Saturday, 24 August 2013


This blog began to get its focus when I was driven from the leadership of a congregation, in the spring of 2006. It took a long time for me to be able to write anything with any clarity. (Meaning there were times, especially in the first months, when I could barely put two sentences together coherently — a long "come down" from the life of an award-wining journalist.)

On the other side, the fact that it has taken seven years to re-start any  significant writing is probably "a good thing," insofar as I have been able to take time and  think about things. 

I still believe that I hold a fairly orthodox Christian approach to life and faith. But my thinking has arisen out of serious questioning of what the Christian faith has become, in comparison to what Jesus taught, in both is speaking and his doing. A lot has been considered in that particular train of thought; I only understand a bit of it. But it seems to be centred in the long-understood differences between Jesus and Paul of Tarsus, and also in the differences in the gospels.

I was able, in the spring of 2012, to return to the work of pastor, which I can say I truly love. Subsequently, I have been asked to take on additional responsibilities, from time to time. 

There are some books which have influenced me significantly. They are listed in the "Reflective Reading"  page (below the header for this blog). I would encourage you to find and read these books. Some may be available in local libraries. 

One other thought. I have given some thought to taking this blog private. I have decided not to do that immediately. I'll give you fair warning if I make that decision.

Anyhow, that is the re-start of this blog.

Peace and joy, friends!



Though I normally use a Bear persona with my blogs, that will not be the case here. The "Bear Bio" note is gone. The writer is "Rob," who signed this post. Just so you know.

Saturday, 4 August 2012



If your want to see what I am and doing currently,
please check Chrome on the Range,
which continues to be my primary blog.

Thank you.

Thursday, 5 July 2012


As anticipated, I concluded my service to our congregation on June 30th. I had one more commitment — leading worship for Third Avenue U.C. on July First — Canada Day — and that went well, too.

Our minister, B, started working part-time in July, and will be back full time in September. (Before I left, I arranged things in such a way that he would not even have to work full-time in August, as well.)

I am glad I had the opportunity to serve our congregation (and our neighbouring congregation as part of the "package").

I found that I was much more relaxed in my work, and that things came together for me in very different ways from how I had experienced them in the past. The ideas were a bit sharper, and were n to as hard to put together. I also felt more natural, just getting up and talking to people. But then, for the first time, I was not taking a full text into the pulpit, as I had in the past. That felt very affirming, that I could trust my mind.

I also felt I had a much better grasp on things which were happening in the congregation. Not necessary happy things. But things which were important.

Would I do it again? Probably. If I were needed. But to tell you the truth, I like being retired. I realize that I am not as young as I used to be, and I like a more relaxed approach to life. Particularly when I can give more time to my reading and writing, and hobbies, and family.

Thursday, 12 April 2012


Despite all the craziness in church, I have gone back to serving a congregation. And coming out of retirement to do it. This is only for a while, since our minister is on medical leave, and will (I hope) be back by September.

There is a very real difference between sitting in a pew and being "up front." The building hasn't changed. The people around me are the same, since this is the congregation with which I regularly worship. But the viewpoint is different. And the expectations are different. People expect, reasonably, that I will have creative thoughts to share with them about how we behave as Christians in the 21st century. And I keep working these things out, myself. And sharing what I can.

I must admit that, while this has been challenging, it has also been exciting. I feel that I have finally come to the maturity I had hoped to reach as a minister. I have been working on this for a long time. I was getting close to this just before I ran into health problems. Now, I'm healthier, and happier. And the pieces are coming together. I'll write more about this in coming weeks.

Overall, this has been a good experience. While I am sad that our minster is unwell, at least I have been able to help with some things that I can do. This is, after all, how a church works; people share various skills, and those complement each other.

In July, the church closes, and we worship with a neighbouring congregation. So I will be on holidays. In August, we open again, and carry on. I expect things will be good.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010


Think of the following occupations: florist, deep sea welder, fire fighter, taxi driver, minister (member of the clergy), police officer. If you were to list them from most to least dangerous to your health, and most risky in terms of people to whom one would sell life insurance, where would those occupations fit? In the "most dangerous" category — deep sea welder and minister — both just a bit behind crab fishermen.

I just about dropped off my chair when I read that.

But it comes from research done by a number of clergy, on clergy. The information I read began with one pastor following with some statistics from a member of his congregation who sold life insurance. Here are some "fun" numbers.

    * 48 percent of clergy think their work is hazardous to their family’s well being.
    * 80 percent of pastors say they don't have enough time with spouse and that ministry has a negative effect on their family.
    * Clergy have the 2nd highest divorce rate among professions.
    *46 percent will experience burnout or depression that will make them leave their jobs.
    *70 percent say their self-esteem is lower now than when they started their position.
    * 40 percent report a serious conflict with at least one parishioner every month.
    * 75 percent report they’ve had significant stress-related crisis on at least one occasion in their ministry.
    * 58 percent of pastors indicate that their spouse needs to work to supplement the family income.
    * 56 percent of pastors’ wives say they have no close friends.
    * Pastors working less than 50 hours per week are 35 percent more likely to be terminated.
    * 40 percent of pastors considered leaving the pastorate in the past three months.

In response to the statistics, I think of my own experience in ministry. A number of those statistics reflect my life as a church leader, including the "significant stress-related crisis on at least one occasion in their ministry." Which is why I'm on disability, and have been for five years. 

But, there is another side to this. I also spent almost 17 years serving a wonderful congregation of loving and interesting people.

(To be continued)

About the icon of St. Anthony . . .
The icon comes from Eastern Christian Supply Company. With thanks!