Professional Development

This is just a space where I’ve got my professional qualifications (lol) listed. These are obviously academic, but also (and more importantly, I might add) experience-based. I’ve also got something listed here about my plans for the future – which are obviously more geared towards education than experience.

So the first thing to be clear about is that I did finish high school. I graduated from Will Sinclair High School, in Rocky Mountain House. If you’re ever through Rocky, you’ll note that this school doesn’t exist. In fact, the high school has been bull-dozed, and a new one built. Currently there is a Shopper’s Drug Mart, a Subway, and various other businesses sitting on the site where it was. Oh, and I did complete French 30 (Grade 12 French), but I don’t actually know French (at this point) to any extent worth noting – though there will be more on this shortly.

I worked on my Bachelor’s degree in Thunder Bay, at Lakehead University. I studied Music for two years, piano being my primary instrument. I never actually did the Royal Conservatory exams past grade 6, but I played around a grade 9 level. I really enjoyed my time in music, and if I have any regrets about my education, they’re probably mostly centred around not applying myself more at this. I could have been (still could be?) a pretty good piano player if I would have put myself into it more. At any rate, even after I switched my major to philosophy for the final two years of my studies there, I took some music courses. I even have a recording of a piece I composed and had performed for me by some of my old classmates.

I switched to philosophy, and was able to graduate with my bachelor’s degree, with honours, by the end of my fourth year. Of course, making the switch I already had all of my electives – so they were a couple years of lots of philosophy courses. Many of them were cross-listed as religious studies courses, and I considered doing a double major, but ultimately just went for the honours degree in philosophy and the minor in religious studies. One very interesting religious studies course that I was able to take was Native Narratives, Myths, Legends and Spirituality, and I would like to do more similarly related studies.

I moved on from there to seminary. I attended Wycliffe College, in Toronto. It is a fine institution, located at the heart of the U of T campus; it has a great view (I will concede). Across the street from it lies Trinity College, another Anglican seminary. That building is beautiful (thus, we had a good view). But the relationship of the two seminaries to one another is one thing that preserves them, and preserves them in integrity. For whatever might be levelled by Trinity graduates against Wycliffe, and whatever might be levelled by Wycliffe graduates against Trinity, it is the existence of the other that keeps them each true to their founding principles (or as we Wycliffe grads say, keeps Trinity true to its lack of principles – in jest, of course).

After graduating from Wycliffe, and about a year after arriving in Unity, I took up studying towards a Master of Sacred Theology degree in New Testament Studies from Emmanuel and St. Chad in Saskatoon. I finished this in about 5 years – it turns out that it’s difficult to study part-time while working full-time, and difficult to get a degree’s worth of courses in when they’re not offered at the times that are most appropriate for one particular student. I plan to one day take up some more studies in a more practical vein. That might end up taking the form of a Doctor of Ministry degree one day; it may end up looking like a Master of Counselling degree; or Marriage and Family Counselling; or even a bachelor’s degree in Sociology (a very interesting field of study, I think). Why and how? Well, I’m required by my employer to continue upgrading my education – and there is money available for me to do so.

Now, on a more experience-based level… what have I done? I mean, I’m only 31. What could I have done?

My first delving into responsible leadership in a church was musical. When I was in high school, a few friends and I had a band. We led music at a couple youth worship-type services. In Thunder Bay, something similar happened. Music ministry was actually one of my primary ministries for a number of years. I helped lead music with the Diocese of Algoma Challenge movement (which is a youth version of Cursillo), I helped lead music with that same diocese’s diocesan summer camp. Even at Wycliffe I led some music at different times – usually just in late night worship sessions in the chapel with friends.

Youth ministry was the second area that I got involved in, with relation to responsible ministry – though how responsible I was is debatable (lol), though I was, ultimately, responsible with the ministry God gave me. I led/co-led the youth group at St. Thomas’, Thunder Bay, for three years. One year of that I co-led with a Church Army student, who taught me lots. I was privileged to assist with some diocesan youth functions (mentioned above, with the Diocese of Algoma) during that time, and afterwards while I was in seminary. During my time in Toronto I was able to help with the youth ministry at All Saints’ Anglican Church, Kingsway. I think that in all of these things I was groomed and prepared for what came later, after I was ordained.

Prior to my education at Wycliffe, I was able to serve a three month internship in Sudbury, Ontario, at the Church of the Epiphany under Archdeacon Tom Corston (now bishop of the Diocese of Moosonee). This was probably the most influential internship I served – which is probably the case for all people in such situations. It was my first position as a full-time pastor of a church, and so the learning curve was steepest, and so I learned a great deal very quickly – because I had to. The following year I served an internship at the Church of the Ascension in Sudbury and St. John’s, Biscotasing, under Anne Germond. It was a wild experience for me – and there are various things about it that I treasure in my memory. The following year I was able to serve an internship at Christ Church & St. Peter’s, a two-point parish in Sault Ste. Marie, under Earl Burke. I was afforded an opportunity that was both difficult and exciting that summer – visiting all on the parish roll who were not attending.

After I was ordained, then, I served as deacon-in-charge of the Muskoka Lakes parish (Diocese of Algoma) for three and a half months. I was ordained deacon on June 5, 2005 at St. Thomas’, Thunder Bay. It was an interim position, and one that I value for the maturing it forced on me (much needed maturing, too – as I got married shortly after finishing the position, and needed to grow up a little).

From there I went to the Unity Central Parish (Diocese of Saskatoon) for two and a half years. I was deacon-in-charge for a time, but then I was the incumbent priest. I was ordained priest on November 1, 2005 at St. John’s Cathedral, Saskatoon. I had an energetic ministry in Unity, and a very fruitful youth ministry. Our first daughter was born there, six months before we left.

I then spent two years at Holy Trinity, Calgary. I was hired on a three year contract, but due to lack of funds in the pool that covered my stipend I was forced to leave a year early. I served my first year there as a curate (never having had a proper curacy prior in my ordained life), which was a slightly odd arrangement as the incumbent of the parish was on sabbatical for 6 months of that year and I met with a retired bishop as my supervisor for that time. My second year was spent as assistant priest to Stephen Hambidge.

Following my dismissal from Holy Trinity, I spent four months as vicar of St. Mark & St. Philip’s Parish in Marda Loop (Calgary). This was such a blessing for me, and served to help me transition from Holy Trinity to the Swift Current Parish in Saskatchewan (which is where I currently am). I’ve been here for two years, now. Our second daughter was born a few months after arriving, and our third child is on its way (ETA, late July). The Swift Current Parish is a two-point parish (Swift Current and Pennant) which is unlike the parishes I served in the past (they’re each their own can-o-worms, aren’t they?).

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