150+ Canadians Day 70: Lois Wilson

Image: United Church Observer

Reverend Dr. Lois Wilson has contributed to peace through her global work for the protection and promotion of human rights. #Canada150

The Very Reverend, The Honourable Dr. Lois Wilson was ordained a United Church minister in 1965, and became the first woman Moderator of the United Church of Canada in 1980.

Dr. Wilson was appointed to the Senate in 1998, and was Canada’s Special Envoy to the Sudan, led Government delegations to China and to North Korea, co-founded the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, and co-chaired the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security for the UN, which brought together NGO’s, Governments and Parliamentarians around Resolution 1325 for gender equality. Dr. Wilson has served on international monitoring teams for elections in a number of countries.

As President of both the Canadian and World Council of Churches, Dr. Wilson was an advocate of inter-faith encounters within Canada, and visited partner churches in Asia, Latin America, India and Africa. She has been a leading advocate of international human rights, serving as the chair of the Board of Rights and Democracy and as a Member of the Refugee Status Advisory Committee.

She is the author of 9 books including, Turning the World Upside Down: A Memoir (Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 1989) and I Want to Be in That Number – Cool Saints I Have Known (Toronto: self-published, 2014). She also wrote the first chapter of Transforming the Faiths of our Fathers: Women who Changed American Religion (2004), edited by Ann Braude.

Dr. Wilson’s work has been recognized in a number of ways, including:

  • a Member of the Order of Ontario
  • made an Officer of the Order of Canada, later promoted to the top rank of Companion
  • first woman to be President of the Canadian Council of Churches
  • the first Canadian to be the President of the World Council of Churches
  • awarded the World Federalist Peace Prize
  • awarded the U.N. (Canada) Pearson Peace Medal

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