Doug Warren to retire as minister at Wall Street Church

Doug Warren started his career as a minister, left the church to pursue other professions and then, when most people are thinking about retirement, came back to the ministry.

Warren, who has been a minister at Wall Street United Church for the past nine years, will officially lead his last service there on Easter Sunday (April 24).

"Theologically, Easter represents resurrection and new life and, in retirement, I will head into a new life," said Warren.

Born and raised in Ottawa, Warren graduated from Glebe Collegiate Institute before attending Houghton College in New York State. There he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and English. After graduation, Warren decided he wanted to see more of the world and went to Hong Kong, which was still a British colony.

"I ran out of money so I taught English at a school for two years," he said.

Returning to Canada, he became an ordained minister in the Free Methodist Church in 1963. After taking advanced theological studies, he was appointed chaplain of Lorne Park College outside of Toronto. Based on his experiences teaching in Hong Kong, Warren started a program for young people graduating from junior college in which they could participate in a self-sustaining ministry.

"These ministries were not evangelical but rather having those entering the program do some good in the world," he said.

Officials at the Free Methodist Church were so impressed with the program they had Warren design the Volunteers In Service Abroad or VISA initiative which still exists. But being a minister in the Free Methodist Church wasn't a good fit for Warren, who left the ministry and, being proficient in playing piano, started on a musical career.

For the next 16 years he played piano at cocktail lounges and bars throughout Canada with most of his time spent at the Palliser Hotel in Calgary. Then he was asked to return to the family business, a men's clothing store chain in Ottawa which has gone under the names Warren's Men's Wear, House of Britches and now just Warren's. At one time the family operated 13 stores in Ottawa but that number has been reduced to three. Warren worked at the clothing stores for seven years. The business has remained in the family with Warren's nephew now operating the stores.

After leaving the business, Warren was first on the advisory board of Algonquin College and then was invited to teach at the school. Thoroughly enjoying teaching, Warren said after conducting classes, "I would be as high as a kite."

But after three years at the school, Warren said God kept asking him, "Wouldn't you rather be teaching about life?" At that point, he was 55 but decided to become an active part of the ministry again. Warren joined the United Church "where I could serve with integrity because of the church's inclusiveness."

Under the church's requirements, Warren had to have a Master of Divinity degree, so he returned to school, attending Queen's University's Theological College. He was first introduced to the Brockville area while still a student minister and preached at Spencerville and Roebuck United Churches. He also served as a student minister for one year at Wall Street United Church before receiving his university degree.

While he was now qualified to preach in a United Church, he did not believe it would be at Wall Street because church rules did not allow a student minister at a church to return as a minister at that same congregation. However, Rev. Dr. Alan Bennett, then minister of Wall Street, encouraged him to apply for a staff position at the church. He was accepted by church officials who considered him a supply minister from another denomination.

After Bennett retired from the ministry, Rev. Kimberley Heath joined the staff at Wall Street three years ago. With a congregation of over 500 families, "the church is too large for just one minister," said Warren.

Assisted by a second minister, Warren had some time to pursue another of his interests - helping orphaned children in Kenya. He journeyed to Kenya in 2004 to visit his cousin, John West, who was director of logistics of East Africa for the International Committee of the Red Cross. While there, Warren was particularly moved by the plight of the many children who had been left orphans because AIDS, which was rampant, had killed their parents.

"An entire generation of adults between the ages of 20 and 40 were wiped out because of the AIDS disease," he said.

Warren described Kenya as the most beautiful country in the world and the cradle of humanity but it also has many challenges, including the orphans left from AIDS. While in Kenya, he received an opportunity to visit an orphanage in Nairobi where there were only three caregivers for 135 children.

"When we asked the director of the orphanage how we could help she said they needed more people 'to love our kids,'" he said.

Moved by the need in the orphanage, Warren launched Our Kenyan Kids program which now supports children and youth affected by poverty and or HIV/AIDS by providing education, training, humanitarian aid and nurturing relationships - one child at a time. The program also provides necessities, including food, nutritional supplements and medical supplies as well as support for construction and renovations at orphanages, schools and related facilities. And there is spiritual support without regard to their faith, ethnic origin, social class or world view.

Warren and other church members have made several trips to Kenya to help arrange for the various programs operated through Our Kenyan Kids. Personal donations from the organization's board of directors and specific fund-raisers covers administration costs so every dollar donated is used for assisting the children according to Warren.

Our Kenyan Kids has also funded the hiring of additional caregivers for the orphanage in Nairobi so now the ratio is one caregiver for 20 children which is much improved over the old ratio of one caregiver to about 40 children. Even so, the ratio is not wonderful, said Warren "when you consider in this country you have parents to spend quality time with only one or two children."

Warren will be leaving for Kenya in the middle of October with about 11 other supporters of Our Kenyan Kids to oversee more work by the organization.

While he will be spending time on the Our Kenyan Kids project, Warren also enjoys travelling and plans to return to Hong Kong as well as spend time with a cousin in Manila and a friend in Malaysia. Perhaps after a year, he may return part-time to the ministry possibly preaching in smaller churches. Warren, who holds a minor degree in fine arts, would also like to return to another pastime of oil painting.
Par oilpaintingsupplie le jeudi 14 avril 2011


#1 Par ~MBA Finance thesis t le 04.06.2011 à 13:50 top
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