James Endicott (church leader)

The Very Reverend
James Endicott
2nd Moderator of the United Church of Canada
Church United Church of Canada
In office 1926–1928
Predecessor George C. Pidgeon
Successor William T. Gunn
Ordination 1893
Personal details
Born 8 May 1865
Devon, England
Died March 9, 1954(1954-03-09) (aged 88)
Toronto, Ontario

James Endicott (May 8, 1865 – March 9, 1954) was a Canadian church leader, missionary and administrator. He was born in Devon, England and came to Canada at the age of 17. He studied at Wesley College in Winnipeg, Manitoba and was ordained as a Methodist minister in 1893.[1] He was elected Moderator of the United Church of Canada by the 2nd General Council in Montreal, Quebec in 1926.[2]


Endicott emigrated from England with his family at the age of seventeen and grew up in a farming community on the Canadian Prairies. He studied at Wesley College and was ordained a minister in 1893. He and his wife moved to Chengtu, Sichuan Province, China in the spring of 1894 as missionaries and were integral to the development of the Methodist mission already in place there. Endicott was very influenced by the social gospel movement and was greatly impacted by the plight of the poor and oppressed he encountered while in China.[3] The Endicotts and their five children returned to Canada in 1910 due to the poor health of their youngest daughter and settled in Toronto where James Endicott became General Secretary of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Methodist Church of Canada in 1913. He continued in this position after union with the United Church of Canada until his retirement in 1937.[1]

Endicott was a leading figure in efforts to merge the Methodist, Congregationalist and Presbyterian churches leading to the creation of the United Church of Canada in 1925. He served as Moderator of the United Church of Canada from 1926 to 1928. He was recommended highly to this position by his predecessor George C. Pidgeon because of his dedication to and enthusiasm for missionary work.[3] He also served as head of the Foreign Missions Board of the United Church from its founding until his retirement in 1937 and remained a leading figure in the denomination until the end of his life.[1]

His son, James Gareth Endicott, was also a minister and missionary in China and was close friends with Lester B. Pearson.[3]


  1. 1 2 3 Semple, Neil. "James Endicott". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Retrieved 2015-08-19.
  2. "Historical Timeline: 1921-29". The United Church of Canada. United Church of Canada. Retrieved 2015-08-19.
  3. 1 2 3 Takashima, Sachyo. "Dreams for Missionaries, Realities for Diplomats: Why the United Church of Canada's Chinese Missionaries were involved in Politics during the 1940s and 1950s". Historical Papers 2001: Canadian Society of Church History: 65–80. Retrieved 2015-08-19.
Religious titles
Preceded by
George C. Pidgeon
Moderator of the United Church of Canada
Succeeded by
William T. Gunn
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