The United Church of Canada celebrated its 90th anniversary last Wednesday by ringing bells at churches across the country.
The United Church is the largest Protestant Christian denomination in Canada and the second largest Canadian Christian denomination after the Roman Catholic Church.
The United Church was founded in 1925 as a merger of four Protestant denominations with a total combined membership of about 600,000 members – the Methodist Church of Canada, the Congregational Union of Ontario and Quebec, and two-thirds of the congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
The Canadian Conference of the Evangelical United Brethren Church joined the United Church of Canada on Jan. 1, 1968.
The United Church was inaugurated on June 10, 1925 and was the first union of churches in the world to cross historical denominational lines, receiving international acclaim in the process of doing so.
Impetus for the union arose out of the concerns for serving the vast Canadian northwest and in the desire for better overseas missions.
“Whether you’re the only United Church in town with a lone church bell ringing, or in a community where it is possible for many church bells to ring in unison, may we all make a joyful noise unto the Lord,” invited United Church moderator, the Right. Rev. Gary Paterson.
In Salmon Arm, 14 members of First United Church rang the bells joyfully at 1 p.m. June 10 to join the celebration.