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Man Alive: Bruce McLeod

It was religious programming that didn't preach. When Man Alive debuted on Sunday afternoons in 1967, its non-denominational, magazine-style approach differed from any other religion-based program in CBC history. After two seasons, the CBC-TV program moved to a weeknight, becoming North America's only prime time program focusing on religious issues. Over the years, Man Alive featured an eclectic range of topics — from marriage, to apartheid, to UFOs. Roy Bonisteel was host from 1967 until he retired in 1989, after which hosts included Peter Downie, Arthur Kent and R.H. Thompson, who hosted until the program's end in 2000.

Bruce McLeod is "a relaxed, informal man who plays a mean honky-tonk piano." He's also the new moderator for the United Church of Canada. It's a job that used to be very solemn and traditional, but 44-year-old McLeod is changing all that with his new ideas and fresh approach. In this 1973 episode of Man Alive, host Roy Bonisteel and McLeod stroll through Toronto chatting about the church's role in a skyscraper society, and discuss the importance of family life while having dinner with McLeod's family.
 • Bruce McLeod was moderator of the United Church of Canada from 1972 to 1974. The moderator is basically the leader of the Church, but the role has relatively limited power in the United Church because it's a highly decentralized denomination.

• McLeod grew up in Toronto, attending Upper Canada College, then the University of Toronto. He did his theological studies at Emmanuel College in Toronto before earning his doctorate from New York's Union Theological Seminary.

• The United Church has long been known as one of the more socially liberal Protestant denominations in Canada. It pushed early on for universal health care, and began ordaining women in 1936 (whereas the Anglican Church didn't ordain a woman until the 1970s.) The United Church is liberal in its views toward contraception, and is pro-choice when it comes to abortion. The church is also quite open to gay and lesbian members and generally supports gay rights and gay marriage. 

Medium: Television
Program: Man Alive
Broadcast Date: April 16, 1973
Guest(s): Bruce McLeod
Host: Roy Bonisteel
Duration: 26:21

Last updated: April 2, 2013

Page consulted on December 5, 2013

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