“Over a lifetime, in a round-about way. As a child, my mom entered me in public speaking contests and talent shows. She could see I got a kick out of entertaining. In my adult life, I’ve been on a quest to find my purpose. I was in a long-term marriage and spent a lot of my energy on things important to my husband. But I was out of sync with myself and finally couldn’t do it anymore. Since leaving in 2008, I have discovered that I like to make people laugh, so when I saw a course for stand-up comedy last fall, I had a gut-sense to take it.
When a comic comes out on stage, it’s good to acknowledge what people see and then blow their stereotypes. As a class exercise, we took turns standing at the front while our classmates jotted first impressions. Several people in my course wrote ‘old’. I was probably ten years older than everyone else in the class, but in my heart I am not old! I realized I had some ageism because I thought, what’s this with not wanting to be perceived as old? So I’ve got some work to do there. I became aware of my stereotypes and realized we all have much common under the skin — our fears and things we’re trying to heal from. I love to say something that makes everyone join with me and each other in laughter. It is healing…when it happens. Sometimes a joke bombs! I’m learning to roll with that, too. I enjoy writing the jokes, so the process is healing for me.”
What’s your faith experience?
“Even though I grew up in the United Church, I pulled away from the church. I knew the problem with religion was in me more than in a particular church. I was an observer for a quite a while and respected the UCC for standing up for gays in the late 1980’s. So I knew that if I were to go back to church, it would be the UCC.
The second Sunday I was at CMUC, the choir sang Do not Leave your Cares at the Door, and there’s a part where the soloist sings: every story is sacred here even yours. And I thought, yeah really? Broken family, an erratic career path, long periods of my adult life where I didn’t go to churches, and a lot of seeking help for anxiety and depression. And I thought, where is the sacredness in that? But I decided to stick around and to see if I could find out. Through this process, I’ve been starting to reflect on how maybe it was Spirit that helped me find yoga, and specific therapists, and a couple of soul-mate women friends. All these experiences contributed to finding myself enough to risk sticking my toe back into religion. And I realized God works in many mysterious ways, only some of them in churches. So the sacredness of story now resonates with me. And I believe we all have a sacred story. So the thing I appreciate about CMUC is the invitation to keep growing because I know that’s what I need to do. I feel called to lead in the community more than in church. One way I attempt to do that now is through comedy.”
This sermon is part of our Summer Preaching Series. Find of our sermons at canadianmemorial.org
Pat Dutcher-Walls is Professor of Hebrew Scripture at the Vancouver School of Theology. In addition to teaching, she is Director of the Library and the Dean of the School, providing administrative oversight to student programs and services, the Registrar’s Office and the Diversified Education programs, and the school’s relationships with sessional lecturers, guest lecturers, and other contractual teaching staff.
Professor Dutcher-Walls, through her publications and teaching, bridges scholarship for Biblical study both in the academy and the church. A life-long Presbyterian, she was ordained by the United Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1978 and now is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Canada. With a love of teaching, she has led numerous adult education courses, retreats, continuing education courses, and lay education courses. Recent presentations include topics such as “Biblical Narrative Spirituality,” “Prophetic Perspectives in the Old Testament,” and “Living the Ten Commandments.” She has been active in the church through preaching, social justice ministries, part-time congregational leadership, music and campus chaplaincy. She is married to a Lutheran minister and has two children, and enjoys reading science fiction and gardening.
Dr. Topping is the Principal of the Vancouver School of Theology and a big fan of Canadian Memorial and all the students that come to VST from here.
“I understand that the church in Canada has undergone decline,” says Richard, “The church that we have now is not the church that many of us baby-boomers grew up with. However, God is sending us students now who have never known Christendom and they have things to teach us.”
Richard received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies from University of Waterloo, a Master of Arts in Theology from St. Michael’s University in the Toronto School of Theology and a Doctor of Philosophy in Theology from Wycliffe College, Toronto.
Richard taught at Presbyterian College (2001-2009) in the Montreal School of Theology at McGill University in the areas of Preaching, Pastoral Theology, Introduction to Ministry and Church, Ministry and Sacraments.
Richard holds the St. Andrew’s Hall Chair in Studies in the Reformed Tradition. He teaches in the areas of Introduction to Theology, Reformation History, Christian Spirituality and Reformed Theology of the 19th and Twentieth Century. He has also lectured at Regent College in the area of Theology and Proclamation. He has published in the areas of theological hermeneutics, homiletics, philosophy of religion, systematic theology and the theologies of John Calvin and Karl Barth.
Canadian Memorial United Church and Centre for Peace is looking for a reliable worker to assist in operating and ensuring the good maintenance of our church and community buildings. Reporting to the Administrator, the Facilities and Maintenance Worker will identify maintenance issues, undertake light repairs and routine caretaking items, and set up rooms for events and activities.
This regular part-time morning position offers some flexibility in scheduling and requires a self-motivated, enthusiastic and well organized individual with a generalist’s skills in maintenance who is also able to oversee contractors.
Be available for early morning work, usually starting between 6:30 – 8:00am, or as needed depending on scheduled events.
Set up chairs, tables, resource equipment and audio/visual equipment according to plans provided for events and activities
Represent Canadian Memorial United Church positively, provide facility users building access as needed and assist them with requests, equipment troubleshooting and similar concerns
Carry out routine maintenance work as required in the facilities and grounds including small repairs, basic plumbing, light painting and similar work. Liaise with and provide oversight of contractors for larger maintenance work
Ensure facilities and equipment are in good working order, assist in planning routine and preventative maintenance work
Carry out light spot cleaning as needed in support of cleaning staff; maintain tidiness of grounds
Other duties as required
Knowledge, Skills and Experience
5 years’ experience and/or relevant education in a maintenance or caretaker role with hands-on knowledge of basic repair and facility upkeep. WHMIS, relevant trade or technical certificates are an asset.
An entry level knowledge of modern computer technology, comfort learning and utilizing programs for communications, planning and task scheduling
Access to a reliable vehicle, a good driving record, and willingness to travel locally as required
Ability to move and lift heavy loads
A proven track record as a reliable, accountable, independent worker who demonstrates initiative and effectively works without supervision to maximize available time
Strong planning and logistical skills, good trouble-shooting ability, a creative mind and can-do attitude
Ability to communicate clearly, effectively relate issues and concerns to the administration, and feel comfortable dealing with the public
Ability to perform calmly under pressure in a facility that can be fast paced and present unexpected demands
Access to tools or workshop space an asset
This position starts with a compensation of $19.00/hour for an average 20 hour work week and is subject to a 3-month probationary period. It qualifies for United Church of Canada benefits (pension plan, group insurance plan) and Medical Services Plan. 2 weeks’ vacation is offered, the pay for which to be calculated at a rate of 4% of gross salary.
Please send a cover letter and resume by email only to Alison Therriault: email@example.com. This posting closes on October 27, 2016. While we thank all applicants for their interest, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.