Morinville – St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Morinville has two new people behind the pulpit these days. Recently joining the church are Reverend Ron Hörst and Deacon Laureta Blondin, a duo who will share responsibilities in leading worship.
St. Andrew’s is located on 107 Street and 100 Avenue, across from the Shell gas station. The church rents the building to The Father’s House Christian Fellowship for their Impact Youth Ministry program; however, local Anglican parishioners gather there each Sunday morning for services at 11 a.m.
Blondin has recently been made a deacon by the church, the first step towards becoming an Anglican priest. She and Hörst will work together to build up the life of the Anglican church in Morinville. In addition to serving Morinville parishioners, they are also officiating at Gibbons, Bon Accord and Redwater.
“Between the two of us we will work in all of those areas,” Reverend Hörst said. “We will do a big focus on Morinville because we see a big potential here in Morinville as a growing community.”
Although he uses the title reverend, Hörst actually prefers his parishioners to simply call him Ron. It is a nomenclature in keeping with the man’s laid back approach.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Hörst moved to Newfoundland in 1991 where he married and remained until 2005, at which time he and his wife moved to Ontario. The Ontario move was followed by some time in Great Britain where Hörst’s wife was serving as a military chaplain. The couple subsequently moved to Edmonton.
Hörst’s own move to becoming a churchman occurred as a young adult. “The actual serving God part was easy,” Hörst said. “The hard part was becoming a Christian. The hard part was recognizing that Jesus was real. I really had a strong resistance to the whole idea even though as a child I knew that story, and was raised in a Christian church.”
As a post-secondary student, he was about as far from being a man of the cloth as one can get. “When I was in university I always assumed that to be a Christian you had to be the stupidest person in the world,” Hörst said. “I am embarrassed to say that, but I did believe that. So I’m not particularly offended when I meet people who have that opinion.”
Several years later his opinions began to change, and although raised in the Quaker faith, he suddenly felt drawn to the Anglican church. “When I made that move, the next step was just pretty clear,” he said. “You’re given everything to this, you might as well go into the priesthood. I had a lot of fears about that, but I did that.”
Hörst said in all the things prior to becoming an Anglican priest, he never felt it was something he would stay involved in. Whatever he was doing he was always looking for the next thing. That changed after he entered the priesthood.
“I feel this is my home,” he said, adding leading worship is the key thing for him and his role in the church. “If we don’t lead worship, you’re kind of missing out on most of it. I think there are a lot of other things to do, and sometimes as clergy we ignore the other things. You have to be a bit of a business manager. You have to be a bit of a communicator. You have to be a bit of an inspirer. You have to be able to work with people and all that stuff, but for me the primary thing is leading worship.”
Worship about serving
For Hörst, leading worship is pressing into praying and being with Jesus as opposed to praying and saying a prayer. “We kind of all know that story when we’re figuring out our grocery list when we’re praying, but as a leader there’s more of a responsibility to address it in you,” he said. “In some ways I believe there is a realm of worship in serving that we’re just kind of unfolding. I truly believe there’s plenty of people who are followers of the Lord. They have learned to express worship in their actual serving of other people.”
Hörst said he believes churches are beginning to focus on serving more in the work they do. “When you are walking down the street and you turn aside to be some kind of blessing to somebody, there is worship to God inherent in that,” Hörst said. “And I think as we learn to trust in that and express that, I think you can get tremendous resource from God in that serving.”
Local work to be done
The reverend said he believes it is absolutely critical for people of faith to work outside the church. “Jesus said, ‘as the Father sent me, I’m sending you,’” Hörst said. “That includes our doing church in a building on Sunday morning but it also includes wherever I am I’m sent. I just think we have to have that mind-set that wherever I am, my being, my presence, my words, the love I express to people, I am to be aware it all comes from Him, and I am to be open to whatever his direction is. As a church you’ve got to discern exactly what it is the Lord wants you to do. There’s a million things we can be doing in the community, and the Lord may have one group of people running a food bank, but he’s not going to have all the churches in town run the food bank because he’s got one doing it. He’s going to have another church doing something else.”
Hörst said serving the community is sometimes difficult in that some of a community’s needs are so big churches and individuals have a tendency to think they can do nothing to help.
“We have to learn to fight that, and really see what God unfolds and go with that,” he said.
All are welcome
While the Anglican priest sees a large part of the work of the church today happening outside the walls of their building, there is still plenty going on inside at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church.
The Morinville congregation consists of about 20 people presently and Hörst said all are welcome on Sundays at 11 a.m. The church will begin offering Sunday school after Sept. 20.
“We’re looking at some curriculum, probably match it to the lesson of the day,” he said. “We’ll still have a children’s talk in the service itself before they go off to Sunday school because we want to keep some interaction between the clergy and the kids.”
For more information on St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, contact Reverend Ron Hörst at 780-756-1954.
Above: Reverend Ron Hörst is the new man at St. Andrew’s United Church in Morinville. – Stephen Dafoe Photo