A Biographical Resume
1980 I worked with elderly chronically and
terminally ill persons as a Home Care attendant for the Manitoba Provincial
Government. This work may be understood as therapeutic. It required intimacy
with individuals affected by various levels of physical and mental
limitation. I was remedially involved in a broad spectrum of human needs.
These include lack of esteem, depression, anxiety, dementia, abuse, and
grief. My involvement was consistently beneficial. This work occupied me for
1986 I studied theology at the University
of Winnipeg. I received the “Charles R. Newcombe Scholarship in Religious
Studies” for 1988. A Bachelor of Arts degree (Religious Studies) was granted
in October of 1990. I also obtained certification in “Volunteer Management”
from the University of Manitoba and completed a seminar, “Strategies for
Social Action”, at the University of Winnipeg.
1991 My partner Barbara and I held our
membership at Immanuel United Church (Winnipeg Presbytery). This
congregation was strongly committed to lay involvement in ministry. I was a
member of the Church board and its Worship Committee. The latter involved me
with planning and implementation of regular Sunday worship in cooperation
with the minister. At Immanuel I had opportunities to preside in worship and
preach in the congregation.
1992 I was authorized by the Selkirk
Presbytery (MNWO conference) to serve a four month term as lay minister with
the Dugald and Anola congregations of the Oakbank pastoral charge. On
completion of the work I accepted a ten month appointment with the
Warren-Meadow Lea pastoral charge. During this time I went through the
process of discernment and was approved as a candidate for ordered ministry.
1993 I began a program of studies to obtain
a Master of Divinity Degree at the Vancouver School of Theology. The
curriculum included three practical experiences in diverse congregational
situations. I was awarded the “Ezra Oosterhost Ethics Prize” in 1996 and
completed my studies in the spring of 1997. I was ordained by the annual
meeting of the MNWO immediately following graduation.
1997 Following ordination I was settled
with the congregation of the Steinbach United Church. This position called
into play my abilities as a visionary leader. The congregation grew in
confidence and numbers during my three year tenure. During this period I
also worked with the Regional Health Authority as a member of an
inter-disciplinary Palliative Care team. In the summer of 2000 I concluded
my work in Steinbach to return to Vancouver where my partner was employed
with the University of British Columbia.
2000 On return to Vancouver I was called to
serve in ministry with the congregation of Grace Memorial United Church.
This work involved me in the day to day activities of a small and aging
congregation. My mandate included development of a community outreach
program. This led me to form working relationships with a variety of
community service organizations and I was involved in the formation of a
Neighbourhood Integrated Service Team. Working in the community I
encountered a variety of systemic social circumstances challenging to the
hope of well-being for all persons. This introduced me to a network of
advocates and change agents working formally and informally to establish
relief and remedy for the increasing number of persons in distress through a
complex of personal and social situations. My work with the congregation
produced a renewed mission. This included a weekly breakfast program for the
homeless and working poor, led by persons new to the congregation working in
partnership with existing members. The food service ministry has expanded to
include a thrift shop. Both remain active to this day, grounded and
sustained by a prayer and study circle that continues to grow in depth and
2004 My partner was appointed to a Canada
Research Chair position with the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.
On arrival I entered into a variety of volunteer relationships including the
local Community Kitchen and Community Health Clinic. In partnership with the
Clinic staff, I developed, promoted and participated in a regional
conference for Health Care and Social Services professionals. My keynote
address to this conference was titled: “Charity and Justice – The Right and
Left Hands of Social Change”. I also worked with the Social Justice
committees of two local United Church congregations. With these committees I
developed an effective and portable workshop to assist congregations seeking
transformation in the hope of effective mission.
2005 I began as a part-time minister with
the Nashwaaksis United Church congregation in Fredericton. After four months
I was called to full time ministry with the congregation. My leadership in
worship and education was effective and the congregation began to move
towards a more clear expression of its mission statement. This involved a
review of council structures and the implementation of a broader
understanding of worship. The liturgy was developed to support and encourage
lay involvement, particularly in the areas of childhood nurture and
education. A second minister was hired to work with me in developing new
curriculum for children and youth, including education and support of
volunteers to deliver programs. As the result of our efforts the
congregation began to grow, as young families took advantage of the various
events and programs oriented to engage their hopes for happy homes and
neighbourhoods. These young families gladly participated in an emerging
worship and learning environment that was creative, vibrant and relevant to
their lived experience in our changing world.
2010 My partner was appointed as Dean of
Nursing at the Thompson Rivers University, in Kamloops BC. There were no
positions open to ordained clergy in the city. I was appointed for a ten
month term with the Ashcroft/Clinton pastoral charge; rural congregations of
the Kamloops Okanagan Presbytery. During this time I worked with Ivy Thomas,
Conference Minister, as she guided a process of Pastoral Charge
reconfiguration. My pastoral support was appreciated and made possible the
resolution of limiting issues. On completion of my term I began a regular
schedule of Sunday supply with five rural congregations within an hour of
Kamloops. My liturgical and pastoral presence was considered encouraging and
challenging without exception. This work occupied only a small portion of my
time and energy. It was rounded out by my involvement with diverse community
groups and organizations oriented to social and economic justice. These
included the Council of Canadians, the Raging Grannies, Mothers for Clean
Air, the Living Library and others. In 2011 and 2012, I hosted Kamloops’
annual Peace Rally. I was welcomed as an informed, supportive and
encouraging presence. In the spring of 2012, I joined with community
partners to host a free weekly soup service at Mount Paul United Church. At
the outset I made myself accountable to the oversight of the congregation’s
minister, Rev. LeAnn Blackert. Working with an energetic team of volunteers,
I served to animate the service team and provide pastoral supports and
encouragements for the community guests. In 2011 I was welcomed on the
campus of Thompson Rivers University as a United Church Chaplain. Working in
association with Christian and Muslim chaplains, I offered spiritual support
to students, faculty and administration. This rounded out my schedule nicely
and I was working as an animating influence in the Church and community for
the equivalent of a full time called position.
2013 My partner retired from her
professional commitments and we decided to return to Winnipeg, which we have
always considered home. The first months were well occupied with settling in
and turning our newly purchased house into a home. As fall approaches I am
beginning the process of seeking a covenanted position with a congregation
in Winnipeg or a rural community within an hour’s commute from Winnipeg. I
offer a creative and energetic presence, with a proven history of effective
engagement of the hopes and aspirations of congregations in rural and urban
settings in Eastern, Western and Central Canada.
Gifts and Abilities
I have experienced a substantial shift in my
liturgical style. It has become clear to me that the inclusion of new
families with young children and teens requires a greater openness to
participation. With this in view I have been using my dramatic and musical
abilities to a larger degree. Though I have always been considered an
exceptional preacher, I have been moving towards a story-telling method
which is open to the dialogical engagement of those who participate. It
seems this will be well-suited to congregations seeking ways and means of
being relevant and effective in their neighbourhoods and communities.
I am a life-long learner with ability to
design, develop and present learning strategies for all levels of interest
and commitment. In recent years I have been moving towards discovering steps
to be taken in the hope of drawing young families into active relationship
with the Church. I understand that the Church consists in a community of
support and encouragement. It offers a remarkable resource for families to
work with others in order to make possible secure and happy homes and
neighbourhoods. I have found short term small group projects to offer a
solid foundation for developing insight and encouragement. To this work I
bring a solid history of positive relationship with persons of all ages.
My basic character disposition is
compassionate concern for persons of the congregation and community. It is
this active expression of care, in and through all my relations, which I
consider to be the foundation of my success in ministry. My method consists
in the identification of key persons who understand and appreciate the lived
experience of persons in and around the congregation. This is supported by
the practice of community presence. I meet persons easily and my influence
is consistently appreciated as supportive and encouraging. These informal
meetings allow me to listen for indications of where formal pastoral care
may be desired or required.
I understand that the Church is one of many
associations and organizations working to make positive change at all levels
of society. I have been a valued member of diverse social agencies and
organizations in all of my ministry positions. My experience and education
have established me as an informed participant and encourager of others. I
will enter into relationships with your existing community partners and also
explore other possibilities in your neighbourhoods, the city and the region.
Projects and Programs
The following represent a sampling of
projects and programs that I have initiated, designed and delivered in
partnership with congregations and community partners.
Caregivers” – a four session workshop oriented to
encouraging and informing members of the congregation in their ministry of
“Go to the Potter’s
House” – a workshop developed to allow discovery
of insight while working with clay. This workshop has been successfully
delivered in various locations.
“Give It Away”
– a musical evening featuring the songs of the Gaither family and involving
performers from the congregation and community. The event raised a
substantial amount of money which was given to the local homeless shelter
and safe house.
“Making Death a Part of
Life” – a series of public talks addressing issues
during the end stages of life; presented by a lawyer, a physician, a
palliative care coordinator and a theologian.
“Songs of Consolation”
– a musical event offered to support and encourage persons suffering from
various life limiting circumstances. The various performers presented songs
from the repertoire of Franny Crosby. There was a coffee house following and
all proceeds were donated to support the local YMCA street outreach program.
– an all day seminar featuring guest speakers from Saint Thomas University,
assorted presentations by representatives of diverse community and social
agencies, and display tables identifying available services and resources
for persons providing caring support to adults with illness or disability.
– a public forum featuring theological and sociological considerations of
societal problems related to an unfair distribution of the available social
good, designed and presented in partnership with a professor of Sociology
with the University of New Brunswick.
The following comments are taken from
the Nashwaaksis United Church Ministry and Personnel committee performance
evaluation report (2009)
"Rev. George is a very capable administrator
and planner. He never procrastinates!"
"I have found Rev. George’s communication to be
very forthcoming. Any issue I have worked with him on has been resolved by
"Rev. George is effective at planning and
taking an active role in executing special events."
"He is a very approachable person. He is a
humble and down to earth man, who no one would ever find even slightly
"He takes the doctrines of the church and
conveys them in ordinary terms that all can relate to."
"His use of music and stories. Both are special
talents that George uses to great advantage."
"He is great with the children."
"There are many skills and gifts I would name
but the most noticeable for me so far are his eternal optimism and humour
and his ability to listen deeply to the issues that face others."
"He is an activist and has special concern for
those who are marginalized."
"He is very community aware and involved."
"George serves as a good example of God’s
care/outreach in action."