A 48-year-old minister who was born in New York to a Methodist mother and Roman Catholic father — and who grew up as an Anglican — is the moderator-elect of The United Church of Canada.
Rev. Jordan Cantwell of Saskatoon was elected from a field of 12 nominees after five rounds of voting at the United Church’s 2015 General Council meeting in Corner Brook, N.L.
Cantwell’s family moved to the Prairies when she was in Grade 2, and she has lived there ever since. Ordained as a United Church minister in 2010, Cantwell is currently the minister of the Delisle-Vanscoy pastoral charge, southeast of Saskatoon. She previously worked as a lay minister doing outreach work at Augustine United in Winnipeg.
The new moderator takes office as the United Church grapples with declining membership and finances. Much of the 42nd General Council has been given over to debate on reforming the way the church is structured and operates, as it looks ahead to a leaner future. In a press conference after her election, Cantwell said one of her challenges will be to accompany the church membership as it responds to the coming changes.
“People will be in all kinds of different places on the journey,” she said. “Some will be in a time of lament. Some will be in a time of panic. Some will be in celebration and excitement. My intention would be to journey with folks where they are and to remind us that the stories of our faith teach us that God is with us on our journey, wherever we are.”
Cantwell is married to Laura Fousche, a diaconal minister at McClure United Church in Saskatoon. Their teenage daughter, Hope, recently graduated from high school.
She will be formally installed as the United Church’s 42nd moderator as the General Council meeting wraps up tomorrow.
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