Serving The Voiceless; Running for Parliament (Anglican Sower March 2006)

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

By Tyler Ragan

My personal rule talks of me

being a voice for the voiceless. It

is a simple line to attempt to

describe a life long call God has

placed on my heart throughout

my journeys.

I’ve been a high school student

standing up against hatred in my

community. I’ve lobbied governments

to protect the arts. I’ve

written letters for Amnesty International.

And as a street pastor, I

petitioned the provincial government

of Alberta not to close a

desperately needed homeless

shelter that was seeing God’s miracles

pour out.

It was these actions that led to

this line being written in my rule.

I have been speaking out to

protect the social programs

church leaders helped to build

(social services, disability, public

health care).

It culminated on January 23,

2006 when Canada held a federal

election, and I participated as

a candidate for the New Democratic

Party in Calgary Northeast.

I was nominated May 5, last

year and my campaign began

minutes after. Some might wonder

why I take this step as a youth

pastor, and a member of the

Third Order, Society of St.


For me it was a unique way to

reach out to the community I live

in and get down past the surface

issues and to raise awareness

across a city about the agencies,

organizations and people that are

trying to stop the bleeding and

pain of poverty and devastation

we are wreaking on our environment.

As a candidate, I found while

door knocking what was needed

was a listening ear, and someone

willing to help direct people to

the parts of government they

could talk to. In some cases, an

advocate was needed to government

or non-profit agencies.

The most shocking thing is

that while conventional wisdom

says having a strong faith will

hamper you in public life, many

people were comforted when I

said I would pray for them.

After speaking those words as

well, how many people asked for

me to simply pray with them

there on their doorstep, or after

a debate, or at a bus stop.

Campaigning for a political

party as one with strong beliefs

and principles is hard, because

you have to support a platform.

I found it easier to be able to

step away from the platform and

open up a dialogue with the people

of my community. I took a

pastoral outlook and realized

winning was not the important

thing. This unique eight-month

calling had given me the opportunity

to reach out to those

that were hurting and in pain,

those that may never darken the

doorways of a church or know

where to go for help.

My message was simple: I will

listen and try to make things

better, for I have hope that a

better world is possible for us all.

My attire was simpler, blue

jeans and a hoody, as a youth pastor,

not a politician; I did not feel

comfortable in the trappings of

the office.

Finally, when it came to

fundraising – I looked out at the

hurting and those in need. saw

and toured many organizations

that helped children with developmental

disabilities, abused

seniors, and the homeless – I

knew I could not ask for money

for a campaign. I took the initiative

of asking people to direct

the donations they would have

sent to my campaign to these

agencies that were producing

miracles for God’s children.

When it was all over, and the

votes were tallied, I was third of

five on the ballot and felt at


Why, you might ask? Some

would say I failed my calling by


But I was proud of the hard

work of my volunteers; I had

always spoken from my heart and

held to my beliefs. The best and

most humbling part was the

Wednesday night after Election

Day being able to face the youth

I minister to and let them know

that one person can make a

positive impact.

Why did I run? To give a voice

to the voiceless and inspire a new

generation to take up the reigns

of care for creation and community

leadership, winning or losing

was irrelevant in this special calling

from God.

Tyler Ragan is a part-time

youth pastor at

St. George’s Anglican

Church, political activist and

secular Franciscan (on pg.9)


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