8457 Rev Paul Robinson: answered the call to full-time ministry

8457 Rev. Paul Robinson

Rev Paul Robinson had a hard time identifying a ‘hometown’ in his youth. He was born in the United Kingdom coming to Canada at the age of nine. He lived in three towns in Ontario before he headed off to RMC. His last three years of high school were at Ajax, Ontario.

He and his wife, Carol have resided mostly in Tillsonburg, a very pleasant town down in S-W Ontario, for the past 21 years (with a five-year hiatus in Port Rowan, ON). They returned to Tillsonburg two years ago where they have many ties and are very comfortable calling their hometown

What did you do in the military following graduation from RMC in 1971?

I started out as Logistics, but eventually rebadged to Public Affairs. Served as Pay Officer in Edmonton for my first tour, then taught English at CMR, during which time I began work on my Master’s. Then I went to the recruiting centre in Sudbury.   I completed Staff School while stationed in Sudbury and also completed the Master’s at that time. From there I went into the Public Affairs world at NDHQ -with a two-month stint in the Public Affairs Office in Halifax.

When did you ‘retire’ from the military?

I took my release in 1981. I did reconnect with the reserves, qualifying as a chaplain and serving with the Foot Guards while pastoring in Orleans. As many of your readers will know, I’ve been the RMC Club – Honourary Chaplain for close to twenty years.

What / Where were you before settling in Tillsonburg?

I first pastored in Ottawa, going from there to a Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) church  in Montreal for five years. I then returned to Ottawa to pastor the Redeemer Alliance Church (C&MA) in Orleans for a similar period, and went from there to the Tillsonburg Alliance Church where we ministered for 11 years. Following that, and before our ultimate return to Tillsonburg, we moved to Port Rowan to serve a fairly large Mennonite Brethren Church there. God had to be smiling, as MBs don’t typically join the military, and their pastor was a former army officer!

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What is Your current career status?

Some thought I was returning to Tillsonburg to be more or less retired (I’ve now celebrated the two-year anniversary of receiving cash-for-life cheques from the government!). But I soon became involved more or less half-time (simultaneously) at each of two quite different churches in the area. It became a bit much and I eventually settled on one, accepting an invitation to serve as half-time minister for a Presbyterian church here that needed a pastor. Our math is a bit suspect, as we’ve defined half-time as being three out of four (or four out of five) Sundays a month with reduced hours in the weeks leading up to those Sundays! That being said, it’s incredibly fulfilling and the church has seen some growth, so we’re pleased.

What has inspired your current career path?

The “turning point” referenced further down in this survey is a big part of the answer to that. Carol and I clearly sensed God’s call to full-time ministry and took up that call. A simple answer, but the outworking was a lot more involved!

What are some of the greatest career challenges you’ve faced?

Hmm…. Not so much a career challenge, but conducting the funeral for my 30-year-old daughter with her unborn baby lying in her arms (Heather was 8-1/2 months pregnant when she and little Emily Grace died suddenly from a Strep infection that took her in 12 hours). It was only the grace of God that enabled me to do that, but it was appropriate and necessary. She had called from Petawawa only a week or so prior and said “You’re still my pastor, Daddy.”

What are some of the accomplishments you are most proud of?

I have a hard time measuring or identifying specific accomplishments. I like to think that my life has made a difference for others, but only eternity will tell. Along the way, I have enjoyed seeing churches grow as I’ve pastored, and seeing folk make more room for God in their lives. Serving as chaplain for the GGFG and for the War Museum during the 50th anniversary of D-day, VE-Day, etc while pastoring in Ottawa was a privilege, as is serving as RMC Club Chaplain for the past 20 years or so. In the end, family is something in which I take huge pride and joy. Seeing my children grow and take their place in the world is something I am very thankful for.

Who have been the most influential mentors in your life?

I know it sounds clichéd to say it, but Jesus Christ has been the ultimate influence in my life. On an earthly level, Carol’s brother, Les White (RMC ’69), was a huge role model and a brother in more ways than one. Keith Price, a gifted but incredibly humble Christian leader who came alongside when I entered ministry also influenced me greatly. Both men were wonderful examples of servant-leadership which impacted me not only in church work but also in marriage and family priorities.

What would you describe as a turning point in your life?

The turning point took place during my second year at RMC when I came to a personal faith in Christ as the Son of God. Until then, I didn’t claim any kind of relationship with the Creator. After that, the adventure really began, as I began to understand the truth of a quote by Oswald Chambers, that “to believe is to commit.”

What are your goals for the future?

I don’t have any specific goals at this time. Along with my ongoing role at St. Andrew’s, I’m involved in a number of ways in my community (coordinating the chaplaincy program at our hospital and the like) and I intend to keep contributing as I am able. I’m also connected with an amazing helping ministry into one of the poorest mountainous regions of Guatemala and will continue with that. Carol and I have been also privileged to lead pilgrimages to Israel from time to time and will continue doing that. In more general terms, and perhaps not a “goal” per se, but I also want to be the kind of poppa whose grandchildren want to be around him, and who think of him with affection.

Add anything else you feel that would help readers to know you better.

I’ve probably said too much and rambled on enough already, so I’ll spare your readers any more at this point. Thanks, though, for asking these questions! And thank you, Bill & Rolande, for the incredible work you do for us all.