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

Posted: November 25, 2012 by Ty in Archives
Tags: , , , , , , ,

By Tyler Ragan

( 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




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




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




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




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




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




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




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




Bert and Marjorie Aime are


members of the congregation os


St. Leonard’s-on-the-Hill in Red


Deer, AB. Their website is


North Memories is available from


them at 309-9Avery Street, Red


Deer, AB T4B 3K8, e-mail:


(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




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




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




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




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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