Faith News Niagara presents another instalment of "5 Questions", the continuing segment where readers can get to know the local ministers of the region a little better.
Today's 5 Questions article with Heather Weaver-Orosz is from an interview from March, 2017.
1 What is your name, the name of your church ministry, and the length of time you've been at that ministry.
My name is Heather Weaver-Orosz, and I serve at Trinity United Church in Beamsville, and I've been there since May of 2015.
2 What is your favourite pastime: reading, sports, outdoors, etc.
I have a number (of pastimes). Probably my most favourite is gardening, which is rather seasonal. But anything that's done outside, I really enjoy.
As a family, we try to do things such as birding, for example— which again, is rather seasonal. But (we love) anything outdoor related; lots of walking, hiking, canoeing, etc.
3 Favourite all time (or current) Bible book, Bible story, or Bible passage, and why.
I would say that one of the Bible passages I come back to often is the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55)— Mary’s Song, when she accepted what God put upon her, to bear this extraordinary love.
She said— I imagine with great wrestling— "here I am, a servant of the Lord, let it be with me according to your will". Just that profound surrender… and yet offering up what I feel is great strength, conviction and belief that God had entrusted her with this history-changing moment. So just the power and the promise of what God bestows on people who presume themselves to be out of the way, not part of the social spotlight. But God is deeply at work in each and every one of us. So that was very significant for me when I accepted a call into ministry because I came from lots of years of presuming that was for someone else.
4 Briefly describe the series of events that brought you to your church, your current role, ministry in general.
So as I said, I've been here since May of 2015. My call to ministry, that moment of acceptance, actually began in 1996. I had been wrestling with my call— this is dealing more with ministry in general— I had been wrestling with my call, and my role in the church since I was in my late teens, I think for lots of reasons… but largely, by presuming that this was for someone else, and partly because of the culture that was dominant for me in my first nine or ten years. I never really saw this (call) as a reality for me, even though I had strong role models— women and men, serving in ministry— who affirmed my gifts and were encouraging me to go in that direction. I just said, essentially, thank you, but no… I'm going to be a lawyer. And then again, thinking, oh no, I'm not going to be a lawyer, that's too combative for me and my nature. I'm going to be a teacher.
So I finished university and went to Teacher’s College, and I taught high school in Huron County for the year that we were engaged. And there was one day in the midst of what was a great year— I really loved teaching, and was in my element— but I knew it wasn't what I was meant to do for my whole life.
So life circumstances around marriage, and where we were going to live, meant that I gave up my teaching job, which was a crazy thing to do in that era— that was in 1995, '96— and moved to Hamilton after we got married. It was only a couple of months after we were married, when I was doing some reading, I had a very clear conversation with God about what I was meant to do and be. And that's just set myself and my husband Michael on a new trajectory that was scary, but wonderful.
Then I entered the process for ministry candidacy through the United Church of Canada, had a couple of kids along the way, and extended my education program to six years instead of four. We went out to the Woodstock area when I was first ordained, stayed there for three years, then came to Burlington to work part-time in a church in the downtown core, which is why we live in Burlington. I then had a different stopping places along the way, meeting extraordinary people, and then eventually accepted this call to start in May of 2015. But because of the kids' ages, and where they're at— they're now in Grade 8 and Grade 11— it was important for us to stay put in their schools for stability. So for now, I drive the half hour out when I commute. And the congregation has been really wonderful about that. And we're settling in. This is our church home. And I'm happy here. So it's been quite a journey, but good.
5 Briefly describe how you met Jesus.
I was introduced to Jesus… I can't think of a time when he wasn't present in my family, in the people closest by me. My immediate family closest to me, my parents, and my dad's parents, lived next door to us. They were from a reformed Mennonite community. Their every day existence defined discipleship to me. I know that now, but didn't at the time. They're not a verbose community, if you know that sect of Mennonites at all. They're very quiet in their faith. Even at their mealtimes they pray silently, praying before and after. And when they're in their own homes they get down on their knees to pray, even at meal times. So those core pieces of daily unfolding were really crucial in pointing to someone beyond myself, and knowing that Jesus is God; that Jesus is a walking representation of God here on earth, and knowing how we are to live and be and conduct ourselves, in all matters. There was an integrity of their faith that just completely carried through.
My mom was raised Scots Presbyterian before she emigrated, and that melded with my dad's culture. Even though he never joined that church, I was very heavily influenced by them. I never attended Sunday School, that’s just not part of the reformed Mennonite culture.
So (that combined culture) was very much part of home identity, home culture… (it was part of) everything from evening Bible stories and prayers, to matters of discipline, to asking what would Jesus want you to do.
So I can't name, and I guess it's partly our tradition in the United Church, in more reformed traditions… I can't name one singular moment of conversion. (I can't) say there was a time when I didn't know Jesus, and then suddenly, I did. But there's always been ongoing moments of greater revelation.