Personal Faith Story: From the Depths to the Joy of Ministry (Anglican Sower Oct. 2005)

Posted: November 25, 2012 by Ty in Archives
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By Tyler Ragan

(http://www.calgary.anglican.ca/Sower/SowerOct05.pdf p.8)
In October 1978 I was two

 

months old when I was baptized

 

at St. George’s Anglican Church.

 

It was the start of an odyssey for

 

me. As I grew up my Mum

 

taught her sons to pray: “Now I

 

lay me down to sleep …”

 

You know the rest. She also

 

taught me God is always there for

 

us. I started school in a Christian

 

and Missionary Alliance preschool

 

called SonShine at age

 

four. Then it was off to public

 

school. I spent a couple of weeks

 

each summer at a neighbourhood

 

ecumenical Vacation Bible

 

School.

 

That time was a bright light as

 

I struggled at elementary school

 

to get my bearing. I was sick often

 

and had to wear a medic alert

 

bracelet. By the time I was nine

 

the convulsions finally ended. But

 

I also had chronic bouts of bronchitis.

 

The bullying had already

 

started.

 

Since I was no longer the right

 

age for Vacation Bible, I didn’t

 

have much to do with church. As

 

I began Junior High School, I

 

started to explore other faiths and

 

ideologies. I also started to drink

 

alcohol with a group of friends.

 

The bullying continued. And

 

my best friend, my Granddad,

 

was diagnosed with emphysema;

 

I began to withdraw from my

 

peers to spend more time with

 

him.

 

Something changed as I

 

entered high school. I became a

 

Tibetan Buddhist. But I started to

 

connect with the roots of my parents’

 

Christian faith through Jewish

 

friends.

 

My experiments with alcohol,

 

drugs and womanizing deepened.

 

I also transformed myself

 

from a victim of bullying to the

 

tough silent type no one wanted

 

to mess with—thanks to weight

 

lifting.

 

In the summer before my

 

graduating year my best friend

 

died. I saw my Granddad for the

 

last time on July 22, 1995. I was

 

the only person he recognized or

 

spoke to.

 

That night I went home and

 

prayed to a God I wasn’t even sure

 

I believed in to take my Granddad

 

home. I still feel guilty about

 

that. The next day he passed away.

 

That following year was a

 

blur of depression and thoughts

 

of suicide. After graduation, I met

 

and fell in love with a girl with

 

many of the same struggles as

 

mine. But hers had gone deeper

 

without the support structure of

 

a family.

 

After a whirlwind romance in

 

the fall of 1997 she told me that

 

she had gone back to drugs. She

 

said she needed the drugs more

 

than she loved me. I went back to

 

my old cycle of depression and

 

thoughts of suicide. My world

 

had narrowed to just her.

 

One day as I cleaned up my

 

room I found my old red

 

Gideon’s Bible, the one given to

 

every Grade 5 student when I was

 

growing up. It opened to

 

Matthew 22:34-40, the great

 

love commandments, I had never

 

heard Christianity explained this

 

way. By this time I was a practicing

 

Druid. I made a decision that I

 

would take my life, but before I

 

did, I wanted to experience this

 

love. I made plans to attend

 

church with my Grandmother.

 

In a small United Church in

 

Bowness on an October day, I

 

sang the hymn Amazing Grace.

 

When I hit the line “saved a

 

wretch like me,” a man in white

 

stood before me. I believe it was

 

Christ, and he simply said, it will

 

be okay.

 

I accepted the offer of grace. I

 

was later confirmed in Christ at

 

Tyler Ragan

 

Personal Faith Story

 

From the Depths to the Joy of Ministry

 

Donna Uncles, former

 

Sower Columnist

 

Sam Steele Scouts helped the Parish of St. John the Evangelist,

 

Calgary, celebrate its centennial

 

Northern Memories

By Marjorie (Boxer) Aime

 

Published by Hampton Press

 

If you have ever felt the call of

 

the north, you will be intrigued

 

by the memories of Marjorie

 

Aime, In 1941 she was offered a

 

job in the Anglican School in

 

Aklavik and her adventures

 

began.

 

The 1,200 mile trip from

 

Selkirk, Man. To Aklavik, N.W.T.

 

took 28 days. There was a lot to

 

get used to—mud, mosquitos and

 

sun less days in December.

 

Marjorie enjoyed her work at

 

the school and it was here she met

 

Albert Boxer, another member of

 

the school staff. They married in

 

July, 1943 and Bert accepted a job

 

with the Hudson’s Bay Company,

 

carrying freight between Aklavik

 

and Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic

 

Coast.

 

They staked in Aklavik for ten

 

years and Bert became a trapper.

 

Marjorie left only for the birth of

 

their two sons. Living in a cabin,

 

learning to run a dog team, surviving

 

a house fire and a flood

 

while raising a family provided

 

her with many memories to

 

share.

 

Bert and Marjorie Aime are

 

members of the congregation os

 

St. Leonard’s-on-the-Hill in Red

 

Deer, AB. Their website is

 

http://www.hamptonpress.ca.

 

North Memories is available from

 

them at 309-9Avery Street, Red

 

Deer, AB T4B 3K8, e-mail:

 

hamptnpr@telus.net.

 

(Reviewed by Vi Honert)

 

Aklavik Teaching Memories

 

this church. The next week I was

 

teaching Sunday School to young

 

teenagers with a King James

 

Bible and a curriculum.

 

I love being in lay ministry,

 

and have served in various traditions

 

with kids, youth, young

 

adults, prayer, leading worship

 

services, preaching and seeker

 

ministry. I’ve done this in Lutheran,

 

United, Roman Catholic,

 

Presbyterian, Christian & Missionary

 

Alliance and Restoration

 

Movement Churches.

 

I volunteered for a year at the

 

Mustard Seed Street Ministry, and

 

have spent four more years there

 

as a support worker. I completed

 

my Bachelor of Arts in Leadership

 

and Ministry at Alberta Bible

 

College.

 

I believe in going to serve

 

where God calls, and have never

 

really paid much attention to

 

what it meant actually to be a

 

member of a church. I have felt

 

comfortable and welcome in all

 

the traditions I have been apart of.

 

But there was a nagging background

 

voice saying—come

 

home!

 

This year I entered seminary at

 

Canadian Theological Seminary

 

in Calgary to complete a Master

 

of Arts in Leadership and Ministry.

 

I also started a postulancy

 

with the Order of Ecumenical

 

Franciscans.

 

In both cases the idea of a

 

spiritual home was emphasized,

 

especially for prayer and support.

 

After praying I felt a call to

 

return to the Anglican Church. I

 

felt God calling me to go literally

 

home to the place where I was

 

baptized as an infant.

 

I sent out a query e-mail

 

about ministry within the tradition

 

to St. George’s Anglican

 

Church up the road from my

 

house. Not only did a prompt

 

response appear, but also I was

 

invited to meet with Pastor Dean

 

and discuss further. So I knew

 

that there was something of a call

 

there.

 

The real test would be going

 

to a service at St. George’s. While

 

I have attended Anglican Services

 

when I traveled in Canada, and

 

a couple in Calgary, I never stuck

 

with any parish. I went to the

 

Sunday service, and was hit in the

 

gut with a feeling I have never

 

really felt.

 

I felt peace as I met a diverse

 

group of people. And everyone

 

was welcome.

 

When someone asked me

 

recently why I was going back to

 

the Anglican Church, I simply

 

answered that faith is lived and

 

talked about … in all its incarnation.

 

Coming home is a beautiful

 

and scary experience all at the

 

same time.

 

(Tyler Ragan is now a part-time

 

staff member at St. George’s

 

working on youth and children’s

 

ministries. We hope to run more

 

personal faith stories in future

 

issues of the Sower.)

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