Rev William MacDonald (BA; LLB) Extended Bio

Bill.MacDonaldOrdination

After retiring from his 50-year law practice ‘Bill’, answered a call to ministry. Rev Bill was Appointed a Designated Minister with Clergy Support Memorial Church on August 18, 2018. By action of our Board on September 10, 2018, he was raised to the rank of Ordained Clergy with the Church.

Thoughts on Worship

“I describe myself as a “contemporary Christian” and have a strong belief in the basic spiritual values common to most religions. I believe, however, that many religious institutions today are unduly concerned with outdated dogma to the detriment of the spiritual path of their followers. I believe that religions should remain relevant to the community they serve and their focus should be contemporary and leading community values.”

Academic Achievements

  • Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in International Studies and Asian Studies from UBC;
  • Bachelor of Law from UBC;
  • Certificate in Advanced Mediation from the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC

Memberships

  • Royal Canadian Navy Reserve (Ret’d. with rank of Lieutenant);
  • Director and Vice President – Family Services of Greater Vancouver;
  • Canadian Bar Association National and Provincial Councils -Member & Chairman – Finance Review Committee, Treasurer – Annual Meeting Committee;
  • Chairman – Courtenay Youth Music Centre, Director – Courtenay Foundation;
  • Government Appointed Director – College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses – Chair of Discipline Committee;
  • Government Appointed Member, (currently Chair) Data Stewardship Committee under the e-Health Act;
  • Member, Rotary Club of Courtenay, Paul Harris Fellow;
  • Thirty-Five years as Leader, Trainer, Assistant Regional Commissioner of Scouts Canada in Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

Awards

  • Scouts Canada (Adult)
  • Long Service Medal Medal of Merit
  • United Church Scouting Medal
  • Canadian Bar Association Community Service Award
  • Government of BC Outstanding Public Service Award, Ministry of Health
  • Rotary Club – Paul Harris Fellow

Hobbies

Gardening, Skiing, Scuba Diving, Astronomy, Reading.

Study Groups

  • Victoria Multi-Faith Society – an inter-faith organization that meets in various locations to promote understanding of different religions and sponsors and conducts study groups.
  • Eggheads – Salt Spring Island study group meets bi-weekly to hear speakers and discuss current affairs and other items of mutual interest to Island residents.

Personal Growth and Study

  • Participated in an eight session lecture series on world religions through the Victoria Multifaith
  • Society and the Anglican Cathedral in Victoria.

Since retiring from my law practice after 50 years and moving to Salt Spring Island last year, I have pursued my interest in world religions by reading and studying the sacred writings of several. I have used a two volume collection of Sacred Writings in the Harvard Classics Series (Charles W. Eliot, Ll.D ed.) as the basis for my self study.

Pastoral Care Activities

Since moving to Salt Spring Island, I have not had much opportunity for pastoral care activities. While I am not an official hospital visitor, I was asked by a member of the local Anglican Church which I attend, to visit his elderly father in the extended care unit of our local hospital. After several weekly visits, I was asked by a staff member to visit another long term care patient, which I have done.

In October, I will be performing a marriage ceremony for an inter-racial refugee couple at no charge as they are of limited means.

Counselling

Last year, prior to moving to Salt Spring Island, I was consulted by a young couple considering marriage or cohabitation. I met with them several times to facilitate their discussions on the topic. Ultimately, this couple decided they wanted to publicly declare their commitment to each other for life and decided on a civil marriage. The same couple referred another couple to me for similar guidance. Discussions with them are ongoing, although we meet primarily through FaceTime as we moved after counselling began.

I found my mediation studies helpful to facilitate these sessions. I was a practicing lawyer for 50 years, much of the time in the field of family law, which has given me an insight into the concept of marriage that I feel can be helpful when advising young couples

Worship

I was raised in and was a member of the United Church of Canada for many years. While in Vancouver, I was a member of Shaughnessy Heights United Church and served as a Sunday school teacher, choir member, and chair of the Board of Stewards. Our church supported the rights of gay persons although there was much controversy when our minister, Bob Smith, the former moderator of the United Church of Canada, championed making the church building available to a gay congregation for their services on a Sunday afternoon.

This controversy troubled me greatly as I firmly believed, then and now, that all people are entitled to worship in their own way. On moving to Courtenay, our family again attended the United Church. I became dissatisfied with that congregation when the minister condemned the “Harry Potter”books and, later, issued a memorandum to the youth groups when I was a leader of the Scout Troop prohibiting the wearing of “ghost” or “devil” costumes at any Halloween parties. I felt the church was becoming too close minded and reverting to a theology many years out of date. As I had attended the Anglican Church frequently, our family attended that church in Victoria and again became embroiled in controversy in that congregation over gay marriage.

Over the years, I have frequently conducted multi-faith “Scouts Own” observances in many Scouts Canada camps for both youth and adult members.

Closing Words

In serving the Clergy Support Memorial Church this year, I found the most meaningful experience to be the creation of wedding ceremonies that had meaning and significance to each person where the bride and groom came from different cultural and spiritual backgrounds. I wish to be ordained in the Clergy Support Memorial Church as I believe I have much to contribute in support of the Church’s Mission Statement.

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