Rev. Ross McMurtry will celebrate 60 years as an ordained United Church minister on Sunday, June 19, when he will present his last sermon as a guest speaker at Grace United Church. The worship service will be at 10:30 a.m.
Rev. Ross McMurtry will celebrate 60 years as an ordained United Church minister on Sunday, June 19, when he will present his last sermon as a guest speaker at Grace United Church.
The worship service will be at 10:30 a.m., and will be followed by a luncheon at the church, with many members of the McMurtry family to be in attendance, including his three sons from Calgary.
McMurtry has spent all of his life in Saskatchewan. Born in Semans, he grew up in Ogema, Cupar and Elstow during the Depression and World War Two; his father was a United Church minister, but he left it to his sons to choose their own vocation.
Ross took one year of agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan, followed by three years of Arts and Sciences and three years at St. Andrew's Theological College in Saskatoon. He was ordained as a United Church minister on June 4, 1951, at the age of 24. His two brothers also became United Church ministers.
He began his ministry in Wawota for five years, then was in Humboldt for four years. Married with a family, McMurtry moved his family to Weyburn in 1960 to be the minister at Grace United Church, a position he held until he retired in 1990.
After retirement, he continued to lead Sunday worship services in many communities, including Francis, Arcola, Stoughton, Carlyle, Bengough and Regina.
He always saw his ministry as three-fold: 1. to prepare and deliver a meaningful worship service each Sunday; 2. providing pastoral care, including performing 950 wedding, conducting 1,250 funerals, baptisms, counselling, and 3. being engaged in the local community.
"I never saw ministry confined to the four walls of a church. My ministry was for the community," he said.
During his career, he attended courses across Canada and the U.S.; he travelled to the Middle East three times, twice on a study tour; he attended meetings in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of the World Council of Churches; and met with the Peace and Justice Commission in Rome that included a private audience with the Pope.
Ross's message on Sunday will be "The Emerging Church". He will reflect on his 60 years in the ministry and how the church continues to change and emerge to meet the needs of the community. Ross considers this as his last public sermon and an opportunity to thank those who supported his ministry. Everyone is welcome to attend.