From the al­tar to the am­bu­lance

A ca­reer change for a Pen­te­costal pas­tor


Pas­tor Barry Hutchings has ex­changed his Bi­ble for a stetho­scope. As an Emer­gency Med­i­cal Re­spon­der, his pul­pit is now an am­bu­lance.

It’s not that the 50-year-old min­is­ter no longer has any use for the Bi­ble. To the con­trary, the Good Book con­tin­ues to hold pride of place in his life. But he has switched ca­reers at an age when many peo­ple are fondly think­ing about re­tire­ment.

In­stead of tak­ing the spir­i­tual pulse of his con­gre­ga­tions, as he has been do­ing for 22 years, Barry is now tak­ing the phys­i­cal pulse of those who are fac­ing med­i­cal emer­gen­cies.

Barry has lived in Clarke’s Beach since 2004, when he be­came pas­tor of the Pen­te­costal Taber­na­cle.

For those who are un­fa­mil­iar with the work­ings of the Pen­te­costal As­sem­blies of New­found­land and Labrador, church mem­bers vote in a pas­tor for an ini­tial six-year term. Af­ter that, he is free to al­low his name to stand for an ad­di­tional three-year term, again to be rat­i­fied by a mem­ber­ship vote.

Ear­lier this year, when his six-year ten­ure ex­pired, Barry de­cided to let his name stand for a sec­ond term. How­ever, the vote didn’t go in his favour.

“ Sud­denly,” he ad­mits, “ your ca­reer’s about to end, your home and in­come are gone, and you’re faced with un­wanted change.”

Still, he elected to re­main in the town. His de­ci­sion called for noth­ing less than a ma­jor ca­reer change.

Barry ex­plains his mo­tive for be­com­ing an EMR. “ You’re lead­ing in wor­ship in a ser­vice on Sun­day morn­ing,” he says. “Oc­ca­sion­ally you hear a siren. It awak­ens you to the fact that there are many needs out­side the four walls of the church.”

He knew that, as an EMR, he could con­tinue liv­ing in Clarke’s Beach. “I love the area,” he says with ob­vi­ous pride, “and have a strong af­fec­tion for the won­der­ful peo­ple here.”

An EMR gives him what he calls “an av­enue that en­ables me to con­tinue to care for peo­ple.” As a peo­ple per­son, he has no greater de­sire than to be in con­tact with peo­ple. “I don’t like the idea of aban­don­ing the friend­ships and re­la­tion­ships I’ve made through the years.”

Fi­nally, as an EMR, he doesn’t have to up­root his daugh­ters, Katie and Ka­t­rina, who are nicely set­tled in the town.

A vo­ca­tion as an EMR is a per­fect fit for Barry. “ Your first and fore­most re­spon­si­bil­ity is treat­ing med­i­cal emer­gency cases,” he says. “ You get to know them, show­ing them love and re­spect. It broad­ens my hori­zons.

“As a pas­tor, it’s all too easy to fo­cus only on peo­ple in­side your church, whereas as an EMR, you tend to the needs of peo­ple from a broader per­spec­tive.”

Hav­ing com­pleted the on­line EMR course, Barry is now em­ployed with a lo­cal am­bu­lance ser­vice.

“ The tran­si­tion from pas­tor to EMR has been rel­a­tively easy,” he says.

“ For some years,” he adds, “ it’s been my de­sire to go be­yond the con­fines of the church walls, to be a part of the wider com­mu­nity, with­out ref­er­ence to re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tion or so­cial or cul­tural back­ground.

“I’m now in a po­si­tion to speak into peo­ple’s lives from a new per­spec­tive, us­ing a new par­a­digm. I sim­ply want my life to be a mes­sage of com­pas­sion to the peo­ple I en­counter on a daily ba­sis.”

Barry has been called many things over the years, in­clud­ing Pas­tor, Reverend and Man-of-the-cloth. But one of his lat­est - and favourite - nick­names is “ Road Rev.” You see, he’s a biker, who takes great pride in his mo­tor­cy­cle. He and Paula are fre­quently seen driv­ing the roads hither and yon.

“Peo­ple rec­og­nize me as a min­is­ter on a mo­tor­cy­cle. Lots of times, when they see me com­ing, they’ll say, ‘ Here comes the Road Rev.’

“Ac­tu­ally,” he adds with a laugh, “ I’m gonna get a patch with my nick­name and put it on the back of my jacket!”

So, if you see Barry the Road Rev. and his Mis­sis fly­ing by on bike some­time, why not wave to them, for some­day you may have rea­son to meet Barry the EMR?

Photo by Bur­ton K. Janes/The Com­pass Barry Hutchings stands in front of an am­bu­lance in Clarke’s Beach last week. Hutchings, a long-time Pen­te­costal pas­tor, has made the tran­si­tion from the pul­pit to emer­gency med­i­cal re­spon­der. The Good Book, shown here in his hand, is never far away.

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