We are pleased to introduce The Reverend Jim Hatherly, a United Church minister for 34 years. Jim has served in rural, suburban, and overseas ministries and comes most recently from almost seven years of service as a prison chaplain in Manitoba. Jim’s prison ministry focused on interdisciplinary approaches to working with those struggling with mental illness, addictions, and with sex offenders. Jim is very pleased to be with the team at First, tapping back into his family and ministry roots here, including street ministry work on the Downtown Eastside. He is looking forward to helping provide a space for those seeking “safety and dignity for body and soul.” Jim was drawn to this work after a transformative moment on the DTES many years ago:
Something happened to me in the DTES that transformed the way I experienced the world and challenged me to be more honest with myself, to take risks, to abandon many of my notions of where God was safely and predictably housed. I recall a visit one evening many years ago to the Balmoral Hotel with my colleague Henri. I was to meet up with a person whom I had met on the street earlier in the day. He never showed up but Henri and I hung around. A properly dressed woman was sitting at an adjoining table. We discussed together why she would be there and he got up the courage to approach her. “If you don’t mind me asking, what are you doing in this unholy place?” She replied “young man don’t you know the Holy is everywhere?” I am persuaded that was a moment of conversion for me, made evident time and again including during my years in prison ministry. I expect to find it true again on the street, in the ‘church’, and to be witness to what the Holy One may be up to.
We welcome Jim back to Vancouver and take heart from his reminder that we are all loved and all redeemable. We look forward to connecting over our experiences of the sacred, perhaps in more unexpected places!
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