Reflection by Rev. Diane Rollert, 18 September 2016
I don't know if you ever encountered the Rev. J. McRee Elrod. Everyone knew him as Mac. He was one of those legendary Unitarian ministers — I might even say a legendary character — here in Canada. Mac died this past June at the age of 84.
Mac was born in Georgia, a briar patch kid, he would say. He thanked his mother for not letting his father, a member of the KKK, indoctrinate him as a white southern man. Mac came of age fighting for civil rights, marrying a black woman and being ordained as a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In the 1960s he found his way to Unitarianism and was ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister in 1970. Soon after, he began serving churches in Canada.
Mac and his wife Norma were anti-war activists. They were pioneers in the environmental movement. In the 70s, Mac came out as a gay man and, with time, became an increasingly vocal activist for LGBT rights. He personally paid to finance the Canadian Unitarian Council to act as an intervenor in the 2004 Canadian Supreme Court hearings concerning same-sex marriage. Late in life, Mac was actively working with his son on drug policy reform.