One-time Anglican native co-ordinator moves to United Church

If Rev. Laverne Jacobs’ career were a poem, it would most certainly follow an ABAB meter: for at least the second time in his career, he is repeating himself.

Mr. Jacobs recently resigned his ministries at both the United and Anglican churches in his home community of Walpole Island – positions which he has held since 1996 and, prior to that, from 1975-82. He has accepted the position of native ministries co-ordinator at the national office of the United Church of Canada, a position he held at the Anglican Church of Canada from 1987-1996.

Parish ministry, native co-ordinator, parish ministry, native co-ordinator.

The position is a new one for the United Church, whose national office is in west end Toronto. Mr. Jacobs saw the advertisement for the job and realized his background as a national native ministry co-ordinator for the Anglican church made him a likely candidate. The United Church agreed. 

He starts Nov. 1.

“I recognized that I do have the skills to do the job and it is work that I enjoy, though it will be different,” said Mr. Jacobs, who saw different challenges working in congregational ministry in an aboriginal community. The focus there, he said, was always on survival.

Mr. Jacobs says being the first to hold the United Church position will be daunting but exciting.

“I won’t be dealing with people saying ‘we have always done it this way,'” he said. Though he will work with the church’s existing Native ministry initiatives, Mr. Jacobs anticipates “a lot of freedom” in deciding where to focus his efforts. One item he hopes to work on is bringing native congregations together into regional native conferences. Some native congregations, said Mr. Jacobs, do not participate in their presbyteries (regional groupings like Anglican dioceses) since they do not have much in common with other non-native congregations.

“What excites me about having a position at the United Church will provide a lot of opportunity for ecumenical work,” said Mr. Jacobs.

He hopes to work closely with the Anglican Church of Canada’s indigenous ministries co-ordinator, Donna Bomberry: “She and I are on the same wavelength and I really believe the two churches should be working together and sharing resources so we aren’t reinventing the wheel.”

A graduate of the University of Windsor and Huron College, Mr. Jacobs was ordained to the priesthood in 1975. He is on leave from the Anglican diocese of Huron but will continue to attend Walpole Island’s St. John the Baptist Anglican Church. He also hopes to remain active with Huron’s native council.

United Church of Canada

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