Rev. Emma Duncan
Gary Evans, Clerk of session

Monday, September 30, 2013

Presbyterian Sharing in action

Yesterday was a great day at Knox Church!  Not only did we celebrate Presbyterian Sharing Sunday, we also successfully did our first ever fire drill.  We evacuated the building after singing “We are marching in the Light of God” J and I pronounced the benediction in our parking lot. 

After the service was over, a visitor introduced himself to me.  He is from Miami and it literally just driving through.  I wonder if anyone who was at church noticed the motorcycle with Miami licence plates in the parking lot?  Andrew Hayward Smith is riding from Miami to the Arctic Circle, across Canada to Nova Scotia, and back to Miami for a total of 15,000 miles in 120 days.  Andrew calls this an “interactive fundraising journey” and it is great to meet him and welcome him into our midst if only for a short time.  Andrew is on his way home to Miami, where he will be warmly received by his church, Miami Shores Presbyterian Church. 

Thank you Andrew for worshipping with us and we wish you a safe journey as you do God’s work.  Talk about Presbyterian Sharing in action!
Yours in Christ, Emma.

P.S. Check out his web site -  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hello, it’s Emma Duncan, the new minister at Knox Burlington and as of today, I will be officially taking over our blog!  A special thanks to Gary Evans, Knox’s Clerk of Session, for moderating this blog since its inception in 2011. 

I will be posting on this blog regularly and it will be a mixed bag of announcements, reflections, and thoughts.  As an avid reader (and former librarian), I will also talk about the books that I have read.  If I am working on a sermon series, I will also post thoughts and observations as I prepare to preach God’s Word.  All in all, this will be way for us to talk about the joys and challenges of serving God in our complex world. 
Yours in Christ, Emma Duncan

This is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rejoice! Rejoice!

Next stop, ordination.

It took only a few minutes for the call process to go through the hands of the Presbytery of Brampton, until Emma was asked whether she would accept the call to Knox, Burlington.
And with a resounding YES, we are now less than three weeks from the time when Emma will be our minister.

As was the case at the Presbytery of Hamilton two weeks ago, Rev. Bob and two representatives from Knox presented the call to the Brampton Presbytery, this time meeting at Trafalgar Presbyterian Church. Once Rev. Bob explained the process to get to this moment in time, Haf Lewis, on behalf of the search committee, and this writer, Gary Evans, as clerk of session, spoke to the call.

And within moments, the call was sustained, the ordination approved, and when Emma was asked to go forward, she was told she had 10 days to weigh her decision, but accepted on the spot.
So now, Emma prepares for her ordination service on July 7 at her home church and then induction on July 14th.

In the meantime, there are two things for the Knox congregation to keep in mind. There is a bus being offered to the ordination service, but we need to know if you are booking a seat by 1 p.m. this Sunday. At the moment, we are somewhat short of the numbers needed, so please sign up by that date if you are planning to take this mode of transportation to Brampton.

The other thing to keep in mind is the induction service that will be held July 14 here at Knox starting at 7 p.m. with a reception in Fellowship Hall after the service.

But for now, let us rejoice that we are now only days from welcoming a new minister to our church.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

One more step along the way

While there is still one more approval process as we move towards that day when Emma Duncan will be the minister at Knox, Burlington, Presbytery officials in Hamilton and Brampton are moving ahead quite quickly, putting together the details for the ordination ceremony as well as her induction.

With the Presbytery of Hamilton approving the call on June 11th, we now have word that the Knox contingent will be speaking at the Presbytery of Brampton in favour of the call at 7:15 on June 25th. Interestingly enough, there will be two other calls before Presbytery that night, a rare circumstance to say the least.

But even before the Brampton Presbytery votes on the call, arrangements have been completed for Emma’s ordination service that will be held at 7 p.m. on July 7 at her home church, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Brampton.

It is hoped that a large delegation from Knox will be in attendance that night and to help facilitate the trip, there will be a bus leaving Knox late that afternoon with space for 46 passengers.

If you would like to take the bus, the cost is $10 per person with the money to be given to Kathy Kelly in the church office. Further details about the bus trip will be presented in the days ahead, but in the meantime, if you are interested, please sign the sheet on the bulletin board in the hallway outside the transept.

Then, just one week later, Emma will be inducted as the minister of Knox, Burlington, with the service once again starting at 7 p.m. and on this occasion a large number of people can be expected to attend from St. Andrew’s, Brampton, as well as numerous individuals from throughout the Hamilton Presbytery. Please keep this event in mind, and despite the fact that it is in the midst of the July holiday season, please try to attend this most important event in the life of Knox Church.

As we welcome Emma into our midst on July 14th, we will be saying goodbye to Rev. Bob Docherty on that day as his time as interim moderator will conclude – as he is wont to say – at the stroke of midnight.

Knox has been most fortunate to have Rev. Bob serving as our interim moderator for more than a year, helping to guide us through some difficult waters, all the while with a keen sense of humor. It has been a real pleasure for this writer to have had the opportunity to work closely with Rev. Bob during these many months, seeking advice, clarifying direction, bouncing ideas off his years of wisdom.
He will be missed.

But in the meantime, Rev. Bob will be in the Knox pulpit for two more occasions, on July 7 and July 14 as he concludes his service to Knox and heads back into a well deserved retirement – again.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Clapping for joy...sheer joy!


At Presbytery?

Clapping, where proper decorum is observed!

But clapping indeed was the case at tonight’s meeting of the Hamilton Presbytery when the Knox call to Emma Duncan was sustained by a unanimous vote.

Of course, that bit of breach from decorum was lead by a small group from Knox, so happy that we are now moving on to the next step in the process toward calling Emma as minister of Word and Sacrament.

With 98 per cent voting in favor of issuing a call to Emma, Presbytery approval was a foregone conclusion, except there can always be a snag of one sort or another.
But not on this occasion.

Rev. Bob outlined the steps undertaken as interim moderator to certify the call process, and he was followed by two representatives of Knox, Gary Evans as clerk of session, and Linda Gowing from the search committee, both speaking in support of the call.

And then the all-critical vote, and with unanimous support came the clapping, first by the Knox contingent, followed by other Presbyters.

The call process is a multi-level process, starting with Emma preaching for the call, then the signing of the call, and now, the third step, approval by Presbytery.

There are other steps along the way, but the next one should be no more than a formality, that is the June 25th meeting of the Presbytery of Brampton when Rev. Bob, this writer and one other from the search committee will once again ask Presbytery to sustain the call, but this one will be Emma’s home Presbytery.

So, all being well at Brampton – actually the meeting will be in Oakville – preliminary arrangements are already under way for Emma’s ordination which is scheduled for July 7th at Emma’s home church, St. Andrew’s Brampton. There is every possibility that Knox will charter a bus for the occasion so that there will be large contingent from Knox at the ordination service.

Details will be forthcoming in the days ahead, but tentatively there will be a charge of about $10 for the trip to the ordination service.

And to illustrate how quickly things can move ahead after one Presbytery approves the call is the fact that Emma’s induction at Knox is now tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. on July 14th.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Emma comes calling

This is a very important weekend – and a most exciting one at that – in the life of Knox Church.

Two years without a minister, Knox is now on the verge of calling a new minister, a person who has been heavily involved in her church, a person who had a promising career as a librarian, but one who heard  - and heeded – a call to the ministry.

Emma Duncan recently graduated from Knox College, winning several top awards for her academic prowess. This weekend then marks the next chapter on her journey to the pulpit.

Emma and her family will be at Knox Saturday afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m. for a reception so that members can have an opportunity to meet with her before she preaches for the call on Sunday.

During the last week, elders have been busy contacting members and adherents of Knox Church, urging them to attend the reception, but especially the Sunday service as she preaches for the call.

The response elders have been getting is remarkable. It is expected that there will be a significant turnout on Sunday for the service and for the time after worship to sign for the call. As well, so many of those unable to attend have already endorsed the call – asking elders to sign on their behalf, a system allowed within the Presbyterian Church.

The voting mechanism will be outlined on Sunday, but briefly it means that after the service, everyone will adjourn to Fellowship Hall where elders will oversee the process – not only for members, but adherents as well, with adherents concurring with the call.

As a common denominator, the Presbyterian Church wants to see an 80 per cent approval rate before a call is passed along to Presbytery, so while session hopes that we will be close to that 80 cent figure by the time the last vote is counted, elders will then get on the phone contacting those not in attendance.

Once Knox approves the call, it then goes to the Hamilton Presbytery which will meet on June 11th to consider the call, and then all being well, it’s then on to Emma’s home presbytery, the Presbytery of Brampton which meets later in June.

Finally, with all approvals in place, the Brampton Presbytery will hold an ordination service, at which time Emma becomes the Rev. Emma Duncan. It sounds like quite a process, and indeed it is, with one more important step along the way – the induction service at Knox some time in the summer – the date to be established as all steps fall into place.

But first and foremost is this weekend, and we implore each one of you to come to church on Sunday, to hear Emma preach and to sign the call.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Preaching for the call

It was the news we have been waiting for all these long months; we have a candidate who will preach for the call to Knox Church.

Soon after the search committee recommended a candidate, their recommendation was approved by session and then announced with much enthusiasm by our interim moderator, Rev. Bob Docherty from the pulpit on April 28th.

The candidate is Emma Duncan, who will graduate from Knox College on May 8th. Although a new graduate, Emma shone out from all the other candidates who sent in profiles, so much so that the search committee was unanimous in its choice.

One of her references, the Rev. Dr. Douglas McQuaig from St. Andrew’s, Streetsville, had this to say about Emma: “If I could wave a magic wand I would have Emma replace me here at St. Andrew’s when I retire.”

A solid recommendation if there ever was one.

Emma will be preaching for the call on May 26th, and we urge all members and adherents to be in attendance that day to hear Emma, and to sign the call sheet.

There is also another important date to remember. Emma and her family will be attending a reception at Knox on the afternoon of May 25th, giving everyone a first-hand opportunity to meet with her in an informal setting.

There will be more information in the days ahead as we prepare for this most important time in the life of our church, but in the meantime, please circle these dates on your calendar.

So that everyone has a bit more information about this candidate, a short bio is provided on her road to the ministry.

Emma was born and raised in Brampton, and grew up in the congregation of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in that city. Within this faith community she learned about God and the Bible and as well she met her future husband, Richard, in a youth group.

In this congregation, she served as a ruling elder, chair of the Mission Committee, Presbytery representative, and taught Sunday school.

Emma and Richard have been married for 15 years and they have two daughters, Rachel (13) and Heather (10).

Prior to discerning the call to ministry, Emma worked as a librarian and she ended this career as a branch manager for the Brampton Public Library.

During her studies leading to a Master of Divinity degree, Emma led worship in many congregations in her Presbytery and she firmly believes that through engaging worship and preaching, the stories of the Bible can come alive in meaningful and relevant ways.  Emma is passionate about her faith and she is looking forward to walking with people as they live out their lives and faith.

Emma and Richard both come from very close families and they enjoy spending time with family and friends.  In her spare time, Emma is – no surprise here - an avid reader.