of America” effort.

I agree that the UCofCanada and the UCC in the USA are quite similar in culture and theology.


August 17th, 2012


Methinks TampaZeke doth protest too much and doth google too little.


August 18th, 2012

I got the information in a “History of the UCC” workshop at the 2007 General Synod and 50th Anniversary of the the UCC in Hartford, CT where I was a delegate. I was also a Moderator for four years. I assumed that the information was accurate, considering the source. Because of that I never thought to Google it. If I provided misinformation I did so honestly.

Tex, what pray tell was I “protesting”? I was making a supportive comment about my former Church. Don’t be an ass!

I’m going to continue pursuing an answer because I still believe it is true that a number of American denominations were coming together to form a UCA around the same time the same thing was being done in Canada. That was certainly what we were told in the OFFICIAL workshop. I’ll report back if I find out more.


August 18th, 2012

I earned an MAR at a UCC seminary during the 1980’s (2 year degree in 10 years of evening classes) and never heard any student or professor mention anything about a possible United Church of America. The UCC was formed in 1957 by a merger of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches, both of which had been themselves formed of mergers less than 30 years before.

A decade later (1968) the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged to form the United Methodist Church. I was a member of a Methodist Church from 1966 to 1969, and again, I don’t recall any mention of former merger talks with any denomination other than the EUB.

Perhaps what TampaZeke is referring to is the Consultation on Church Union, which started in either 1960 or 1962, depending on source, and involved at one time or another at least a dozen mainline Protestant denominations. After 40 years of discussion, and no resulting union (human sexuality was certainly one of the sticking points, but not the only one), COCU dissolved itself in 2002 and became Churches Uniting in Christ. CUIC is a “covenant relationship” rather than a union, and includes the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church USA.

It should also be noted that there are conservative variants of all three denominations which either never joined the mergers or have since withdrawn. For example, the Presbyterian Church in America is far more conservative and fundamentalist than is the PCUSA.

Mark F.

August 20th, 2012

Presbyterians (and members of so-called “reform” churches) believe people are predestined to go to heaven or hell, a pretty disturbing doctrine in my view.

As with all liberal churches, the watered down doctrines of the UCC actually lead people to leave the church as there is no longer a reason to belong to one particular church when it doesn’t really mattter what you believe.

Priya Lynn

August 20th, 2012

“As with all liberal churches, the watered down doctrines of the UCC actually lead people to leave the church as there is no longer a reason to belong to one particular church when it doesn’t really mattter what you believe.”.

I don’t buy that. Its true that people are leaving churches in general, but for every person that leaves the UCC because it doesn’t matter what you believe there’s another that joins because it doesn’t matter what you believe.

Timothy Kincaid

August 20th, 2012

I think I agree Priya Lynn on that. From what I read, the “liberals down, conservatives up” meme doesn’t hold true when you actually look at attendance numbers. They are all down.

Mark F.

August 22nd, 2012

Yes, just about all churches are losing members. Religion is on the decline in general.

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