Dick Hunt's Blog

November 14, 2011

Colonsay, Viscount and Elstow, Saskatchewan

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 8:02 pm

Colonsay, Viscount and Elstow, Saskatchewan.
by Dick Hunt, Monday, November 14th, 2011.
Among other Parishes while I was studying for Ordination in Emmanuel College were the three named above. Having been active as a Lay Reader (read, Lay Minister) for some years, I had experience in conducting services and preaching. The three Parishes above were around forty miles south east of Saskatoon. Their normal leader was one of my fellow students, much younger than me. He took me out to the three points on the train on Saturday evening and we stayed in a hotel in Viscount overnight. It was late March and on Saturday the weather was quite pleasant. However, a snow storm blew in during the small hours and plugged all the roads, cutting off the car transportation that had been arranged for us. We took the service in Viscount and then, set off to walk over the snow drifts and down and up and down, the seven miles to Elstow with our suit cases and heavy coats and conducted the service there.

After that service we were able to have a car meet us and we went on to Colonsay for the service. Then it was back on the train for the return to Saskatoon, late Sunday night. That trip was to introduce me to the area and the people, so that I could give the regular man a break during the summer for a month, which I proceeded to do in July. Ruth was able to go out with me for four Sundays while students and our neighbours looked after our three children. Tim was born the following year. I also filled in for one Sunday in the area of Duck Lake, Rosthern and Wynyard to the north, where the Riel Rebellion took place. I was getting introduced to the history and society of rural Saskatchewan, not unlike that of rural Alberta where I was born and raised.
One Saturday in the midst of those summer trips for a month, we had a weekend visit, unannounced, from a couple called Buster and Anna Brown who lived in Bymoore, our home area in Alberta. We made them at home and asked if they would go with us to the three Parishes next day so we could visit. They were keen to do that and so we had an early breakfast and off we went. We followed the same pattern I had followed with my friend Mack on the March trip. The weather and roads were fine and we were able to stay on time and carry out the ‘assignment’ without difficulty. On the way home in late evening, Buster said, ‘I couldn’t believe it, three different Parishes and three different sermons, how can you do that?’ I said that I have never preached exactly the same sermon twice as I try to speak directly to the people in front of me and maintain eye contact with them. My ‘notes’ remain the same and consist of the Scriptures for the day. I do my preparations on as deep a level as I can and stick to the basic teaching of the lessons for the day.

Early in my active life as a Lay Reader, I arrived with Ruth and our first three children at the United Church in our home town for the 11 AM service and suddenly realized that I had left all my notes at home. No time to go back for them but I panicked and prayed desperately to God for His mercy and grace to minister to the people. I learned that morning what has served me well down the years, – God answers prayer and never asks us to do anything without His support and guidance. After that service, many people said to me, “what happened to you this morning, you have never preached like that before?”
I said that God took over and spoke through me. He has never left me or forsaken me.

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