I'm Rev. Dr. Cheryl Gaver, the Presbytery Ministry Animator for the Presbyteries of Ottawa and Seaway-Glengarry, Presbyterian minister, Piano (and theory) teacher, and Research Associate with the University of Ottawa's InterCulture Research Group.
Background: Born in Montréal, Québec and raised in Préville on Montréal's South Shore, I moved to Ontario in 1978, eventually settling in Oakville where I lived on-and-off until 2015 when I moved to Prescott with my chihuahua, Peanut.
Education: Over the years, I've earned a number of degrees and certificates (from Sheridan College and Ryerson University):
-B.A. in French Literature from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY (1975);
-M.Div. from Knox College in Toronto (1982);
-M.A. in Religion & Culture from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo (2005);
-Post-Graduate Diploma from the Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations in Cambridge, England (2005); and
-Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Ottawa in 2011.
My doctoral thesis looked at the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in northern Anglican congregations in the post-residential school era, and discovered that - regardless of any goodwill or still-present racist tendencies - cultural differences continue to challenge that relationship.
Having worked in multicultural environments, I became interested in world religions. My particular interest is in how cultures shape religions or - to put it another way - how religions change as they spread from culture to culture. I am focused on different expressions of Christianity, specifically, on Indigenous-influenced Christianity.
Religion: Religion has always been an important part of my life but I'm just about the only Presbyterian in my family. My father was a Methodist from Ohio, while my mother (also from Ohio) belonged to the Church of Christ. I grew up in the United Church of Canada, but also attended, for a couple of years, a Catholic school to learn French and picked up a love for some Catholic liturgies and traditions. As a teenager, I frequently attended an Anglican church. One Presbyterian youth-event, however, changed my life and led me to the Presbyterian Church.
Work: Ordained in the Presbyterian Church in 1982, I served as minister in Norwich-Bookton for a couple of years. Since then, I have taught a variety of courses (World Religions, Indigenous studies, Global Studies, and Business English) at Sheridan College, the University of Ottawa, and Wilfrid Laurier University; served as Youth Ministry Co-ordinator in an Anglican Church in Oakville; led Bible studies and confirmation classes at a Presbyterian Church in Oakville; and worked as Administrator, database designer and branch webmaster at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) in Mississauga.
Presbytery Ministry Animator:God works in mysterious ways! For much of my life I was torn between ministry and teaching - where was God calling me? Now, after years, I find myself called to a position in the Presbyterian Church that allows me to combine my passions: ministry and teaching!
You might be asking yourself,"Just what is a Presbytery Ministry Animator?" Good question, and it's one I've been asking myself for a while now. The position is supported in part by The Presbyterian Church in Canada's Life and Mission Agency. The job description states that this is a half-time position, and that the challenge is to help congregations, camps and para-church organizations "grow disciples of Jesus Christ," and recognizes that this requires a comprehensive and cooperative approach:
OK - so that's the official description, but what does this really mean in practice?
The summer of 2016, Marian Mendoza (LIT Director), Mackenzie Palmer (LIT Participant-Observer), and I (LIT Director) provided the leadership training program for four LITs at Gracefield Christian Camp & Retreat Centre, ensuring that we also met the requirements set by L'Association des Camps du Québec.
The LITs earned their Emergency First Aid certificate, and their Level 3 or 4 of the Ontario Recreational Canoeing and Kayaking Association (ORCKA) program. They developed leadership skills, led worship, played, created a map to show where all Gracefield campers come from, and interned for a week as Camp Counsellors. They survived sprained ankles, poison ivy and an intense program, and shared their laughter, generous spirits, and many talents.
This year, I am leading an LIT session, and am serving as chaplain for a week at Gracefield.
I have been meeting with clergy, elders, and congregations to explore how they can respond to changing demographics and other challenges as faithful witnesses to the Gospel and what help they may need from me. This includes developing workshops (e.g., Understanding and Interpreting the Bible and Visioning the 21st Century Church)and training programs (e.g., Pastoral Care and You're an Elder - Now What?) and visiting congregations as part of the Presbytery's Visitation Team.
As Chair of the Presbytery of Ottawa's Youth Working Group, I help plan and coordinate 4-6 presbytery-wide youth activities. Another part of being Presbytery Ministry Animator includes meeting with youth leaders and youth groups to explore challenges they are experiencing and ways in which I can best support them. Finally, I keep in touch with other youth-oriented organizations - including Christian groups at local colleges and universities - to explore ways of working together to reach youth and young adults with the Gospel and love of God.
I don't preach every Sunday and used to put copies of my sermons on my Linkedin page when I did but think that here is a better spot for them:
|Apr 22||1 Jn 3:16-24||What's Love to You?|
|Apr 8||1 Jn 1:1-2:2||Now What?|
|Apr 1||Mk 16:1-8||Terrified or Awed? Easter's Challenge|
|Mar 30||Mk 15:16-41||If Symbols Could Talk: 7 Meditations for Good Friday|
|Feb 4||Mk 1:29-39||Turning to Hope|
|Oct 8||Ex 20:1-20, Mt 21:33-46||God in Our Hip Pocket?|
|Sep 24||Mt 20:1-16||Let Me Count the Ways|
|Aug 27||Ex 1:8-20 / Rom 12:1-2 / Mt 16:13-20||Conformed, Transformed or Simply Bewildered?|
|Aug 13||Mt 14:22-33||Bouncing Faith|
|Jul 30||Mt 13:31-33, 44-52||A Gift Beyond Compare|
|Jul 23||Mt 13:24-30, 36-43||Impatiently Yours|
|Jul 9||Rom 7:15-25||Hope for a "Lost" Cause?|
|Jun 25||Gen 21:8-21 / Mt 10:24-39||Confusing Voices - Confusing Choices|
|Jun 11||Gen 12:1-9||Unexpected Calling|
|Mar 26||1 Sam 16:1-13 /Jn 9:1-41||Eyeglasses from God|
|Jan 29||1 Cor 1:18-31
||What Makes Us Special?
As you might imagine from my brief bio, I have a rather varied background and am eclectic in my interests. It should not be surprising to discover that I have developed a number of websites on very different topics. Here they are (in alphabetical order):
I grew up working in the family business. Collectors' Research Limited (CRL) was a numismatic company specialising in foreign coins. Our ads included tidbits about coin collecting. In addition, we published a number of booklets on coins. I am in the process of making this material available online. Check out my Numismatic website
On these pages, you can learn about my roots: Gaver, Lasure, Kinsman, Moody, etc.: Genealogy Pages. Note: It's been a long time since I've updated these pages.
I became active in the InterCulture Research Centre at the University of Ottawa while working on my doctorate, and am the centre's webmaster. Check out InterCulture's Website. Note: An updated website is in the works but has yet to be approved and officially released.
On these pages, you can learn about the pets I have had: Pets.
Have questions or suggestions? Want to contact me? Simply fill in the form below and send it!
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