From time to time I've joked with colleagues about the eclectic cast of moderator's for the United Church of Canada. Don't get me wrong, during my 37 years in ministry we have been served well by those who've taken on this role with wisdom and grace and a deep commitment to the United Church. I've actually spent some one-on-one time with a few, and was reminded in those conversations that being moderator is a marathon rather than a sprint, and it can be a lonely job in the midst of the crowds.
The good-natured humour has to do with our earnest commitment to diversity in the role. At times it seems that there is a check-list for commissioners to General Council to ensure that certain criteria are met. Hearing about the election debates can be eyebrow raising at times, although deeply gratifying as well.
This week we were informed that former moderator Anne Squire has died at age 96. She was not our highest profile moderator, yet her death notice reminds me that our choices for leadership go far beyond political correctness or "the importance of being earnest." While Anne may have ticked the boxes of female and layperson, she was eminently qualified for spiritual leadership and served with distinction well beyond the two years of her term as moderator.
Thank you Anne Squire for your faithful and courageous leadership and service within our expression of the body of Christ, which is the United Church of Canada.
Please read this:
SQUIRE, Anne Marguerite October 17, 1920 – April 24, 2017
It is with great sadness we announce the death of Anne Squire in her 97th year. She will be deeply missed by her three daughters, Fran (Ken), Lauri, and Marni (Michael) and five grandchildren Caitlin, Matthew, Graeme (Melissa), Meredith, and James. Anne was predeceased six months ago by her dearly loved husband, Bill, with whom she shared a life for 73 years.
Anne was a highly respected educator, writer and social activist whose religious home was the United Church of Canada. She served as Moderator from 1986 to 1988, the first lay woman leader elected to this highest office. Until her death she championed projects that would make the church more radically inclusive, more feminist, more responsive to multi-faith opportunities, and more welcoming to members of the LGBTQ community and lay ministry.
After completing her MA and teaching at Carleton University, Anne participated in work at the national level of the United Church. For the next forty years, she contributed her talents and vision with others, sharing in the work of community organizations such as the Ottawa Carleton Palliative Care Association, the Muslim/ Christian Dialogue group and the Multifaith Housing Initiative. At the centre of her life were her family and friends to whom she was fiercely loyal, and the congregation of Emmanuel United Church.