Blyth, Brussels Anglican Churches welcome Todd - Jan. 18, 2018
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
JoAnn Todd has taken over duties at the helm of the Anglican Churches in both Blyth and Brussels, which are now part of a four-point ministry called the Regional Ministry of Hope.
Todd takes over for Perry Chuipka, who left the community two years ago, as well as Allan Livingstone, who replaced Chuipka on an interim basis.
When Chuipka was at the head of the Parish of New Beginnings, it was a four-point ministry that included Trinity Anglican Church in Blyth, St. John’s Anglican Church in Brussels and the Anglican Churches in Wingham and Lucknow. Now, with the closure of St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Lucknow, Todd’s Regional Ministry of Hope will include Blyth, Brussels, St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Wingham and St. James’ Anglican Church in Hanover.
Todd was born in Toronto, but made her way to St. Helens when she was young. Just after high school, Todd moved to the area when her parents bought a store in St. Helens and she would go on to marry “the boy next door” and now she and her husband Hugh have been married for decades.
They now have two children and Hugh has moved into semi-retirement with their son Keith taking over the family sheep farm. Todd’s grandchildren are now the sixth generation farming in Huron County.
Todd began her adult life in the world of nursing, working first in Wingham and then shifting into retirement home management, managing a home healthcare office in Huron County.
Her home church was St. Peter’s in Lucknow and she began her journey into the world of ministry as a lay reader for that church under Chuipka. A lay reader is someone who performs a service when the minister isn’t available that day.
After performing the duties of a lay reader for a while, Todd said she began to feel the call of God that she should consider ministry full-time.
Todd was reluctant to jump in with both feet, so she took seminary classes one at a time with Huron University College in London over the next seven years, at which time she was fully ordained as a deacon in 2010.
For the last seven and a half years, Todd had been at the head of both the Hanover and Durham Anglican Churches. However, with the two churches opting to split their charge and the Blyth, Brussels and Wingham churches in the market for a fourth point to its charge, joining Hanover with those three churches seemed like a perfect fit, Todd said, in the wake of the Lucknow closure in 2015.
Serving at the head of a four-point church after coming from a two-point charge, Todd said, will be one of the biggest adjustments associated with the job. However, with her familiarity with all of the communities, she expects the transition to be a smooth one.
Coming from St. Helens, Lucknow was Todd’s home church, which had partnered with Wingham in the Parish of New Beginnings. As a 25-year member of the Blyth Festival Singers, she knows many from the Blyth area.
Todd said that Brussels is likely the community in the new four-point ministry that she knows the least, but she is familiar with the area and hopes to learn more about it in the months to come. Her family farm has sold livestock at Brussels Livestock for a number of years, however, so she is certainly no stranger to Brussels.
In the coming months, Todd hopes to spend at least one day per week in each of the four communities, although her schedule may not always allow it.
The ministry’s services will rotate on a bi-weekly basis. One week, she’ll be in Hanover at 9 a.m. for the Sunday service, followed by an 11:15 a.m. service in Wingham and the following week, she’ll hold services at the same times at the Blyth and Brussels churches.
On off-weeks, services will continue, but conducted by lay reader, like Todd used to be.
As far as her goals for the churches, Todd said that she really hopes to connect each individual congregation with how it can serve its community through Christ. She also hopes to thoroughly reach members of each congregation and help them connect with God. It’s that kind of connection and experience, she said, that gives her the greatest satisfaction in her life.