St. George’s United Church ministers Ingrid Brown and Ryan Slifka (right) were presented with an award for thoughtful, engaged and generous Christian practitioners at a recent ceremony at Vancouver School of Theology. Photo supplied

Two Comox Valley ministers share prestigious award

Dave Flawse

Special to The Record

Two local ministers of St. George’s United Church in Courtenay are co-recipients of an award from the Vancouver School of Theology (VST), for thoughtful, engaged and generous Christian practitioners.

Ingrid Brown and Ryan Slifka are the first-ever recipients of the award, given to ministers in their first 10 years of service.

“As Christians, we do something distinct and different,” said Brown. “We don’t think there should be any barriers to anyone coming in and having the ability to engage no matter their belief systems.”

Slifka has been with St. George’s Untied Church for five years and Ingrid for four.

“St. George’s has undergone significant revitalization in the past few years since I’ve arrived as minister,” said Slifka. “[St. George’s] is open to everybody – a broad welcome.”

Brown agrees.

“Gender identity, sexual orientation, nothing should be a barrier to participation to a community of love and faith,” she said

Both were unaware of their nomination until they received a phone call from the school’s president.

“It was a complete surprise,” said Slifka.

The two former classmates of VST continue to raise money for local charities with the church, recently raising $10,000 for Habitat for Humanity North Island.

As well as duties at St. George’s, Brown runs Weird Church based in Cumberland.

She said it’s a place for “thought-provoking questions on what it means to be a spiritual being on this journey on earth.”

Weird Church is hosting an upcoming blues event on June 14 at the Cumberland United Church.

“Dinner, music, storytelling: a feast for your belly and your soul.”

The free event is catered by Biblio Taco. Registration and more details can be found at https://www.weirdchurchcumberland.com/events.

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