A rendering shows plans for the Bloor Street United site in Toronto. The General Council office space will go beneath the condominium tower pictured behind the sanctuary. (Photo courtesy of Collecdev).

Topics: September 2023, UCC in Focus | Church News

United Church to share new national office space with Anglicans and Presbyterians

The office merger at a spot in downtown Toronto doesn't mean the churches are uniting, says the denomination's general secretary


When the General Council office moves to downtown Toronto from its current west-end location in early 2026, the Anglican and Presbyterian churches will be taking occupancy along with them.

The United Church of Canada will sign a 15-year lease this summer or fall with Bloor Street United and will sublease space to the Anglican Church of Canada and the Presbyterian Church in Canada.

United Church general secretary Rev. Michael Blair notes that the office merger does not equal church union.

Bloor Street United is redeveloping its property, and the General Council will lease four floors as well as a nearby house, owned by Bloor Street.

The three denominations made the commitment after years of conversations exploring cost-sharing possibilities, joint or shared programming and a smaller collective carbon footprint.

Blair says there will be some cost savings, including sharing IT systems.

“But I think, overwhelmingly, and there is a sense both from the Anglicans and the Presbyterians, that this gives us an opportunity to work together collaboratively in an ecumenical space,” he says.

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The General Council office began seeking proposals for a new location in 2011 to save money. More than a decade later, the plan to move to Bloor Street United still made sense, says Erik Mathiesen, the church’s executive officer of finance. “One of the selection criteria was to be connected with a church and be paying rent to ourselves, as opposed to a commercial entity,” he says.

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As part of Bloor Street United’s redevelopment, a 29-storey condominium tower is currently being constructed above the space designated for the General Council office, says Bloor Street redevelopment committee chair Michael Hilliard. A redesigned sanctuary will be situated at ground level, featuring a higher ceiling and more compact space.

The new facility will also include an assembly hall, a kitchen, staff offices and meeting rooms.

When not in use, these meeting rooms will be available for community rentals.


Avil Beckford is the founder of The Invisible MentorThe Art of Learning Leadership Academy and The One Problem podcast. She’s the author of Leadership Reading: Spilling the Tea on How Top Leaders Read. Beckford lives in Toronto.

This article first appeared in Broadview’s September 2023 issue with the title “National Office to Share Downtown Space with Anglicans, Presbyterians.”

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  • says:

    The United Church of Canada has thrown out the Basis of Union Constitution of 1925. Do you expect the other churches to throw out their constitutions as well?

  • says:

    Financial, environmental, emotional, theological, data, investment, real estate, informational and physical security is at risk in this proposed arrangement. The Executive General Council has not honoured the ancestors or investors of the truth, the way and the life in their daily governance of the United Church of Canada. It is not transparent or accountable to congregants, consequently is not a desirable partner in sharing space. Presbyterians in the church have already contributed time, energy, property, treasures and talents and their Holy Spirits, for the last 100 years. This is not even acknowledged by the General Council of the United Church of Canada.