The 11th R. Alex Sim Rural Ministry 2016

November 14-16
Crossroads United Church

So many of our rural churches have been faithful, thriving witnesses for 100, 150 or even 200 years. There have been many disappointments and losses, but despite numerous dire predictions and gloomy reports over the last several decades, the Church has not disappeared from the rural scene. Indeed there are hundreds of thriving, faithful, resilient communities proclaiming Jesus Christ and carrying God’s Mission into their local contexts. We’re still here!
For over 20 years this symposium has always been about sharing our successes, our joys our struggles and our failures as we strive to be faithful leaders of the Rural Church into the next 100 years! Join us as we look to God’s future.


Rural Church into the next 100 years



Canon David Robinson is Director of Congregational Development for the Anglican Diocese of Toronto. He has been a member of the Diocesan Congregational Development team for 26 years serving portfolios in Youth and Young Adult Ministry; Rural Ministry Support; Conflict Management and Congregational Health.

Currently Dave’s responsibilities include support of mission strategy, reconfiguration and amalgamation of congregations and Natural Church Development as well as managing a team of 5 staff and a strong volunteer corps of 65 trained facilitators and consultants. Born and raised in the southern Ontario area, Dave spends his free time on the water as an avid sailor, wilderness canoeist and amateur boat-builder. He lives in Toronto with his spouse, The Rev. Canon Heather McCance, and together they support a 16-year-old daughter, a 14-year-old mutt, an 11 year-old cat and a 38-year-old sailboat.

Rev. Dr. Christine O’Reilly is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Canada. She has served the Thedford and Watford Pastoral Charge, in southwestern Ontario, since 1988. Chris is a graduate of Knox College and has a D. Min. in Rural Ministry from Austin Theological Seminary. She has co-directed three Worship Renewal Grant Projects (Calvin College) that focused on training lay people to plan and lead worship services and to preach and is the co-author of “Where Twenty or Thirty Are Gathered: Worship in Small Membership Churches.”

Chris values worship that engages and encourages, and offers a message of hope, grace and truth through praise, prayer and the scriptures preached. She loves music, and brings traditional and contemporary hymns and songs to worship weekly. Leading Bible study, working with Divorce Care, Grief Share and Single & Parenting groups, offering pastoral care at times of crisis and loss, rural church issues, and helping people grow in their faith are important aspects of her ministry. Chris also loves to have fun! She is married to Jesse, has a daughter Clare, and includes two dogs as family members. Chris plays guitar, and enjoys playing ice hockey, ball hockey and two-pitch softball. Chris and Jesse are devoted Sarnia Sting fans!

R. Alex Sim Rural Ministry Symposium

The R. Alex Sim Rural Ministry Symposium is held biennially, under the auspices of Queen’s Theological College, Kingston, to nurture and empower rural churches. It is co-ordinated by an ecumenical Planning Committee, which includes members from Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Salvation Army and United Churches. The location of the symposia alternates between eastern Ontario and Southwestern Ontario.

R. Alex Sim was a rural sociologist and educator whose life epitomized concern for, and a commitment to, rural Canada and its people. In recognition of his interests and support of rural communities and the rural church, these ongoing Rural Ministry Symposia have been named in his honour.

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