Knox’s Gift to Ryan Slifka

ryan-slifka-stole-350pxGood news!

Some of you will remember Ryan Slifka.  Ryan is being ordained on May 25th and the beautiful stole I had at our worship service a couple of weeks ago is Knox’s gift to Ryan on this joyous occasion.

Knox members were so generous in their contributions towards the stole that I was also able to send a gift card that will surely help out as the young family settles in their new home.

When Ryan and his wife Cheyenne first came to Knox it was to attend a concert. They were intrigued by the bookmarks that said that Knox was “an inclusive community”. They liked what Knox was about and started attending Sunday services. Neither had ever attended church services as children, so this was a new experience.

They talked with one of our former ministers, Drew Strickland, and they felt that he truly welcomed them.  Six months later, they made the decision to be baptized.

Here are the words that were spoken by Drew:

“You have made a commitment to become followers of Jesus, joining the communion of saints, those of the past, present and future. You have been called to conform your lives to Christ in all ways”.

Cheyenne and Ryan said,

“Little did we know that such a decision as to be baptized would completely change the trajectory of our lives. It called into question everything we thought we understood about the world”.

Ryan and Cheyenne attended the Pride Parade and met Dan Moulton, Don Smith and Helen Young. From that meeting they became very involved in Knox Centre, with Ryan eventually chairing the committee. Ryan had and still has a love for and commitment to building community, especially through gathering together to enjoy healthy nutritious food. Ryan brought the Knox Community Agricultural Program to Knox and many of us enjoyed organic vegetables delivered to Knox every week for a whole summer. I remember Ryan, his wife Cheyenne and their newborn son Walt on those summer Saturday mornings as the grownups coordinated the vegetable distribution.

Ryan felt called to explore becoming a minister. He started the discernment process, which is required for every potential minister in the United Church. Ryan’s candidacy was heartily endorsed by his discernment committee and the congregation. He was on his way.  Ryan completed his studies in theology at Vancouver School of Theology this spring.

Ryan accepted a call to St. George United Church in Courtenay, BC on Vancouver Island, where he will start on July 1st of this year.

We wish Ryan, Cheyenne, Walt and the latest addition Abraham, all the best as they start this new chapter in their lives!

Margaret Miyagishima
Knox board chair

A recent photo of Ryan and family, standing in front of Vancouver School of Theology on the day it snowed in Vancouver this year

A recent photo of Ryan and family, standing in front of Vancouver School of Theology on the day it snowed in Vancouver this year

Here is Ryan’s response to his gift from Knox:

Dear Knox family,

Greetings and peace to everyone out in Calgary! I am writing because I recently received, by mail, a wonderful gift and a card addressed to me from Knox on the occasion of my ordination on May 25th at the B.C. Conference Annual General Meeting. I was so pleased and so touched by both gifts, and Cheyenne, Walt, Abraham and I are truly grateful.

I am writing this to you now, rather than after the Conference because I know that somehow I might forget about it during our move. As you may know, I have been called as the Minister of Word, Sacrament, and Pastoral Care to St. George’s United Church in Courtenay, B.C. on Vancouver Island. We are making the move in the midst of the Conference that I will be ordained at, so it will be a hectic time. As such, I thought I would send this letter sooner, rather than later!

On behalf of our whole family, thank you all, once again, for being such a big part of our journeys on the life of faith, and mine from disciple of Jesus to Minister of the Gospel. We wish you could share the ordination with us (Drew Strickland will be there, however), but know you will be with us in spirit.

With thanks in the Peace of Christ,
Ryan Slifka
Easter Season, 2014

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