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Whistler Village Church welcomes minister Rev. Stephen Hershey



Whistler Village Church has a new minister, officially.

Three and half months ago Reverend Stephen Hershey came to Whistler to nurture the Church as it entered a unique phase in its development: the pursuit of worship without denominations.

Now, the United Church minister has formally taken on the role as leader of the Whistler congregation.

" For me it is the formal arrival," said Hershey.

"It is the giving of all authority, such as I needed to be given. It means we are in it together. There is no backing out now, although that is a place I had already come to.

"It is that connection between the congregation and the larger church and I have responsibilities on behalf of both."

Hershey’s placement as minister took place in Millennium Place. Several senior Church leaders took part including the Venerable Lou Rivers of the Anglican Church of Canada, John Culter of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Reverend Deborah Laing of Highlands United Church.

The Whistler Village Church is a unique experiment in faith. It combines three denominations, Evangelical Lutheran, Anglican and United in one Church where all can worship.

Hershey is working on developing the Church in the community. It is a challenge, as it must respond to different needs in the resort including long-term residents, seasonal visitors and tourists.

"We are engaged in the exercise of re-visiting the vision statement and in that are seeking to discern ways to respond to the several communities of Whistler," he said.

"And I think we are getting our head around what it means to be responding to the several communities of Whistler, including those who are temporarily residents whether as visitors or seasonal workers.

"I was told my ministry in Whistler would be dramatically different than any other ministry I’ve done before," he said.

"To that I said, ‘’Oh, sure.’

"I’ve worked with street kids, I’ve worked in institutions, and corrections, and psychiatric, and with congregations, I have a fairly wide range of experience how can it be different.

"But it is different. Absolutely."

Currently Hershey is looking for someone to help him bring more music into services and in the late winter and early spring he hopes to employ on a part-time basis minister of music.

Services are held every Sunday at 10 am at Millennium Place. Sunday school for children aged three to seven-years-old and Bible Club for those aged eight to 12-years-old are held concurrently.