Ecumenical Shared Ministries

What is an Ecumenical Shared Ministry?

• It is people worshipping and serving God in a unified way while still maintaining their denominational identity and connections.
• It is any combination of denominations sharing a program, mission, ministry or building.

What do Ecumenical Shared Ministries look like?

Ecumenical shared ministries take many forms. They may be as simple as sharing programs and/or staff. Some congregations may share a building only and otherwise maintain their own denominational ministry and services. Sometimes several denominations may have one ordained minister and alternate the forms of worship of the participating denominations. Sometimes several denominations may have one ordained minister and one common service that meet the needs and requirements of each denomination. Sometimes several denominations share and maintain church buildings in a number of locations and rotate services. 

Over the past 30 years such ministries have become an exciting option in Canada, for a variety of reasons. In some cases, a commitment to an ecumenical model of ministry is the primary motivation for collaboration. In other cases, declining membership and resources move congregations in both rural and urban settings to consider shared or collaborative ministries. Small, isolated, or ecumenically committed congregations from different denominations may choose to worship together so that in this way they may be able to continue as a community of faith in an alternate form. In other cases the formation of a new ministry in a community may prompt those involved to deliberately choose to form a collaborative ministry from the outset.

The Anglican, Evangelical Lutheran, Presbyterian, and United Churches in Canada have formed (as of November, 2006) a national ecumenical shared ministries task force, which will collect and disseminate resources about ecumenical shared ministries.

This webpage is intended as an initial location for compiling some of the resources available about Ecumenical Shared Ministries. As well, we are developing a directory of ecumenical shared ministries. We seek your support in this development, so that we can be as inclusive as possible. Please send us your contact information and a brief description of your shared ministry.

Some existing resources

  • Ecumenical Shared Ministries Handbook (2011 edition)
    Information for congregations interested in becoming ecumenical shared ministries. This Handbook is also for congregations already involved in ecumenical shared ministry who are interested in further growth and development of their relationships with their ecumenical partners. It is prepared by the Ecumenical Shared Ministries Task Group, which has representation from the Anglican Church of Canada, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, United Church of Canada, and the Presbyterian Church in Canada.

    The material used to prepare this ESM Handbook was initially developed by ecumenical shared ministries in northern Alberta and BC, and was reviewed by the Anglican-United Church Dialogue. This material is intended as a resource for those engaged in or contemplating the establishment of an ecumenical shared ministry, and those interested in learning more about the dynamics of ecumenical shared ministries. The guidelines in this handbook are not authoritative, and need to be utilized with reference to the relevant policies, regulations and practices of the participating denominations.
  • Towards greater co-operation in ministry
    A communiqué issued by the church leaders of Saskatchewan in December 1990 encouraging shared ministries. Shared ministry is a distinctive contribution of Canadian churches to ecumenical structures. A shared ministry is normally a congregation in which a single minister is called to serve by two or more denominational bodies. The congregation belongs to each denomination and the minister is responsible to the respective judicatories.
  • That They All May Be One: Building Shared Ministries
    Notes from the 1999 Urban Shared Ministries conference held at Lumsden, Saskatchewan. The notes were prepared by the Rev. Peter Wyatt, who was associate general secretary for theology and ecumenism for the United Church of Canada.


Ecumenical Shared Ministries
Prairie Centre for Ecumenism
600 – 45th Street West, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7L 5W9
Phone: 306-653-1633
Contact: Cathryn Wood, Program Coordinator

The Anglican Church of Canada
80 Hayden Street, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 3G2
Phone: 416-924-9199 Ext. 286
Contact: Eileen Scully,

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
#302 - 393 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 3H6
Phone: 1-888-786-6707
Contact: Paul Gehrs,

The Presbyterian Church of Canada
50 Wynford Drive, Toronto, Ontario M3C 1J7
Phone: 1-800-619-7301
Contact: Ian MacDonald, Canadian Ministries Department,

The United Church of Canada
3250 Bloor Street West, Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario M8X 2Y4
Phone: 416-231-5931 or 1-800-268-3781
Contact: Gail Allan,