Thought­ful Min­is­ter comes to re­gion

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Ayer's Cliff

The United Church con­gre­ga­tions of Ayer’s Cliff, Ge­orgeville and Ma­gog have had a new Min­is­ter since the sum­mer. Rev­erend Lee Ann Hogle re­placed Rev­erend Tak­ouhi De­merd­ji­ian-Petro in mid-July and now lives in Ayer’s Cliff, close to her three

churches.

“I grew up in Mon­treal, but then moved to the Racine and Rich­mond ar­eas where I raised a fam­ily,” said Rev­erend Hogle in an in­ter­view with the Stanstead Jour­nal. “I was a lay wor­ship leader be­fore go­ing back to school in 2008 to be­come a min­is­ter,” ex­plained the Rev­erend who re­cently re­ceived her Mas­ter of Divin­ity de­gree from the At­lantic School of The­ol­ogy, lo­cated in Halifax, Nova Sco­tia. “It was a min­istry-based pro­gram so I got to test the waters al­most im­me­di­ately and find out right away if it was meant for me. Go­ing back to school as a ma­ture learner, it was help­ful to know I was on the right path.”

Ex­plain­ing what led her to join the min­istry, Rev. Hogle com­mented: “As we get older, our thoughts change. We be­gin to search for what gives mean­ing to our lives. It’s only in the do­ing that we learn about our­selves.” She con­tin­ued: “I was in­volved with the church when I was younger and a lay wor­ship course showed me what min­istry was. I’d spent a good amount of time look­ing at spir­i­tual is­sues; be­com­ing a min­is­ter co­in­cided with my per­sonal in­ter­ests.”

As we spoke, it be­came clear that Rev. Hogle has a deep con­cern for our so­ci­ety, but re­mains hope­ful. “I be­lieve there’s a spir­i­tual thirst in our world that is ad­dressed when we at­tend church. We’re all look­ing for mean­ing and value in our lives. We need to know our­selves bet­ter and iden­tify the things that will nur­ture our­selves. When we’re good to our­selves, we’re good to oth­ers, and that cre­ates a rip­ple ef­fect.”

“I worry that so­ci­ety is re­ally head­ing off in the wrong di­rec­tion; you can see the short­sight­ed­ness when we look at what’s hap­pen­ing to the en­vi­ron­ment. It’s a sign that we’ve lost touch with our hu­man­ity. We’re treated as con­sumers all our lives.”

Hold­ing a church con­gre­ga­tion to­gether in the year 2013 is not an easy task, as this newly or­dained min­is­ter is aware. “Not regu- lar church at­ten­dees, but oth­ers don’t know what re­sources are avail­able to them when some­thing goes wrong. Spir­i­tual as­pects can be a re­source in dif­fi­cult times.” She con­tin­ued: “Many make as­sump­tions of what ‘church’ is, the me­dia brings up scars, but a church group is sim­ply hu­man. I find, when work­ing with a group, you must prom­ise to be good to each other, and find ways to make the group healthier, spir­i­tu­ally more alive.”

“I’m de­lighted to be with this vi­brant church com­mu­nity,” said the Rev­erend, men­tion­ing some of the con­gre­ga­tion’s ac­tiv­i­ties, such as the com­mu­nity din­ners, Christ­mas bas­kets with the school­child­ren, the Prayer Shawl ini­tia­tive and the an­nual Liv­ing Na­tiv­ity Scene, in Ge­orgeville, or­ga­nized by re­tired Rev­erends Deane and Doreen Mof­fat. “My per­sonal chal­lenge is get­ting to know the folks of the con­gre­ga­tion, their in­di­vid­ual con­cerns and pri­or­i­ties, and find those in­ter­ests that we can pur­sue to­gether. It’s a time of dis­cov­ery.”

Rev­erend Hogle is also dis­cov­er­ing a new area, now that she has moved to Ayer’s Cliff, at­tend­ing the Ayer’s Cliff Fair for the first time last Au­gust. “It’s a bustling com­mu­nity in Ayer’s Cliff, and there’s a lot go­ing on in Ma­gog and Ge­orgeville. It was im­por­tant for me to move to this area; it’s im­por­tant to build com­mu­nity sup­port for one another. I wanted to be close to that.”

At the end of the in­ter­view, which was more of a con­ver­sa­tion with a per­son who is very pas­sion­ate about her min­istry, Rev­erend Hogle men­tioned her goals. “Nur­tur­ing spir­i­tual prac­tices and learn­ing to ‘still’ one­self. Church is where peo­ple can re­serve time from their busy lives, and in that still­ness they can hear that in­ner voice, be­come more com­fort­able with their in­ner lives and iden­tify those things that make our hearts sing. When we do that, we can grow a lovely gar­den to­gether!”

The Covenant­ing Ser­vice for Rev­erend Lee Ann Hogle is tak­ing place this Sun­day, Novem­ber 3rd, 3:00 pm, at St’ Paul’s United Church, in Ma­gog. Pa­tri­cia Lis­son will be the guest preacher. Re­fresh­ments will fol­low the ser­vice and ev­ery­one is wel­come.

Photo Mike McLauch­lan

Rev­erend Lee Ann Hogle, seen here in Ma­gog, is the new United Church Min­is­ter of Ayer’s Cliff, Ge­orgeville and Ma­gog.

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