(Valerie was on Sabbatical from June 1st to September 30, 2014 - Read her Sabbatical report here)
My life is Rich and Full! Amen
My understanding of ministry and leadership is that it is God’s!
Frederick Beuchner states, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” I believe that this place, for me, is to a vocation of ordained pastoral ministry within The United Church of Canada – more specifically Woodlawn United Church.
"I am a Maritimer" and in my previous life, I was a registered nurse for twenty-two years. I have moved in excess of thirty three times – living in Lancaster, England and seven provinces. I have been happily married for forty years to Phillip who is also an ordained minister of the United Church of Canada (29 years) and is currently my partner in ministry at Woodlawn United Church. Being in ministry together has been a dream that has come true for us.
We have three adult children. Jeffrey and Jennifer who live in Chilliwack, BC with our beautiful granddaughter Madisyn and grandson Dylan, David and Terilyn who live in Halifax and is the proud father of Lillian (BC with Mom) and baby Liam. Krista and Oliver are living in Halifax and are the proud parents of Gemma. We are enjoying grandparenthood!
I love chocolate (it helps to be related to the Ganongs of the chocolate fame), the sunshine, the wind, thunder and lightning storms, the ocean and the salty air, crocheting, games and talking! I love to laugh and have fun. I am also a certified "CSI Agent from Las Vegas" (my certificate is on my door). I enjoy telling our faith story through monologues and being Sparky the Clown at Pentecost. I find it most rewarding when I am able to weave both the creative and traditional into my ministry and our worship services.
I have always been active in the church and although I was not your typical minister’s wife for 17 years – I was faithful in my duties. In the summer of 2000, I asked the question, “How am I to serve God with the gifts that I have been given?” In the stillness of an almost empty nest – God’s voice and gentle nudges became louder, clearer and more persistent. It was with the words “God being my helper” that I began the long process toward ordination. In 2002, after I received my BA Honours with Distinction in Sociology and Gerontology from St. Thomas University, I moved to Montreal to commence my studies at the United Theological College. I graduated with my BTh from McGill University and my Masters of Divinity in 2006. I was ordained at the Maritime Conference in 2006. I was settled in a small rural church in Richmond, Quebec where I was welcomed and encouraged to begin my formal ministry.
We joined the ministry at Woodlawn United in March 2008 and the years have flown by - filled to the brim with hope, promise and love. We have certainly witnessed the moving of the Holy Spirit both challenging and encouraging us to be disciples of Jesus, growth, loss, transformation and a deepening of faith among our members. I am so excited to be at Woodlawn United Church, in a dynamic ministry team and to be journeying on the path that God is calling us to and to be sharing in God’s ministry with you.
Blessings and God’s peace