Rev. Carmen Lansdowne has been elected as the 44th moderator of The United Church of Canada. Lansdowne is only the second Indigenous person, and the first Indigenous woman, to serve as the church’s spiritual leader. She was also the sole nominee for the position.
“My vision for The United Church of Canada is that together we can work to continue to define who we are,” she said in a vision statement included with the news of her nomination.
“To build new connections and rebuild old ones. To work towards social change that sees a world cared for, and human dignity honoured.”
Lansdowne will replace Rt. Rev. Richard Bott as moderator when she is installed on Aug. 7. Moderators typically serve three-year terms, but Bott led the church for longer than intended as the 2021 General Council meeting was postponed until this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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“I look forward to supporting our new Moderator as she leads the church in this critical time,” Bott said in a press release. “A powerful voice, Moderator-elect Lansdowne will bring lived experience, wisdom, and an abundance of gifts to lead needed transformation in the church and the world.”
The moderator-elect is a member of the Heiltsuk First Nation and currently the executive director of the First United Church Community Ministry Society in Vancouver.
Lansdowne has expressed hope that, under her leadership, the United Church could further reconcile with Indigenous members of the denomination. She has pointed out that the United Church’s landmark apology in 1986 to Indigenous peoples has not been truly accepted.
She also said in an interview earlier this year that she hopes the church can speak out more clearly on economic injustice.
“I think that if the church endorsed raising our voices to reclaim some moral authority around economic systems of injustice in this country, that would go a long way to heal some of the political divides [in this country],” she says.
Emma Prestwich is Broadview’s digital editor.
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