Daring to be United

Published February 1, 1999

THIS IS a worthwhile read for anyone, not just members of the United Church. The author shares the journey of the United Church with respect to “The Issue” (her emphasis) – the inclusion of gay and lesbian persons in the life of the church. Through an historical mapping and stories of individuals and communities, she gives an account of a poignant and transforming experience in the life of her church.

The greatest strength of this book is the stories and the people that illuminate the struggle where it really matters, at the grassroots. There is no whitewashing here, the stories are not all successes. We hear the reality of pain and sorrow, but also of joy and great courage.

If there is a weakness, it is in not letting the stories go far enough. I found myself yearning to know the dynamics of how people and communities were healed and transformed. We get hints, such as the importance of hearing stories face-to-face and widespread conversations and consultations, but I would have preferred more specifics about process, and an analysis of how decisions were made to rebuild and heal.

The ultimate testimony of this book is the importance of ordinary people in ordinary communities struggling to be faithful to the Gospel, and the discovery that diverse opinions about how that Gospel should be realized does not mean sacrificing unity.

There are enough gems in the communities and individuals that you meet to make this a helpful book no matter where one is on the spectrum of opinion. This is a good book that with more illumination could have been a great one.

Helena-Rose Houldcroft chaired the General Synod Task Force on Homosexuality and Homosexual Relationships 1993-1995. She is parish priest of St. Philip’s, Regina, and involved in a shared ministry with a Lutheran and United Church.


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