I just looked at the website for the United Church of Canada. Now, I was taught and always just assumed they were another denomination of Calvinist/Methodists. They claim to be Christian, yet they have no dogmas, doctrines, or really any beliefs at all! It’s the epitome of “do what you want and God doesn’t care”, also they’ve their own creed. Has anyone here converted FROM the UCC to the one, TRUE Church have any experiences?
I didn’t know Methodists are Calvinists or vice versa.
Methodists aren’t Calvinists.
I’ll hit two birds with a single stone here.
The United Church of Canada was formed from the Methodist Church of Great Britain in Canada (aka the Methodist Church of Canada, but to be specific…), the Congregational Union of Quebec and Ontario, and two-thirds of the Church of Scotland in Canada (what is now the Presbyterian Church).
I have Methodist/Calvinist written as such, because each “parish” in the UCC usually holds to Calvinism, or Methodism
I was raised Anglican, but have family who are members and have attended several United Church services
The United Church of Canada is hard to pin down.
Like many liberal protestant churches they accept quite a degree of difference. As someone already said, they tend to be anti-dogmatic, depending on where you are they can also be quite Christian, or not at all Christian. For example I’ve attended a few services at one of their large parishes in downtown Toronto, where one is generally just fed the NDP party policies with no mention of God, and people talk about how great it is to be gay and how everyone should love them. Meanwhile at services I’ve attended in a medium sized Alberta town, the services are very much what I’d call Christian. Though they are still liberal, they aren’t nearly as much and the focus is still on God.
They won’t like being called “liberal” in Alberta!
Would they even be considered a church? No dogmas? No doctrines? Sounds like pure anarchy to me.
No, they would not be a church anyhow, rather, an “ecclesial community”. Most of the United Churches around here are Methodist-leaning, um, broad-church to put a term to it. All the Church of Scotland stayed with “the Kirk”. But, I am not in any way compelled to visit one of their buildings OR attend any “services”.
Very interesting,but I agree…I have no intentions of visiting one, let alone attend services.
They’re nothing but a social club and, largely, a “spiritual” version of the NDP.
I imagine Knox United in downtown Calgary is one of those ones where you’ll never hear God mentioned.
Never been myself, when I was in university I know they held quite a few concerts there.
I converted from the United Church of Canada. It’s impossible to describe the experience of being a member of the United Church of Canada in just a few sentences. There is a system of beliefs, but as far as I know, no one has ever succeeded in putting it down in writing.
There are definitely precepts - for example, it would be unthinkable to drink or gamble on Church property (this was hard to get used to, coming into the Catholic Church - people drinking alcohol on Church property - I was completely wierded out by that.) There is a definite focus on justice for the poor, as well. The spectrum of beliefs about Jesus range wildly from individual to individual (just as they do in the Catholic Church) but the trained ministry certainly regards Him as God, and tries to lead the people to worship Him.
There are two Sacraments identified - Baptism, and Holy Communion. The elements of Holy Communion are signs that signify the presence of Christ among us, and there is a definite sense that Christ’s presence during Holy Communion is different than His presence at other times, such as during prayer - but there is no notion of transubstantiation or Real Presence as in the Catholic Church.
Water alone, together with the words, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (or words to that effect … it is fashionable to make substitutions to the words of Baptism, unfortunately) are the elements of the Sacrament of Baptism. No oil or salt are used. Sometimes the baby is given a candle, but this is considered “innovative” and very “untraditional.”
The services are not all that exciting - they typically follow the pattern of the Divine Office of Readings, and are just as deadly dull, except for the music, which is usually quite good.
They sound somewhat like UUs, aside from the focus on Christianity.
People need not have a dogma to have faith or belief.
They aren’t that much different, but there are still Christians among them.
HEY, Knox is where I grew up, and learned most of what I know about God!
And yes - it’s a great venue for concerts, especially with the Cassavant organ, and because it was properly designed for good acoustics, since it was built before the invention of microphones.
From your description it sounds more conservative than I thought.
You would be quite amazed at who the most conservative members are, when it comes to theology and music.
I’m actually very glad to hear that.
Some of the scandals they’ve had, and my experience in Toronto has made me quite weary of any United Church parish in a major city.
I converted from the UCCan to the Catholic Church about five years ago. I had been discerning between a calling to the Catholic church and a call to ordained ministry in the UCCan for several years. I was visiting the church I grew up in (where I was baptized and married), on an Easter Sunday when I finally received my answer and became a Catholic the following Easter Vigil. I still work at a UCCan as a choir director, and my husband is a UCCan member.
To say that the UCC has no dogma, doctrine of beliefs is wrong. **The Basis of Union is the formal church document (and an act of Parliament in Canada!) that outlines the church’s doctrine, policy and mission. It remains officially unchanged since 1925, although there is currently a remit taking place that could add three documents to it that would dramatically dilute its theological basis. Clergy, when being ordained, must swear that they are in “essential agreement” with this document.
“A New Creed” is one of these three documents (and by no means the least offensive of the three). It was never intended to replace the Nicean or Apostle’s Creed. The congregation I work in uses the Apostle’s Creed more often than any other, but the congregation I grew up in used A New Creed almost exclusively.
Many congregations in the UCCan have been infected with the “progressive” Christianity movement which dilutes our faith almost to the point of Unitarianism. Other UCCan congregations or groups tend to be “inclusive” to the point of excluding orthordox Christian beliefs. Others still are more traditional in theology and have generally orthodox mainstream Protestant beliefs. I can worship with them (except participating in their sacraments!) without finding offense.
The UCCan has a long history of active social justice work on a locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. They have done some amazing work, both hands-on and as advocates and lobbyists. They are by no means perfect, though, and they were one of three national churches (the Anglican and Catholic churches being the other two) that ran the Canadian Indian residential school system - a system that is now widely recognized as having been cultural genocide. The UCCan (and the Anglican and Catholic churches) has struggled to reconcile with and help First Nations people who have suffered greatly as a result of this sick and twisted system.
Part of the UCCan’s social justice work has been aimed at including people of all sexual orientation into all parts of their church life. This includes the ordination of openly homosexual people. Some congregations also perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. Some congregations have formalized their commitment to inclusivity by becoming an “Affirming Congregation”. The UCCan also openly advocates for a “woman’s right to choose” (ie: pro-abortion).
In addition to their work for social justice, UCCan congregations do some things amazingly well. I have not been able to integrate myself into my local parish because the music and fellowship are so strange to me. I’ve yet to attend an uninviting or unwelcoming UCCan congregation or event. There is always fellowship time following worship, and most UCCan congregations have volunteers trained to make newcomers or visitors feel welcome. Music is a huge part of worship, and many congregations dedicate a considerable amount of resources (money and volunteer hours) to their music programs.
UCCan congregations donate a great deal of money to the national church’s Mission and Service Fund and also run their own community outreach programs. Their church buildings often serve as meeting places for a wide variety of non-church-related community groups like Girl Guides, Scouts, AA or NA (who like to meet at UCCans because most have a strict no-alcohol-on-site policy due to their Methodist background), dancers, crafters, seniors’ groups, and Young Life. UCCan church sanctuaries are often used for non-church-related music events, too.
I’m a Catholic, and I’m so glad that I have become a Catholic. I’m also glad that I managed to find a UCCan that is so delightfully orthodox that I can continue to work as a church musician (because the Lord knows none of our local parishes pay musicians) and worship with my husband without offense. There are times that I find myself feeling regretful that I can never be an ordained church leader (that call to lead has never really gone away), but I thank God for the path He has put me on, and I pray for the courage to continue on in faithfulness.