So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
—Ephesians 4:11‒13 (New International Version)

(Ordered Ministers) are ordained and commissioned to the ministry of The United Church of Canada within the holy catholic church. Consistent with the historical traditions of the church, in the United Church, ordination and commissioning take place through the laying on of hands and once enacted, are not re-enacted.”
—Statement on Ministry in The United Church of Canada (2012); see full document under Downloads, below

Ordered Ministers are accountable to the Office of Vocation and complete the Candidacy Pathway to be accredited.

Diaconal Ministers

The greatest part of ministry is the people with whom I celebrate and lament.
—Carolyn Wilson Wynne, Diaconal Minister

Diaconal ministers serve in all aspects of ministry and are formally called to education, service, social justice, and pastoral care. Diaconal ministry, rooted in the tradition and history of the diakonia (which means service in Greek) “encourages a growing faith, speaks truth to power, seeks mutual empowerment, proclaims prophetic hope, nurtures life-giving community, fosters peaceful, right relationships within the church of the whole creation…” (quoting Diakonia of The United Church Statement of Vision). There are approximately 300 diaconal ministers in the United Church.

More information can be found on the website of Diakonia of The United Church of Canada, an association of practitioners of diaconal ministry.

Types of Jobs a Diaconal Minister Might Do

Diaconal ministers work in these types of settings:

  • solo or team ministry in congregational ministry
  • community and outreach ministry
  • social justice work
  • administration and governance positions
  • education centres and theological schools
  • chaplaincy, e.g., hospital or university

Theological Education

People preparing for diaconal ministry must complete the required program of study as laid out in the Candidacy Pathway Policy in the section “Formation for Ministry.” The Centre for Christian Studies in Winnipeg offers a four-year Diploma in Diaconal Ministries that is an intensive community-based program designed to meet the requirements of The United Church of Canada for commissioning to diaconal ministry.

People preparing for diaconal ministry in a Native Ministry setting complete the diploma in Indigenous ministries at the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre, Beausejour, Manitoba, in a five-year program that includes attending learning circles and serving in a ministry setting.

Ordained Ministers

It takes guts and a lot of faith to pursue a career in ministry today…
—Catherine Elsdon, Ordained Minister

Ordained ministers serve in all aspects of ministry and are formally called to word, sacrament, and pastoral care. This involves presiding in worship and sacrament, nurturing and strengthening the beloved community of God, making the wisdom of the ages relevant for today, and being representatives of Christ in the world in seeking justice and wholeness for all creation. There are approximately 3,500 ordained ministers in the United Church. 

Types of Jobs an Ordained Minister Might Do

Ordained ministers work in these types of settings:

  • solo or team ministry in congregational ministry
  • community and outreach ministry
  • social justice work
  • administration and governance positions
  • education centres and theological schools
  • chaplaincy, e.g., hospital or university; only ordained ministers can become Canadian Armed Forces chaplains

Theological Education

People preparing for ordained ministry must complete the required program of study as laid out in the Candidacy Pathway Policy in the section “Formation for Ministry.” 

This includes theological education at a United Church theological school. Please see the Candidacy Pathway Roadmap, in the section “Discern Your Educational Path,” for a list of these schools and their programs that are designed to prepare people for ministry in the United Church. The education program for ordained ministry may be a residential campus-based model or a ministry-based program that is completed while serving in a ministry position.