Minister's Blog

Jan
25

January 25, 2020

In July, my Uncle Len died. He was my mother's "brother" but he was never formally adopted into the Sullivan family. With Indigenous foster children in the 1950s and 1960s, you didn't worry about thin...
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Dec
17

December 17, 2019

 1 Kings 19:11-12 (KJV)And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the ro...
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Dec
01

November 30, 2019

Recently I've been away from the normal routines of ministry. The first week I was at a week-long meeting of the "Candidacy Board." This is a new body in the United Church that assesses, interviews an...
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Oct
17

October 17, 2019

Psalm 133 (King James Version)Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's...
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Sep
12

September 12, 2019

I don't go to a lot of weddings. Sure, I officiate at a whole whack of 'em, but I try to avoid the receptions etc. First off, most of the weddings I do are for people I don't really know—being a Unite...
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Jul
03

July 3, 2019

Well, it's been a while. A lot has gone on in the life of the ol' revsterWhere do I start—oh yes, at the end. It's always good to start at the ending. I have resigned from a number of committees and b...
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Apr
17

April 18, 2019

I did not grow up in a particularly religious family. We did go to church because, given some 1970s politics, my parents decided that hypocrisy was not conducive to faith. So, I have vague m...
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Feb
16

February 16, 2019

Kwai Nedoba (Hello friends)So, a couple of years ago I found out that I have Indigenous ancestry. And with the help of my Nzazis (mother's brother) I researched it, and made application to the Nulhega...
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Jan
09

January 9, 2019

Whew. Made it through the holidays … like a marathoner at the finish line, or a woman after having given birth: "Made it through." It's funny how we are about "the holidays"—we build up the ...
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Jun
21

June 21, 2018

So things are ramping up. You know how it is—work, friends, hobbies—it's the summer, sure, but you still gotta get things done. I've been watching my wife Karen, who is a vice-principal at a local ele...
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May
10

May 10, 2018

​James 5: 7-12​  Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and th...
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Jan
31

January 31, 2018

I was driving, one evening, to a Lodge meeting—a usual occurrence this year that I'm Grand Chaplain for the Masons in Ontario. To my great surprise, I began crying, just, out of the blue. I wasn't lis...
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Dec
26

December 26, 2017

"Suffer the little children."  At the outset, let me say that I am no "Scrooge"! I love Christmas. I love the lead up to Christmas: the dreary days of November, the lights of Advent, the Chr...
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Dec
17

December 17, 2017

I don't know what happened. Maybe my "heart grew three sizes." Maybe the brainwashing finally kicked in. But the other day, as I was driving from here to there, doing minister stuff: visiting, going t...
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Nov
28

November 28, 2017

Mid-November to mid-December is my favourite time of the year. As the northern world grows darker with the tilt of the earth, we compensate by adding more lights to our life. Evening by evening anothe...
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Apr
01

April 1, 2017

Today is April 1st—yeah, I know, “April Fool’s Day”—and I begin my 15th year as the minister at Hallville, Heckston, Inkerman and South Mountain United Churches. I can’t say that I didn't intend to be here for this long (generally, most ministers in the United Church stay in a pastoral charge for three to five years). I know that I feel called by God to be here and “be” is in the present. I know that I wanted my daughters to grow up in one place and get to be a part of a community, church, school, civic, etc. I know that Karen (my wife) is a teacher, and teachers need to stay in their school board in order to retain their seniority.

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Apr
16

April 16, 2017

The countdown is on. I will beginning my second sabbatical in less than 24 hours.

Now I have to expand on this term “sabbatical.” First, United Church ministers who remain in their pastoral charges more than five years are entitled to a three-month sabbatical (i.e., time away from normal ministry) for every five years they serve in a charge. So, I’ve been in the South Mountain-Hallville Pastoral Charge (SMHPC) for 14 years and about to take my second sabbatical.

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Sep
24

September 24, 2017

There used to be a time when, if you did not like something, if you disagreed with a position taken, if you weren’t a fan of the music being played, you didn’t eat it, you respectfully disagreed and you turned the radio off.

No longer.

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Oct
14

October 14, 2017

On Thanksgiving Monday, a relative emailed a photograph of a postcard my great-grandfather Robert (“Bobby”) Fyfe Easton Paterson received from the young woman Catherine (“Kit”) Hill Cobb who would eventually become his wife. Seeing it confirmed my sense of Scottish heritage. Later in the day, my eldest daughter, Emma, told me she was impressed by the statement in the worship bulletin from Church on Sunday that showed appreciation to the Indigenous People who walked this land before us. I, half-jokingly, reminded her that maybe the Indigenous People who walked this particular land might not be very happy that we, as unofficial members of the Nulhegan band of the Cosook Abenaki were living on their land.

“I don’t choose to identify myself as Indigenous … I’m only an ally,” she said. I was taken aback.

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Oct
24

October 24, 2015

"So Rev, you only work one day a week, eh?”

And that was my father-in-law. It’s a funny calling, being a minister. The majority of those who “see” me during the week end up seeing me on Sunday mornings—at worship. But just as only 10% of an iceberg is visible, and the remaining 90% is hidden beneath the waves – the same generally applies to being a minister.

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