God had his hand on me

By on January 1, 2022

I was born in Vancouver, and we emigrated to Southern California in 1960. It was an exciting time to live in California: culture crazes, social justice issues and race relations were coming to the forefront of daily life in my childhood. I was raised in the Anglican church, and when we moved to Huntington Beach we began worshipping at a local Episcopal church. Church was a huge part of our lives.

Everyone, including both my parents and my two sisters, were very involved: the youth group, altar guild, the grounds maintenance and the choir. And my dad built most of the furniture for that little country parish. It was a wonderful time of my life, and it was then that I felt a tug to religious life. But nothing really materialized until I was in my mid-forties.

Meanwhile, our family emigrated back to Canada. We settled in Nanaimo, attending St James Anglican Church. It was there that my call to ordained ministry really bloomed. I had two children, was part-owner of a career college, owned and sold a catering business and owned a dinner theatre in Lethbridge. But through all the unique and exciting business adventures, I was always called back to the spiritual life. Through the twists and turns of growing pains, learning and growing, God had his hand on me.

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I attended the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad, Saskatoon and received my Master of Divinity at 52, served as curate at St Peter, Calgary, did a one-year interim ministry at Holy Cross, Calgary, then was called to St Peter, Qualicum where I served as incumbent for over seven years.

After retiring from St Peter, I served for two years at St Christopher and St Aidan, Lake Cowichan. Most recently I have served at St John the Baptist, Cobble Hill as honorary assistant, and I did an eight-month stint as the office administrator. I am grateful to John Steele, the incumbent at St John the Baptist, for his patience as he helped me upgrade my computer skills and allowed me to offer pulpit supply for him over the last few years.

Recently, I enrolled in the clinical pastoral education (CPE) training program through the Vancouver School of Theology. I did my on-site chaplaincy at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, and my classroom training was online.

I will also begin an exciting journey with interim ministry, starting with St Philip, Cedar on January 1. I look forward to walking beside them as they search for their new rector. I see interim ministry to be much like CPE. Our job as hospital chaplains is to walk beside the ill and dying, to be a companion with them in their journey, and that’s been my experience of interim ministry as well: to assist and support the people to be ready and open to the wonderful things God can do for them as they prepare for their new incumbent.

The most interesting and exciting sermon I ever heard was during the Festival of Homiletics in 2014, at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Bishop Michael Curry preached the most dynamic and rousing sermon I have ever heard. His enthusiastic, “Baptist preacher” style was most engaging, but the shocking moment was when he jumped out of the pulpit and began a song and dance routine. That was a sermon I will never forget!

As I turn 70, I look forward to new and profound experiences as I serve God, God’s people and this diocese in interim ministry and serve at Bishop Anna’s pleasure wherever I am called.

Author

  • Deborah Rivet

    Deborah Rivet is the interim priest-in-charge at St Philip, Cedar in Nanaimo.

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