Dick Hunt's Blog

September 10, 2011

The Pastor Who Stared At People.

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 5:28 pm

The Pastor Who Stared At People.
by Dick Hunt, September 10th, 2011.
For several years Ruth and I spent our summer holidays on an Island get away in B.C. As was our very good habit, we always sought out a Church and fellowship to relate with.  One of the Preachers we often listened to, (there was only one on the Island) had a very troubling habit. Ofteen during his rather dull sermons he would pause for quite long periods of time and fix one or another of his congregation “with his glittering eye” (shades of the Ancient Mariner) and we/they would become”transfixed”, unable to avoid his penetrating stares.  I never learned why he had that repulsive habit but he undoubtedly emptied not a few pews in doing so.

Some of those summers, I was recruited to be his substitute in that Parish and on three other Islands in the Gulf of Georgia  and I found that after (and sometimes before) the services I had to field questions about his unfortunate habit. The nearest I could come to a helpful answer was to suggest that seeing certain people in his view reminded him of some matter that called forth a problem that had arisen in his past and he stopped in midstream to ponder a decision.

When I retired officially in September of 1985, I was appointed by the Bishop of the Diocese to take responsibility o for the Church on that Island on a half time basis, partly because we had built a cottage there in 1967.  I was still employed on occasion in helping out on three other Islands and we had a very fulfilling and enjoyable time there for thirty three months, before moving to Maple Ridge in 1988. While we were in charge of St. Peter’s Campbell River and associated Parishes, Ruth tabulated places I had ministered.
That came about as we were on the way from Campbell River to the town of Gold River, on the west side of Vancouver Island, one Sunday afternoon to conduct a service. She said, “can you remember the places where you have served?”and she started to write them down. By the time we had reached Gold River, she had over eighty places named.  Since then we have added many  more and the total is now around 125.  The longest time I have served in a Parish totals just over 12 years. The shortest time is – once.  I have not sought to set a record, but I have sought to fulfil my calling to respond to every opportunity to preach and teach the worlds’ very best News and that is the Christian Gospel which so captivated my heart, mind and soul at the age of 32.

I do have my standard way of addressing an audience.  And it came about when I was licensed as a Lay Minister in Alberta in 1953 and put to work on Sundays in a number of Towns in the region where we lived.  I began that phase of my Ministry with no other training that deep personal Bible Study and years of attending Sunday services.  And I wrote out in longhand every word I intended to deliver, always based on the Bible Readings of the day. One life changing Sunday Ruth and I and our Children arrived at one of the Churches where I served at 10:55 AM for the 11 AM service and I realized to my horror that I had left all my notes at home.  The people were there, my friends and neighbours, waiting to be fed.  There was nothing for it but to rely on the Grace of God to save the day and feed the people.  And God answered my Prayer.  After the service, the people responded with, “What happened to you this morning. You have never preached like that before”.  Ever since, I have been able to trust God, make eye contact with and rely on my studies to feed the People.  And not to stare.

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