James Strachan, 74, may have only been a resident of Ponoka since 2003 but he has been actively involved in ministry since 1959.
He recently celebrated 50 years of ordained ministry with friends, fellowship and cake at a get-together hosted by his wife Beatrix Scirner who is the reverend of the Ponoka United Church.
Strachan originally became interested in the field when listening to his minister between the ages of six and 18.
“He was such an interesting preacher. I used to hang on his words when he was speaking about the Old Testament. He was a major influence,” recalled Strachan. “Then I went to the United College in Winnipeg (now known as the University of Winnipeg) to pursue theological studies and further develop my own faith and here I am.”
“I look at the last 50 years as different periods of my life,” he said, explaining that throughout his career, he has been actively involved in ministry in four different ways.
He has been and continues to be a parish minister, he was a hospital chaplain, a teacher who ran a residency program for nuns and pastors in Winnipeg and for ten years in Calgary, and was an educated and trained therapist specializing in marriage and family counseling.
He is currently a part-time pastor in Bashaw but this will come to a conclusion at the end of June.
“This will be my fifth retirement” he joked. “I’ll take the summer off and spend time with my grandchildren. I doubt I’ll be as involved as I have been in the past, but I doubt I’ll retire for good,” he said.