The Rev. Ian J. McCrae – church leader, social activist and committed family man – died in Belton, Missouri on May 12. He was 87 years old.
A native of Toronto, Canada, McCrae dedicated his life to promoting economic and social justice, primarily through 28 years of service with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
During the height of the civil rights struggle of the 1960s, McCrae served as the denomination’s Director of Human Rights. He chaired the racial justice working group of the U. S. National Council of Churches. At one time or another McCrae worked on military draft packets, alternative service, policies on use of lethal force, improving police grievance procedures, meaningful alternatives to incarceration, school desegregation, equal employment, equal housing, legal defense, the Equal Rights Amendment, Brotherhood Week, Martin Luther King Day, reduction of defense spending, and global economic justice.
McCrae was a frequent speaker and writer of articles for Disciples and ecumenical publications. He authored Global Economics: Seeking a Christian Ethic, a Workbook for Beginners in 1993.
McCrae was a graduate of the University of Toronto, the University of Chicago, and Yale University. In 2006, he earned an honorary doctorate from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana, where Disciples have their international headquarters, McCrae received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2007 from the Disciples Divinity House of the University of Chicago, where he attended seminary.
He was the 2009 winner of the Wittkamper Award, the highest honor given by the denomination’s Peace Fellowship.
He is survived by his wife, Cynthia Rice McCrae; five children, Bruce, Doug, Carol, Linda and Maureen; eight grandchildren; and three great grandchildren. He will be remembered for his warm and dry wit, his commitment to social and economic justice, his love of family, his respect for people on all sides of an issue or argument, his love of dialogue and conversation, especially on theological and social issues, his open and questioning mind, and his fairness to all people.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to St. Andrew Christian Church, 13890 W. 127 Street, Olathe, KS 66062 or Global Ministries, PO Box 1986, Indianapolis, IN 46206.
Article submitted by family.