Minister: Reverend Jeff Werner
I was born in Ingersoll, ON, where I was baptized into the faith and family of Jesus Christ.
Dad was a music teacher. He believed he was adding to the beauty that is in the world through the gift of music. He was the music director at Bethel UC, and then Maple Grove UC.
One Sunday morning we were sitting in a front pew and putting on our boots, getting ready to go home. I looked up at the pulpit and said, “I’m going to be up there one day.”
At 4 years of age I believed the minister led a community conversation about important matters. In the routine rush of daily life we didn’t often pause to reflect on gratitude, or what it means to live love, be at peace, or share an overflowing hope. I sensed the value of these conversations.
I began attending Erindale United at the age of 13. I became a candidate for the ministry. When I enrolled at Emmanuel College in 1986 I discovered the important conversation we have on a Sunday morning is God’s story. I came to better understand what I sensed at the age of 4. God’s story is helpful, healing, anointing, affirming, challenging and empowering.
I romanticized God’s story in 1989 when I drove out to Coleville, Saskatchewan and began ministry on a two-point charge. I imagined changing the world. I learned it is hard work to remain grounded when you leave downtown Toronto and land in a rural town of 250 people.
I learned about loneliness. The congregation talked about the migrant oil patch workers who would begin to struggle with their own mental health.
I moved on to a three-point charge in south-central Saskatchewan. That was even harder! I was doing a funeral every ten days. Some farmers were committing suicide. A child whom I had baptized was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer. I struggled with feeling powerless.
I went on to serve a two-point charge in the Sudbury area (Levack-Dowling) for 10 years. Sometime I will tell you about the dream I had that called me to serve the church there.
I met my life partner in Sudbury. We have 2 children. We moved to Mississauga in 2005.
I had 2 short-term appointments, and then a ten year call to Bolton United. What a gifted community. The music program was fantastic.
Now, here I am now in half-time ministry at Cawthra Park! Thank you for inviting me to come and be with you. And, you like to sing! I’m looking forward to working with Jack, and everyone!
Fifty years on, I’ve changed my vision of being Church. I enjoy shared stories rather than the clergy as sole storyteller. I hope we tell our stories of anointing, healing, reconciling love, being at peace, living an overflowing hope and adding to the beauty that is in the world.
Let me know when we can meet for coffee, conversation and prayer!
Cathy Waiter is our part-
David Hill is our part-
Cawthra Park is administrated through a Church Board. With a Chair and Secretary, working with Chairs of Committees and other groups, the Board meets monthly to help set direction, keep the vision, and ensure that the “work of church” is also done in a timely, faithful fashion. We could not operate as a church ministry without the support and commitment of our leaders who serve on committees and groups throughout the year!