The newly elected moderator of the United Church of Canada has articulated a progressive vision for the religious organization over her three-year term.
Rev. Carmen Lansdowne, Kwisa'lakw, 47, has become the second Indigenous person to rise to this position.
She's a member of the Heiltsuk First Nation and was born in Alert Bay. Her most recent position has been as executive director of the First United Church Community Ministry Society, which is active in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
Lansdowne outlined her goals for the church in this way:
“To build new connections and rebuild old ones. To work towards social change that sees a world cared for, and human dignity honoured. To walk together every day in repentance and reconciliation. To march and fight and change unjust systems together. To pray together. To sing together. To discern together.”
She has a PhD from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.
The first Indigenous moderator of the church was the Very Rev. Stan McKay from 1992 to 1994.
Lansdowne was the only candidate in this year's election for moderator.
"She embodies the deep spirituality, bold discipleship, and daring justice to which the church aspires,” said United Church of Canada general secretary Rev. Michael Blair.