Ask the Nominees: Week 2
Each week leading up to General Council we are asking the nominees for Moderator one question to help everyone get to know each of them a little better. More information about each nominee, their gifts, and their vision for the church can be found on the Moderator Nominees page.
Q: What person in your life has inspired you in your faith?
Posted: June 19, 2012
Rev. Dr. Ross Bartlett
Years ago I had a parishioner named Hal. He was a successful business person, a faithful elder, a choir member, a deputy reeve of the county, and a loving husband, father, and grandfather. When I met him, he had exceeded the predicted time of his death from cancer by about 13 years. He insisted that it was humour and faith that had kept him alive. I’ve never known anyone with a more winsome laugh or infectious sense of humour. His life was a witness to the power to overcome and live to the fullest. I was present when he died as he lived–caught up in the earthy grace of God—and I’ve always remembered his mentoring.
Rev. Arlen John Bonnar
The Rev. Dr. Pierre Goldberger, former principal of United Theological College, Montreal, inspired my faith with his compassion and concern for justice. As a student, during the early 1980s debate around sexual orientation, Pierre stood in front of me to deflect many hurtful arrows; behind me to push me out into the world; next to me to reassure me of my value, gifts, and that while at times he held my hand, Christ Jesus always held the other. Our church is richer for Pierre and other like-minded individuals who continue to inspire the church on a daily basis.
Rev. Sally Boyle
Ohhhh so many! Starting with my grandparents, my paternal grandparents particularly, as we lived on the farm with them. My grandpa was the Sunday school superintendent when I was a child. But the whole community of St. Andrew’s United in Colgate, Saskatchewan, qualifies in a variety of ways. Then, of course, my parents, aunts, uncles, colleagues, friends. But beyond that list I would name Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela.
Rev. Gary V. Clark
Rev. Don Boothroyd for his inviting me as a teen to preach and encouraging me to take the calling to ministry seriously, and Nelly Callopy an 80 year old lay person who showed me how to listen with my heart.
Rev. Jeff Cook
A three-year-old who, immediately after I had baptized her and blessed her with the sign of the cross on her forehead, said in a loud voice, “THANK YOU!”
Rev. David Fines
He was the minister at l’église Saint-Jean in the 80s. His name was Charles Odier. At that time I took distance from the church (my father was a minister himself), and he called me to help him lead a church summer camp. I said: Why not?. And it was the beginning of my journey to ordination.
Rev. Dr. Orville James
Without question, my Dad. Served congregations for 40 years, a ministry steeped in grace, and affirmation to people. After retirement he cared for my Mom for 19 years (invalided by a stroke). He lived a gentle, unshakeable, trusting faith. Lost him earlier this year. I miss him, yet I’m SO grateful.
Mr. Moses Kanhai
My father, the late John Kanhai. A convert to Christianity from Hinduism, my father devoted his life to serving God in our village in Trinidad. He was self-taught but was ahead of his time in matters of faith, social justice, and family life.
Rev. John Lawson
There have been such a "cloud of witnesses" it feels impossible to pick out one. But for my foundational faith and inspiration it would have to be my mother. I can, for example, remember asking her how she chose becoming a doctor and she telling me at some length how she felt God was calling her to that profession. That added a new dimension to my thought of “what I might be when I grow up.” I saw in her a lived and living Faith that continues to bless me today.
Rev. Gary J. Paterson
Who's inspired me?... A cloud of witnesses — Jean Vanier, who embodies the humility of St. Francis; Nelson Mandela, who teaches the power of forgiveness; children, over and over, with their wonder and joy; my spouse, Tim, who introduced me to Process and Creation-Centred theology, and who showed me, in his journey to be ordained as an openly gay man, the power of faith and courage.
Rev. Lisa Potter
My father, Rev. Sam Grandy, had a great impact on my life growing up in Newfoundland. One of his favourite reminders to us was the importance of being educated. For him it provided freedom. He encouraged us always to think outside the box. His ministry was very Jesus-centred. That had a great impact on my spiritual life. My call to ministry came after I heard him preach his last sermon in our home church in Garnish, Newfoundland. It was entitled, “Jesus, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow the Same.” That day he placed his spiritual mantle on my shoulders.
Rev. Dr. Barry K. Pridham
My paternal grandfather, Hudson Pridham, inspired me most as I grew up in Prince Edward Island. A farmer, Granddad taught me to love, respect, and be one with God’s creation. He taught me to pray, the importance of Sabbath, the value of education, and compassion for all people. I watched him act as the local vet for neighbours’ animals, the doctor for those who were sick, and the counseslor for those discouraged. He had no patience with injustice, and often wrote the local paper to plead for right to be done around some issue. He exemplified leadership in the community and church. He was a local school board member, Sunday school superintendent, lay leader, canvasser for a political party—a humble, loving man and an awesome Christian. Grampa, thanks for being one of the saints inspiring me to be a faithful servant of the Lord and cheering me on over the years.
Rev. Paul Reed
Man! Warren Bruleigh once commented, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” I think there is a great deal of truth in that statement.
Rev. Dr. Tom Sherwood
Dave Guinn. He lived next door when I was 14, and he was about a year older. He took me to a Hi-C meeting at the local United Church. Changed my life. The best evangelist in our society is a friend who brings a friend to the right spiritual community.
Rev. Dr. John H. Young
Growing up, my parents, especially my father, who was an active layperson and presbyter. Later, the Rev. Dr. Gordon MacDermid, one of my AST profs. During an off year in my studies, I worked full-time with him in the congregation he also served. Gordon modelled congruence between faith professed and life lived, whether as congregational minister, theology prof, or scholar for the wider church.