Eldon Hay, the founder of the Amherst/Sackville chapter of PFLAG and a professor emeritus at Mount Allison University, has won a Canadian Society for the Study of Religion book prize.
SACKVILLE, N.B. — Eldon Hay, Mount Allison University professor emeritus of religious studies and founder of the local Sackville/Amherst PFLAG chapter, is the 2014 winner of the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion book prize.
His book, entitled The Covenanters in Canada: Reformed Presbyterianism from 1820 to 2012 examines the relationship between small religious movements and majority culture. The announcement was made at the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion’s annual meeting this spring.
“It’s very gratifying to receive this award from a community of peers,” said Hay. “Scholarly writing is frequently a solitary effort; this award is a warming reminder of a wider community. My Covenanters in Canada attempts a sensitive and nuanced narrative of a dissenting religious minority in a pluralistic society.”
Earlier Hay had written a book about the Covenanters or Reformed Presbyterians in the local region — The Chignecto Covenanters. Covenanter communities and churches were found in Sackville, N.B. and Amherst, among other Maritime venues. In The Covenanters in Canada Hay has expanded the study to the country — this small denomination had roots in Ontario, Quebec and three western provinces; it remains in Ontario and Quebec.
As one reviewer notes, Hay’s latest book is a reflection of his scholarship but also his community involvement — “The motivating force appears to be Hay’s desire to ensure this often overlooked denomination, marginalized even within the Christian community, will receive a measure of recognition and that the misconceptions about them will be removed. While the book is undoubtedly the work of Professor Hay, the scholar, it’s also very much a reflection of Eldon Hay, the inclusive social crusader.”
Hay taught in Mount Allison’s religious studies department for 35 years and also served as a United Church minister, particularly in Jolicure and Point de Bute, N.B.
He was the first president of PFLAG Canada, a support group for parents, families and friends of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, and helped establish several chapters in Atlantic Canada.
In Sackville, in 1997, he was granted the annual Human Rights Award, conferred by the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission. Hay received the Order of Canada in 2004.