Religious Societies

Religious Societies

Learn more about religious societies by clicking on one of the links below.

What is a religious society?

A religious society is the incorporated congregation of a church or a religious denomination.

What is the purpose for incorporating a religious society?

A religious society must incorporate in order to own the land its church is built on or the land where its burial grounds are located.  Under the Religious Societies' Land Act, incorporation permits the religious society to up to 320 acres of land. Incorporation also ensures that the land held by the religious society is dealt with in accordance with the wishes of the group. 

How do I incorporate a religious society?

Step 1:  Choose a name.

  • Your organization's name must not be the same as, or similar to, any other religious society, society or corporation's name.
  • The name of your religious society must include a local description, and the distinctive name or designation of the church or religious denomination to which the proposed religious society belongs.
  • The name must also contain a word that indicates it is a religious society, such as church, fellowship, ministry, ministries, assembly, etc. An example of a name containing all the required elements is 'Wildwood United Church'.

Step 2:  Get a NUANS Report.

  • A NUANS report is a comprehensive report containing names of Alberta and federally-incorporated organizations whose names are similar to the proposed name for your religious society.
  • Corporate Registry uses this report to decide whether your group can use the name you have chosen.
  • If you choose to have a name that is similar to another name, you will need to obtain written permission from the other group to use the similar name.

Step 3:  Complete the Declaration of Incorporation/Affidavit of a Religious Society (pdf).  This form contains information about the:

  • Denomination and/or governing body of the congregation
  • Names or positions of the persons who are entitled to vote on church business
  • Names or positions of the officers who may deal with the congregation's property
  • Rules that the officers must follow when dealing with the property of the congregation
  • Quorum at any meeting of the congregation
  • Other rules or provisions
  • Street or mailing address
  • The affidavit must be signed by a person who has personal knowledge of the information provided.

Step 4:  Submit the completed form, affidavit, NUANS report, and incorporation fee to Corporate Registry.  

  • Your information will be examined and, if the requirements are met, a Certificate of Incorporation will be issued.

How can I become an effective officer of a religious society?

  • You can learn more about the ethical and legal responsibilities of serving on a board as well as the roles and responsibilities, committee effectiveness, recruiting and orienting board members, and board/staff relations.  See Alberta Culture's Board Development Program (BDP)
  • The BDP offers hands-on board governance workshops free of charge for nonprofit boards and has a variety of online resources that can be downloaded from its web site at no cost. 


Related services

Beginning January 1, 2013, Corporate Registry can only accept credit cards as payment for transactions when presented in person by the credit card holder. Documents received in the mail after this date that include credit card information will be returned unfiled to the submitter.