College St United belongs to the United Church of Canada. This simple creed (called "A New Creed") has been an affirmation of faith for the United Church since 1968:
We are not alone,we live in God's world.
The crest is the official signature of The United Church of Canada, placed on legal documents, ordination and commissioning certificates, and licences to perform the sacraments. Designed by the Rev. Dr. Victor T. Mooney (a treasurer of the United Church), it was officially adopted in 1944 by the 11th General Council.
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For our church members, this insignia is a spiritual and historic reminder. Its oval shape is derived from the outline of a fish, a symbol of identity by early Christians. The initials of the words "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour" spell the Greek word for fish.
The crest is designed in the form of a St. Andrew's Cross with an insignia in each of the four corners. The "X" at the centre, the first letter of the Greek word for Christ, is a traditional symbol for Christ. In the four corners of the crest are symbols, three of which are particularly associated with the three communions—Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian—that united to form The United Church of Canada in 1925.
The Latin words ut omnes unum sint that surround the symbols on the crest mean That all may be one and are taken from John 17:21. They are a reminder that we are both a "united" and "uniting" church.
In 1980, a French translation of The United Church of Canada—L'Église Unie du Canada—was authorized by General Council to be added to the crest.
In August of 2012, at the 41st General Council, The United Church of Canada acknowledged the presence and spirituality of Aboriginal peoples in the United Church by revising the church’s crest. The crest changes include incorporating the four colours of the Aboriginal medicine wheel (yellow as a symbol of life and Asian people, black as a symbol of the south and dark-skinned people of the world, red as a symbol of the west and Aboriginal peoples, and white as the colour of the north and white-skinned people) and adding the Mohawk phrase “Akwe Nia’Tetewá:neren,” which means “all my relations.”
Like other Christian churches, The United Church of Canada is rooted in God, Jesus, and the Bible. However, the way we understand God, practice our faith, and read the Bible is distinct, just as it is distinct in other denominations of the Christian church.
We have two sacraments, baptism and communion, both of which are open to people of any age. We recognize the sacraments of baptism from other Christian denominations.
The United Church works together with other Christian churches whenever possible, and among people of other religions in Canada and throughout the world, on matters of social justice, peace, and human dignity.
See Overview of Beliefs for more detail.
The community of people who gather together in a church is the congregation.
It is served by a minister who is paid by the congregation and provides leadership, education, and worship. Other staff people, such as music directors, organists, office administrators, caretakers, teachers, and so on are either paid or volunteer.
All staff, including the minister, can be female or male, single or in a committed relationship. The money for the staff salaries and to maintain the church building comes from the weekly giving (offering) of the congregational members. The offering also supports the work of the church around the world through the national Mission and Service Fund.
While the minister and staff may have special roles in the life of a congregation, the members and volunteers are responsible for "running" the church.
Everyone is welcome at The United Church of Canada. We have communities of various cultural backgrounds offering worship in a variety of languages. Some congregations provide bilingual services, while others are unilingual. To find the closest congregation regardless of language, use the Find a Church feature. If you are looking for a francophone or bilingual (French/English) congregation, click here.
Each congregation and its minister shape the Sunday service around the community and its traditions, so there are variations among United Church worship services. Nevertheless, some things tend to be common to most services:
As you can see, there are few “rights and wrongs” about how to behave in a United Church service. The most important thing is being there!
Community and friendship are an important part of church life. Most congregations have activities and events that you can join or participate in that will help you meet people, make friends, and do worthwhile things. Many congregations feature things like
So there are lots of ways to get involved! Maybe you have a unique idea for a project or event that would flourish at your local United Church that they haven't thought of yet. Try it out!
To learn more about The United Church of Canada and its local congregations, you are warmly invited to browse the links on this page and other sections of this website, explore www.wondercafe.ca*, our new online community for discussion of all things spiritual, and of course, to visit a congregation near you. Also, check out Wikipedia* for a comprehensive look at The United Church of Canada from an outsider's point of view.