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the united church of canada

In 1925, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Congregationalists came together in an amalgamation of denominations that had taken many years to accomplish. One of the greatest challenges was creating a statement of faith that preserved the beliefs of each of the denominations coming into the union but was general enough to hold them together.  In an effort to bring a satisfactory close to the discussions, a Congregationalist rose and introduced the concept of "essential agreement."  If members of the newly formed United Church were only required to pledge themselves to be in essential agreement with the Articles of Faith, the situation would allow for discrepancies in belief to be included within the text of the document.

The implications of the brilliant compromise were not likely forseen. Indeed, over the years, when The United Church of Canada has been challenged to move in the direction of its conscience, that has often been in opposition to at least some of its stated beliefs.  Similarly, the "essential agreement" clause has given the United Church's clergy permission, over the years, to move in more and more progressive directions.

So it is that The United Church of Canada is the denomination to first ordain women, retain divorced clergy on its rolls, defend a woman's right to determine what happens to her body in regard to abortion, and ordain gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals.  Perhaps, in a moment of clarity and courage, it will be the first Christian denomination to publicly acknowledge that the Bible is not the authoritative word of God for all time. It is no wonder it is the denomination in which With or Without God came to be.