November 16, 2017
The next few weeks are a significant time for us at Grace. The Rev. Harry Currie, candidate for Lead Minister, Vision and Worship, will be with us for an open house and to preach for the call, then there will be a congregational meeting to vote on whether to extend a call. With those coming events in mind, there are some important details we need to inform you about.
November 25, 2017 – Open House Meet and Greet
On Saturday, November 25, between 1:00 and 3:00 pm, there will be an opportunity for the congregation to meet Harry and ask him some questions. It’s also a chance for him to meet all of you. Please plan to attend; Harry will make a presentation about his story at 2:00. Throughout the rest of the day, he will meet with groups including the search and vision committees, elders, and session. We’ve included the full schedule below.
November 26, 2017 – Preaching for the Call
On Sunday, November 26, Rev. Currie will be leading morning worship at Grace. This is your opportunity to experience worship with Harry at the helm, and get a sense of how he leads. If you are unable to be present that morning, the audio from the sermon will be posted later that day. But a recorded sermon will not give you the same sense of Harry’s presence at Grace. We strongly urge you to attend the morning worship service.
December 3, 2017 – Congregational Meeting and Vote
After a week to pray for discernment, we will hold a congregational meeting immediately following worship on December 3. At the meeting, we will hold a congregational vote on whether to extend a call.
In the Presbyterian Church in Canada, professing members are eligible to vote. If the vote passes, both members and adherents will sign their support on call sheets. For information about what happens after a favourable vote, please read Understanding the Call Process on our website.
In preparation for these important events, please review Rev. Currie’s bio and the position description for the Lead Minister, Vision and Worship, attached below.
Yours in Christ,
Clerk of Session
Rev. Currie’s Biography
Rev. Harry Currie was ordained in 1983 after obtaining his M.Div. from Knox College. Before receiving his M.Div. he had received a B. Sc. and a B. Ed. from Mt. Allison University. He is married with four children and two grandchildren.
As was the practice at the time, following his ordination Harry was posted for two years to a small town church, his posting was to St. Andrew’s in Armstrong, B.C. where he served from 1983 to 1985. Next, he spent eight years in Ontario, three in Waterloo Presbytery, at St. Andrew’s, Arthur/Gordonville, and five in Pickering Presbytery at St. Luke’s, Oshawa. He followed that with a six-year stint in Saskatchewan in the Presbytery of Assiniboia at Knox, Yorkton where he was also the RCMP Chaplain. He returned to PEI for family reasons in 1999 and was the minister at Summerside in the Presbytery of PEI for four years. He moved back west to Edmonton in 2003 and has been the minister at First Presbyterian since then.
Harry’s “extracurricular” activities include Synod Youth Advisor to the Synod of Toronto Kingston from 1988 to 2003, Clerk of Presbytery, Edmonton – Lakeland from 2003 to present and the aforementioned RCMP Chaplain, Yorkton subdivision from 1997 to 1999. He is also a Certified Spiritual Director (since 2008) and has been a Workshop Leader and Speaker for Youth Trienniums, Three Synods and the Association of Presbyterian Christian Educators. Harry has several years experience as a soccer and basketball coach.
Harry has a wonderful sense of humour and a deep but easy spirituality that impressed all members of the search committee who met with him. He believes that creating a comfortable, welcoming place to practice one’s spirituality that is full of love and with a sense of inclusion is the foundation of a thriving congregation. He believes that church should make the grace of Jesus Christ come alive in people. “Jesus is not about after we die but about how we live.”
Some comments from Harry’s references were: “He is a well-informed ‘vision caster’ rather than a micromanager,” “Without doubt, Harry is a visionary thinker and a leader,” “Harry has preached some sermons that have been among the best I’ve ever heard,” “I believe preaching is one of Harry’s key talents.”
Lead Minister, Vision and Worship Position Description
We are seeking a Lead Minister who brings experience and demonstrated ability in preaching, teaching and team ministry. However, far more important, we are seeking a visionary leader with the imagination, wisdom, and courage to lead a large congregation into the future that God holds for us.
Background – The Vision and Ministry Model
During a period of interim ministry in 2016, Grace journeyed through a collaborative process to create a vision for its future and a new ministry model to align with that vision. The congregation overwhelmingly supported a vision for Grace as a church that is meaningfully engaged with its surrounding community, known as a thought leader, and that truly lives its values of service and compassion. We have heard a call to be in the world, not set apart from it. We are searching for a Lead Minister who is excited to embrace the challenge of that calling with us.
The new ministry model approved by the congregation contemplates a lead minister and three associates, two of whom are anticipated to be part-time. In addition to the Lead Minister, Vision and Worship, the ministry model contemplates a full-time Associate Minister, Engagement and Service; a part-time (0.6) Associate Minister, Pastoral Care; and a part-time (0.5) Associate Minister, Children and Youth.
As we begin to search for the person being called to serve as Lead Minister, Vision and Worship, there is tremendous energy and excitement in the congregation. Once we have found the person being called to that role, we will begin searches for the remaining ministerial positions. The Rev. Dr. M. Jean Morris is currently called to a full-time role as Associate Minister, Pastoral Care.
The following narratives outline the primary areas of responsibility for the Lead Minister, Vision and Worship and the demonstrated abilities we view as necessary in each area:
1. Vision: Preparing for Things Beyond our Imagining
Grace believes that God has been, and is, preparing us for things beyond our imagining. We believe in embracing the uncertainty of not knowing what is to come with wonder, not fear. We understand that we are called to continually reach out for the discomfort of growth and to resist the comfortable trappings of routine-ism. We also know it is easy to forget all of those things when faced with adversity and to drift back into being comfortable and static.
We are praying the person called to serve as Lead Minister, Vision and Worship will be inspired by our current vision and able to embrace the challenge of:
- inspiring the congregation to make its vision of becoming a congregation that is meaningfully engaged with its community a reality over the coming years;
- maintaining energy for the vision through difficult times;
- welcoming the risk and occasional failure that comes with a bold vision and leading the congregation in doing the same;
- being a mirror of accountability to prevent vision drift and/or a return to “this is how we have always done it” thinking;
- encouraging the congregation to search for, listen to, and respond to God’s calling in their lives and in the life of the church and its surrounding community; and
- calling the congregation to continually re-imagine its future.
2. Worship: Bringing the Word to the People
The experience of worship is central to life at Grace. Sunday morning services filled with “thinking theology” and rich musical offerings are part of Grace’s identity and are highly valued by the congregation. Evening Grace, an intimate Sunday evening service held twice per month, provides another option for spiritual reflection through worship and healing prayer. As we work to reach out in new and different ways to our surrounding community, we may explore new worship experiences and opportunities.
We are praying the person called to serve as Lead Minister, Vision and Worship will bring a depth of experience and demonstrated ability in cultivating meaningful worship experiences characterized by:
- warmth and welcome to both believers and seekers;
- skilled preaching that is accessible to newcomers and that challenges even the most well-versed congregants to see with new eyes and hear with new ears;
- real-life relevance and relatability of the Gospel message to a diverse, multigenerational community that includes people at all stages of faith development; and
- integration of music that enhances the sermon and elevates the worship experience.
3. Education and Training: Equipping the Saints
Part of the newly adopted vision at Grace involves providing education opportunities and structured training to increase the number and capacity of our ordained and lay leaders. We want to be a congregation that deepens people’s knowledge and develops their gifts, so they can confidently respond, “here I am, Lord” when they hear a call to serve. Our long-term vision is to develop programming that can be offered to people outside the congregation to help equip other faith communities as well as our own.
We are praying the person called to serve as Lead Minister, Vision and Worship will have a teacher’s heart and the skills and experience necessary to fully embrace the role of teaching elder through the design and implementation of:
- opportunities for adults at different stages of faith development to deepen their theological and denominational knowledge;
- a Faith Leadership Training Centre with a geographic reach beyond Calgary that will include programs for lay leadership development; and
- orientation and continuing development that equips ruling elders to fully embrace the leadership role to which they’ve been called.
4. Leader of the Ministerial Team: Teammate, Team Captain, Spokesperson
For decades, Grace has been blessed with ministerial teams able to mentor, support and encourage each other’s gifts to shine as they provided leadership in the congregation and community. With four ordained ministers, the new ministry model contemplates our largest ministerial team yet.
We are praying the person called to serve as Lead Minister, Vision and Worship will be a servant leader, experienced in team ministry, who is eager to continue the rich tradition of extraordinary team ministry at Grace by willingly embracing responsibility as:
- leader, mentor, and collaborative colleague of the ministerial team;
- primary Moderator of Session;
- guiding hand in the overall life, development, and direction of the congregation;
- direct report for the three associate ministers to ensure the ministry model is operating in alignment with the vision of a congregation that is meaningfully engaged with its community;
- direct report for the church’s Operations Director;
- a communicator and consensus builder; and
- the primary spokesperson for Grace in interactions with civic leaders and media.