Reverend Mary White
Powell River United Church Minister
I was born in Halifax. Nova Scotia and raised in Shearwater -- an armed forces base just outside of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
My father was an aircraft technician and my mother was a stay-at-home mom. I have three sibling -- two brothers and a sister. My older brother worked for many years in the BC forest industry as a heavy duty mechanic, my sister was a receptionist for a real estate company, and my youngest brother is a custodian for a laboratory research company.
I had an active child hood and played most sports. I loved to run everywhere. Often when I had five minutes to get to school, which was fifteen minutes away, I would run and talk with God: "Come on, God, let's get going and help me get there before the bell rings."
I was very competitive and in retrospect, I now understand why I was always first in the track and field Sports Day events.
Since the beginning of my memory, I have sensed a presence with me. At the age of one month, I was baptised Roman Catholic; later I attended catechism classes, taught by nuns, twice a week; went to confession on Saturday evenings and communion every Sunday. God has always been part of my life and with me. Those times when I made mistakes were the times when I failed to recognize God's presence.
Around age seven, during a home visit by the local pries, my mother mentioned to him that I would probably be a nun. I recall thinking at the time that I wanted to be a priest.
Following high school, I worked as a cashier at a department store until I married at an early age. We divorced eight years later. We have two children together.
When my present partner and I talked about having children, he explained to me that he never had a desire to bring more children into the world because there are so many children already here needing a home. Grant also said that if people have more children than there are parents, then they tend to take over.
We decided to adopt two, but ended up adopting three. He was right; they did take over, but in so many good ways. It hasn't always been easy, but the experience has taught me that love is an action word.
In retrospect, I recognize that becoming a minister was meant to be; life choices - education and church involvement - naturally flowed toward ministry.
It took several years to come to terms with my Roman Catholic (RC) upbringing. Being a non-judgmental liberalist, I accepted the fact that there was so much of the RC doctrine that I was unable to embrace. And therefore could not possibly call myself a Roman Catholic.
The first time I walked into a United Church, I felt at home and thank God for leading me to this Christian denomination.
The one thing that surprised me about theology school was the fact that the professors were ecumenical. I took classes taught by RC priests and nuns, and United Church of Canada, Presbyterian and Anglican Ministers. Also, we ecumenical students studied the same courses and presided at worship together.
My call to Powell River United Church is very much an opportunity to utilize not only my experience as a minister, but also skills developed during many years of working with organizations as Executive Director and Human Resource Consultant.
I embrace change and welcome new challenges. More than any other UCC opportunity, PRUC is the right fit for the abilities I offer. god continues to lead me to where I am supposed to be.
It has been our family tradition to reside in smaller communities. This is for a reason, and Powell River did not disappoint.
We love that people are familiar. They say "good morning", genuinely ask "how are you?" and smile. The pace of life is much slower than in larger cities, which allows us time to notice the activities in the community.
I appreciate that those of thee congregation whom I met were welcoming, open and forthcoming with their perceptions of PRUC.
I feel that my choice to work with the congregation as we journey forward, God being our helper, has been an informed decision.