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A Collection of Half-Time Jobs



Monday, April 3, 2017

I tell my friends that I currently have four half-time jobs.  And no, that’s not a typo.

Mostly, I say it to be funny,
but there is at least a grain of truth.  Technically, three of the “jobs” are unpaid volunteer activities, and only one is paid employment, but all four place pretty legitimate demands on my time, and as a result my days are full!  In fact, the only reason I can type this update is because I have taken my car in for routine servicing, and I have a couple of blissfully unstructured hours in the service department’s waiting room, which I decided to devote to this oft-neglected blog!

So, what are those four “half-time” jobs?

1. The parish of St. Mary, Charleswood

This is the one formal and paid position: priestly leadership in an Anglican congregation, while the people prepare to call a new permanent Rector.1  I lead worship and preach, Sunday by Sunday, and attend to the day-to-day administration.  In the first two months, I’ve averaged 21.7 hours per week, which makes it almost exactly half-time.  But, given that I missed three Sundays – having to complete some prior commitments in other churches – and given that the intensity of Holy Week and Easter is yet to come – it looks like the position will take up quite a bit more than half of my days.

But it is interesting and enjoyable.  In fact, at first I felt energized and youthful, being “back at work,” in my lifetime vocation – although I have to admit that as the weeks go by I’m beginning to tire, especially given the three other “half-time” positions...

2. Manitoba Medical Services Foundation (“MMSF”)

I joined the Board of Directors of this organization in 2012. 2  It’s not really “half-time,” but the duties come in spurts – most intensively in the fall, when young medical researchers, who have applied to us for financial support, meet with teams of board members and explain their proposals.  I enjoy these interviews immensely, for they give a fascinating glimpse of what the bright young scientists of the future are up to.

In the winter and spring there are receptions for the successful applicants, and the year-round necessity of public relations: communicating the achievements of the people we have supported – some of whom have gone on to become major leaders in Manitoba’s medical community.  I sit on the Foundation’s Public Relations committee, which has recently been engaged in a full-fledged review and overhaul of the MMSF website.  During the same period that I began work at St. Mary’s, there have been a number of meetings in connection with that website review.

3. RCMP Veterans’ Association of Manitoba

In October 2016, when I was as yet unaware that the job at St. Mary’s was in my future, I became chaplain to the RCMP vets.  This is a group of retired RCMP officers, who meet monthly for friendship and personal development, and who feel the need to have a spiritual “presence” in their fellowship.  It’s probably a holdover from the days when religion was far more universally respected in Canada than it is now, but police forces have chaplains on duty, and the retired ones see no need to discontinue the practice.

I share the chaplain duties with my colleague, Canon Murray Still, so that it won’t be too onerous for either of us.  We attend the monthly meetings, lead prayers, are available for spiritual counsel, and are often invited to preside or speak at the funerals of members.

4. What I used to do all the time: personal friendship and counsel

My favourite occupation prior to going to St. Mary’s was to meet one-on-one with a wide assortment of people.  A handful of them are just friends – men my age with whom I have interests and intellectual activities in common, and various clergy.  As well, there are people who seek spiritual advice and counsel from this old Christian.  And there are younger clergy who see me as something of a mentor.  My weeks used to be filled with coffee and/or lunch dates with all these people.  Now, while there are some for whom it is important, indeed essential, that the get-togethers continue, others find themselves facing much longer intervals between visits.  And I regret that.


There’s more – that can’t exactly be classified in the four “jobs” above; mostly committees and working groups on which I serve in our diocese. 3

And then there is the personal and family-based activity: Heather and I are currently helping a dear friend move from a large home – which she is unable to maintain – to a delightful 55+ apartment.  Her friends and I have been “building” IKEA furniture for her new digs.

And, as a couple, we also try to keep in regular touch with a variety of friends – though that is certainly threatened by all my employments, not to mention the fact that Heather – despite being retired – is seeing a number of clients, plus giving lectures on wills and powers of attorney to various community groups.

Our daughter, Rachael, in California, is expecting a baby, due in June.  And our oldest grandchild, Markus, is graduating from Ryerson University, around the same time.  We shall try to be present for both important milestones.  I have asked for time off from St. Mary’s, so Heather and I can go first to Toronto, for the grad, then to California for the birth.  Of course, while graduation days generally are fixed well in advance, the arrival of a baby is not subject to a strict timetable, so these plans are subject to change without warning!

So there you have it – four “half-time” jobs, plus a bunch of other stuff!


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FOOTNOTES:

1  I posted a note about the appointment here.  The parish website can be viewed here.
Click here to get back to the narrative.

2  In 2012, when I joined the board, I described the work of the foundation in a blog entry, which you can access here.
Click here to get back to the narrative.

3  “Which committees and working groups?” you might ask:  The Board on Canons and Rules of Order; the Manitoba Interfaith Stewardship Link; a committee on church governance revision, called the “B-15 Working Group”, and while I am at St. Mary’s, I am automatically a member of the Assiniboia Deanery, and the Charleswood Ministerial Association..
Click here to get back to the narrative.



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