Thursday, July 26, 2012

Book 7 of 2012 The United Church of Canada: A History

I first learned about this book when an announcement about its release came through my e-mail a few months ago.  And at the time I knew I wanted to read it.  A month or so ago I got around to getting it (in e-book form).

IT is a good read.  As a part of my MDiv I took a course in the History and Theology of the United Church.  This would be a good book to be included in the reading list for that course, possibly the best one in years.

The first chapters are a historical sketch of the UCCan, with choices made by the authors to focus on specific issues (otherwise the task would be incredible).  The last section of the book is a series of essays on specific topics.  As one who has followed from a bit of a distance (rarely reading the full reports but staying abreast of what is being discussed at the last few General Council meetings) I found the essay on the theology of ministry in our denomination very eye-opening [I particular found it interesting to learn that until 1966 call forms, which are signed by/on behalf of the congregation, included a promise to be obedient to the clergy person.  Imagine how far such a proposal would get today!]  Given the amount of press the last several meetings of GC have received around the Israel-Palestine question (one that is coming again next month) the chapter on that issue was very helpful.  And Don Schweitzer's concluding essay about the social imaginary of the UCCan in 1925 and now was very well done.  He notes not only that we are lacking a vision but is able to point out WHY we are lacking a sense of vision.

This is a good book to read by UCCan ordered and lay folks alike.  And should end up in congregational libraries!

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