Jesus welcomed 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.
Jesus…crossed barriers of race, class, culture, and gender.
He preached and practised unconditional love…
and he commanded his followers to love one another
as he had loved them. (A Song of Faith)
The United Church prides itself on being open and welcoming as Jesus was, regardless of age, race, class, gender, orientation, or physical ability. Children, for example, aren't viewed as adults-in-waiting; they're full and welcome participants at the heart of each congregation, bringing ideas and unique talents that can inspire the entire church.
Indigenous peoples have always been a part of The United Church of Canada. “The Indigenous peoples of the lands that became Canada welcomed those who brought the Christian Gospel,” The United Church Manual tells us, “finding in it a confirmation of their understanding of relationship with the Creator, and in Jesus Christ an inclusiveness that embraced the wider human community.” Yet as Christians, we abused this welcome and imposed our own vision of civilization as a condition of existence and of accepting the gospel. We have since apologized for our part in colonization and “for the pain and suffering that our church’s involvement in Indian Residential Schools has caused.” As part of a long journey toward right relations, in 2012, the ongoing presence and spirituality of Indigenous peoples in the church was recognized by revisions to our crest. It now incorporates the four colours of the Medicine Wheel, and the Kanien'keha (Mohawk) phrase "Akwe Nia'Tetewá:neren," which means "All my relations."
Today, we are challenged by our intercultural vision to go beyond inclusion to a radical welcoming. This vision calls us to renew the ways we worship, live, and work together, with the leadership of people who may previously have been on the margins.
The United Church 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 communities.
For Christians, 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; Indigenous sweat lodge, Muslim mosque, or Jewish synagogue.
In and with God,
we can direct our lives toward right relationship
with each other and with God.
We can discover our place as one strand in the web of life.
We can grow in wisdom and compassion.
We can recognize all people as kin. (A Song of Faith)
We work in partnership 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. Today, difference is everywhere around us and, we believe, a great cause for celebration.