Background and Education
Ministry wasn’t part of my plan for the first half of my life!
I was pretty content with my career in software development, focusing on websites and online applications. Honestly, I enjoyed working with clients in insurance, health care, and small businesses. But then, as I hit my mid-30s, I felt a cosmic nudge in an entirely different direction. I guess you could say it was my “holy moly” moment.
I had a good career, enjoyed the people I worked with, and found the work fulfilling, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something more, something different for me. It took a while to realize that God had a wicked sense of humor and was steering me toward ministry.
Growing up in the Presbyterian Church of Canada, my mother was the organist at Appin Presbyterian Church throughout my childhood. It seemed that ministry was in my blood, with clergy members on both sides of my family tree. However, I never considered ministry as a young person—I was more focused on a lifetime of computer science than spreading the Word.
My computer science education took me on a tech-fueled adventure in Mississauga and Brampton for five years. After moving back closer to home and settling in Rodney, I was invited to Calvary United Church by some amazing members I got to know through Ridgeplayers.
Dale Peters, a man with very persuasive powers, told me I was going to sing in the choir. I just couldn’t say no to Dale; I mean, who could? I sang bass next to him for quite a few years, and Calvary United Church was such a welcoming place that it felt like home.
In mid-2006, other church members, recognizing my experience on stage with amateur theater at Ridgeplayers and WEDS, as well as bands The Five Guys and A String and a Prayer, invited me to lead a summer church service. One service led to a few, then many more, and before I knew it, by 2011, I was juggling pulpits around Elgin and Middlesex, in both United and Presbyterian churches. I started the year-long discernment process in 2011, guided by local clergy and members of the Calvary United Church congregation. This process recognized and identified my gifts for ministry (and my unique sense of humor), and recommended I begin my education in the Designated Lay Ministry program.
The Designated Lay Ministry (DLM) program is designed for those who receive their call to ministry after racking up some life and career experience. It includes six 10-day intensive education sessions in Saskatchewan (a great place to test your weather endurance), with reading and online correspondence content between sessions over at least three years, as well as supervised work experience in a part-time ministry position and three complementary courses.
I started the work experience portion of my DLM training at Calvary United Church in September 2012 and graduated in May 2016. I remained in my position at Calvary for another two years, leading worship, serving in pastoral ministry, and growing the congregation’s connections to the community, specifically connecting with youth in the area (who always appreciate a good laugh).
In June of 2018, I embarked on a new adventure at St. Andrew’s United Church, Chatham, where I continue to spread love, faith, and humor.
Local News Article
Greg Simpson feels he’s exactly where he’s meant to be.
“Ministry is really enjoyable,” he said. “It’s an honour to be invited into people’s lives in their joys and in their sorrows. I get to sit with people through highs and lows, as they experience life and wonder about their faith.”
As a worship leader, Simpson feels right at home at St. Andrew’s, and the connection with Devon Hansen has been nothing short of delightful.
“Working with Devon is great. It’s like we clicked instantly and found that we share the same vision for Sunday morning services. We have this mutual respect for the worship experience and can seamlessly blend moments of solemnity with pure fun, as well as mix classic with contemporary. He’s a joy to work with.”
“The other church staff, the council, the choir, and various committees are fantastic. It’s so reassuring to know that there are people both in the spotlight and behind the scenes working their magic to keep everything running smoothly.”
While Sunday morning worship continues to be an essential part of St. Andrew’s United Church’s presence in the community, Simpson is quick to point out the mission and outreach of the church.
“St. Andrew’s has a real passion for supporting the Chatham-Kent community. That’s one thing that drew me here. I’m excited to work with the congregation to expand our reach and brainstorm new and creative ways to serve the community. Churches today need to be more engaged in the community, providing support and showing people that they are loved no matter who they are or where they are. Building new and strengthening existing relationships and partnerships within the larger community is something I’m particularly looking forward to. There are so many organizations around doing incredible things, and we need to team up and lift each other higher.”
Community and church members are warmly invited to come hear Greg preach any Sunday at 10:30 am. And don’t forget to stick around for fellowship time and a chance to get to know him. Who knows, you might even share a chuckle or two!