(Stittsville United Church Minister, Grant Dillenbeck, is retiring after 37 years in the ministry and over 17 years as the Reverend at the Stittsville church. His last day of sermons will be September 25, 2022. In this photo he is enjoying what he loves – camping in Algonquin Park. Photos: provided by Ruth Richardson)
On Sunday, September 11, Reverend Grant Dillenbeck was joined by his wife Ruth Richardson and members of the Stittsville United Church congregation to celebrate his retirement. After serving as minister at Stittsville United Church for over 17 years – and after 37 years in the ministry overall – Grant is retiring as of Sunday, September 25.
Grant started at Stittsville United Church in April of 2005, having previously served in ministry in Alberta following his ordination in 1985, as well as at various United Churches around Ottawa since 1990.
Grant and Ruth recall that their first year at Stittsville United Church involved a lot of transition, as the church was just the sanctuary building then, with plans already in motion to build the extension now seen. “His first Sunday there, Grant put the shovel in the ground and had a ceremony. That first year, we were building, which was kind of fun,” Ruth says.
Looking back on his time at Stittsville United Church, Grant states that there have been many highlights along the way, “we’ve done a number of pretty innovative things in terms of worship services for all ages and doing very interactive things.” Among these are the church musicals and a program developed a few years ago called SPARK; “everybody has their own interests or passion, which we nurture. We were having meditation groups, study groups, art groups, the list could go on and on of the number of different groups that were happening.” Grant explains.
“Part of the reason I went into ministry was for those personal connections,” says Grant, so the people will be missed the most as he and Ruth enter this transition period. “In ministry, literally in the same day I can talk to a family about a baptism, another family about a wedding, and another family about a funeral. So to be involved intimately in people’s lives, to really be connected, to be at a wedding for kids who grew up in the church, it’s those long-time connections we’ll miss.” Ruth adds, “the church is the people. They are what it’s all about.”
As for what’s next for him, Grant says he will be taking a break and will see where he wants to go from there. “I’m keeping a list of things I’m going to try.” Sure to be among these things are continuing to play hockey, going canoeing, and spending time outside and around the house.
The first item on the to-do list after retiring will be camping at a beloved site, which was commemorated in a gift for Grant and Ruth from the congregation – a stained glass picture of the campsite, with their trailer and canoe. “We’re going camping until we are too cold and have to come home,” Grant and Ruth joke.