September 15, 2017

     

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RESUME

 
 

        

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 12 years.

 

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 scope.

 

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

 

Worship Leadership

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.

      Spiritual Formation

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.

      Pastoral Presence

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.

Community Outreach 

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.

     “Strengthening Caregivers” – a four session workshop oriented to encouraging and informing members of the congregation in their ministry of pastoral care.

·         “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.

·         “Care Connections” – 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.

·         “Seeking Balance” – 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.

Additional Information

 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 discussion."

"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 intimidating."

"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."