The June 2010 issue of the United Church of Canada's Observer magazine contained an interview with Lois Wilson, who was Moderator (the national, elected leader) of the United Church 1980-82.
I am disappointed with her remarks.
Lois has a false memory of the so called glory days. She forgets that after the raucous debate we didn't ALL just go out and have coffee together - many folks felt disenfranchised and complained about the manipulation of insiders - to which Lois herself belonged!
Trashing the current leadership is unworthy of one called to be an elder.
Lois also forgets that we (I mean those of us born between 1930 and 1945) inherited a church built by our parents. They endured the depression and WWII and lived the personal value of self-sacrifice - for the future of one's children and for the greater good of the community. It was their willingness to save and pay in full for what they built and purchased - instead of mortgaging onto generations yet to come - that gave us the freedom and wealth to be that wonderful church she remembers.
That brief blip of time following WWII when the middle class had both increasing wealth AND a modest amount of free time was what fed the "success" of the United Church, and also what provided the luxury of the education, travel, time and money it takes for middle class people to take up the hobby of social justice.
Lois is right that the church needs to find a new way of being, but offers no understandings of the current realities of Canadian society, nor of what way of being the church would be sustainable.
The good old days are gone for good - and my generation needs give whole-hearted encouragement - with deeply-felt apologies for the mess we have created - to those who are doing their best to figure out the way forward.