In 1995, when I was still a Presbyterian minister in Nova Scotia, Canada, I realized I had come to the end of my rope. I had planted a Presbyterian church in 1993 with hopes of it being free of all the trappings of institutional Christianity that I had experienced up until then. I wanted it to be simple, a free gathering of people with what I think is a simple combination of passionate worship with deep wisdom, with love as the prevailing glue. I've since come to learn that this combination is almost impossible to find, and even more impossible to provide. Anyway, just months after planting the church, I fell into deep despair because the church had fallen into the same old rut of institutional Presbyterian Christianity. I simply couldn't do it anymore.
Then one night I had a dream in which all I heard was a voice that said, "It's time!" So I met with the elders. I shared my dream with the elders and explained to them what it meant to me. I awakened from the dream with the joyful realization that I wasn't trapped. I could be who I wanted to be without fear, and I could walk my own path. I told the elders that I wanted to strip down to the essential, to get rid of all the trappings, to free ourselves of all the crap that had accumulated and get back to the basics again. Or, I said, I will have to resign and leave.
They weren't long in deciding that it would be better for me to leave. But I didn't care. I would walk away from my secure salary, my pension, my career, everything. Money no longer held lordship over me. I was free and I was going to live freely. Never again would I allow myself to become a victim of a system again. I would no longer willingly submit myself to the principalities and the powers, but would continually live in my own freedom, and I would help others to live in theirs.
I heard rumors that people thought I'd gone crazy. Maybe I did, but I wasn't going back. Lisa and I sold lots of what we had, put the rest in storage, packed our three young kids in our van and drove away. We didn't know where we were going. We just left. Eventually, a few months later, we would find ourselves here, at Rothesay Vineyard, to become members of this church.
Little did we know that one year later I would be asked to take over as pastor of this church.