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Up, down and out in Canada

As I wondered what to call this piece, two ideas popped into my mind. One was the haunting KJV version of Acts 27.27, where we read that before the shipwreck ‘we were driven up and down in Adria [the Adriatic]’. The other was the equally haunting title from old Etonian, social critic, master satirist and beautiful writer George Orwell: Down and Out in Paris and London. Suddenly my own title was fully formed in my mind.

Jim Packer

So, now, my story

My wife and I moved to Canada in 1979. Principal James Houston had recruited me to teach theology at Regent College, which I still do. God’s call was clear. Our only uncertainty was where we might find a spiritual home. New Westminster Diocese, of which Vancouver is the see city, was decidedly liberal, and its few evangelical clergy seemed to be keeping their heads down. But in 1978 my oldest friend among Canadian clergy, Harry Robinson, became rector of St. John’s Shaughnessy, nearby where God gave us a place to live. So that problem was solved. Called as I am to be a pastor, alongside my teaching duties, I became Harry’s honorary assistant. (For the record, I am now the longest serving clergyman in the St. John’s team.)