Ordained and diaconal ministers are ordered by the denomination and serve the mission and ministry of the United Church as a whole. Preparation for ordered ministry involves university level theological study and an extensive discernment and assessment process. Ordered ministers maintain the historical connection of the United Church to the church catholic through the faithful witness to the apostolic tradition and the interpretation of a living faith. Ordered ministers carry responsibility as communicators of the tradition enacted in word and sacrament, education and service. They serve as resident theologians, called to bring the church’s theological heritage into the context of God’s mission in the world.
—Statement on Ministry in The United Church of Canada (2012); see full document under Downloads, below

Diaconal Ministers

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

Diaconal ministers are members of the order of ministry who are commissioned to a ministry of education, service, and pastoral care within the holy catholic church through the laying on of hands in worship. Diaconal ministers apply to their Conference for a license to administer the sacraments if it is part of their ministry.

Diakonia means service among others, and first appears in the New Testament (Philippians 1:1 and Timothy 3:8-13). As members of the order of ministry, they are representatives of the whole United Church. There are approximately 300 diaconal ministers in the United Church.

Much 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
  • chaplaincy, e.g., hospital or university

Theological Education

Diaconal ministers complete a community-based program at the Centre for Christian Studies, Winnipeg, including four years of study while serving in a ministry setting.

People preparing for diaconal ministry in a Native Ministry setting can study at the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre, Beausejour, Manitoba, in a five-year study program while serving in a ministry setting.

Ordained Ministers

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

Ordained ministers are members of the order of ministry who are ordained to a ministry of word, sacrament, and pastoral care within the holy catholic church through the laying on of hands in worship. Ordained ministers are granted permission to administer the sacraments at ordination, as it is part of the call to ordained ministry.

As members of the order of ministry they are representatives of the whole United Church. 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
  • chaplaincy, e.g., hospital or university; only ordained ministers can become Canadian Armed Forces chaplains

Theological Education

A Master of Divinity is required for ordained ministers. This degree can be attained at any institution that grants United Church testamur.

People preparing for ministry in a Native Ministry setting can study at the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre in Manitoba, or at the Native Ministries Program, Vancouver School of Theology.