Moderator of the United Church of Canada

The Moderator of the United Church of Canada is the most senior elected official within the United Church of Canada. He or she may be a lay person or a member of the Order of Ministry and is elected to a three-year term by commissioners attending the church's triannual General Council. The current Moderator is the Right Reverend Dr. Richard Bott, who was elected to the office at the 43rd General Council in Oshawa, Ontario in July 2018.[1]


The Moderator's authority exists by his or her ability to influence the direction of the denomination, rather than any sort of direct power to unilaterally enact changes. Duties of the Moderator include:

  • giving Leadership ("especially in spiritual things, quickening in the hearts of the people a sense of God as revealed in Christ, and heartening and strengthening the whole United Church")[2]
  • visiting pastoral charges across the country, "giving sympathetic guidance and counsel giving sympathetic guidance and counsel, and reporting to the General Council and its executive".[2]
  • being the primary spokesperson and representative for the United Church[2]
  • presiding at the meetings of the United Church's highest court, the triannual General Council, and chairing meetings of the General Council's Executive and Sub-Executive.[2]

History of the Office

When the United Church of Canada was founded in 1925, General Councils were biannual, giving each moderator a two-year term of office. (The exception was the first moderator, George C. Pidgeon, who only served for one year.) At the 1994 General Council, the commissioners voted to make General Councils triannual, thus increasing the moderator's term to three years.[3]

Although most moderators have been ordained ministers, this is not a requirement of office, and to date, four moderators have been lay persons. If the moderator is ordained, he or she is styled the "Right Reverend" while in office, and the "Very Reverend" afterwards.

Current and Past Moderators

Term Individual General Council Location
2018 to Present Richard Bott 43rd Oshawa, ON
2015-2018 Jordan Cantwell 42nd Corner Brook, NL
2012-2015 Gary Paterson 41st Ottawa, ON
2009-2012 Mardi Tindal 40th Kelowna, BC
2006-2009 David Giuliano 39th Thunder Bay, ON
2003-2006 Peter Short 38th Wolfville, NS
2000-2003 Marion Pardy 37th Toronto, ON
1997-2000 Bill Phipps 36th Camrose, AB
1994-1997 Marion Best 35th Fergus, ON
1992-1994 Stan McKay 34th Fredericton, NB
1990-1992 Walter H. Farquharson 33rd London, ON
1988-1990 Sang Chul Lee 32nd Victoria, BC
1986-1988 Anne M. Squire 31st Sudbury, ON
1984-1986 Robert F. Smith 30th Morden, MB
1982-1984 W. Clarke MacDonald 29th Montreal, QC
1980-1982 Lois M. Wilson 28th Halifax, NS
1977-1980 George M. Tuttle 27th Calgary, AB
1974-1977 Wilbur K. Howard 26th Guelph, ON
1972-1974 Bruce McLeod 25th Saskatoon, SK
1971-1972 Arthur B. B. Moore 24th Niagara Falls, ON
1968-1971 Robert Baird McClure 23rd Kingston, ON
1966-1968 Wilfred C. Lockhart 22nd Waterloo, ON
1964-1966 Ernest M. Howse 21st St. John's, NL
1962-1964 James R. Mutchmor 20th London, ON
1960-1962 Hugh A. McLeod 19th Edmonton, AB
1958-1960 Angus J. MacQueen 18th Ottawa, ON
1956-1958 James S. Thomson 17th Windsor, ON
1954-1956 George Dorey 16th Sackville, NB
1952-1954 Alexander A. Scott 15th Hamilton, ON
1950-1952 Clarence M. Nicholson 14th Toronto, ON
1948-1950 Willard E. Brewing 13th Vancouver, BC
1946-1948 Thomas W. Jones 12th Montreal, QC
1944-1946 Jesse H. Arnup 11th London, ON
1942-1944 John R. P. Scalter 10th Belleville, ON
1940-1942 Aubrey S. Tuttle 9th Winnipeg, MB
1938-1940 John W. Woodside 8th Toronto, ON
1936-1938 Peter Bryce 7th Ottawa, ON
1934-1936 Richard Roberts 6th Kingston, ON
1932-1934 T. Albert Moore 5th Hamilton, ON
1930-1932 Edmund H. Oliver 4th London, ON
1928-1930 William T. Gunn 3rd Winnipeg, MB
1926-1928 James Endicott 2nd Montreal, QC
1925-1926 George C. Pidgeon 1st Toronto, ON



  1. "GC43 News". Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  2. "The Manual" (PDF). United Church of Canada. 2013. Archived from the original (pdf) on May 11, 2013. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  3. "Overview: Historical Timeline". The United Church of Canada. March 3, 2010. Archived from the original on November 29, 2010. Retrieved March 10, 2010.
  4. "Record of Proceedings of the 42nd General Council, 2015" (PDF). The United Church of Canada. United Church of Canada. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
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