United and Uniting: Celebrating 50 Years of Union with the Evangelical United Brethren
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the unification of The United Church of Canada and the Evangelical United Brethren (EUB).
On Wednesday morning, July 25, David Hallman, Katherine Ambrose, and Bruce Seebach presented General Council with the history of the Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) and their experience within the United Church.
At the 22nd General Council in 1966, the proposal to present the union of EUB and the United Church was unanimously approved, and EUB voted in favour of union in 1967. On July 18, 1967, an episcopal declaration was released for the EUB to become part of The United Church of Canada on January 1, 1968, as ecclesiastical and spiritual successor to the Canadian Conference of the Evangelical United Brethren.
The EUB’s 10,000 members and 60 congregations brought their own history, youth programming, Christian education, and mission and outreach to The United Church of Canada.
In 1968 at Zion United Church in Kitchener, ON, members of the EUB and the United Church joined for the official service commemorating the union of their Methodist roots within the Canadian culture.
Gary Hofsetter, who moved the audience through a video about his experience in both the EUB and the United Church, described the “immense emotion” and “overwhelming sense of awe” throughout the service. “The spirit of God was in that building,” said Hofsetter. “You felt part of something bigger than yourself. You felt loved, spirit, embraced.”
The EUB’s mission, outreach, and sharing of the gospel has strengthened The United Church of Canada over the past five decades. To complete the recognition of this momentous anniversary, Ambrose led the plenary in the thanksgiving prayer that was first used 50 years ago at the union, and the gathered Commissioners offered a standing ovation to those EUB members present.