The Abbey Retreat Centre was created in the former home of Betty and Larry Hewitt. It overlooks a pond and forested area.

Retiring reverend followed God’s path

By Sue Tiffin

Published Dec. 12 2017

Now that she has announced her retirement as reverend canon at St. George’s in Haliburton and St.
Margaret’s in Wilberforce Anne Moore doesn’t know where she’s going next or what she’s going to do but she knows God will lead the way.

That is after all how she ended up in Haliburton with the Anglican Parish of Haliburton almost nine years ago despite disliking the area during a previous winter vacation.

“I never wanted to come back” she said. “But after maybe six months here I was intending to stay. I love the community I love the beauty of it. All the things that attract people to stop here. Also all the ministry that happens outside of churches here all of the help – the 4Cs the Pregnancy Care Centre and just on and on and on. It’s so amazing. People are so giving.”

Moore grew up near Napanee and had what she calls “a varied life” with an interest in being a teacher and then as a student of psychology and as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces as part of a posting with the United Nations Peacekeepers in Egypt in 1975 and at the ’76 Olympics before following a calling to the ministry.

“I’d gone to church all my life and then there was a time when I started believing it and a time when I really thought God wanted me to be ordained” she said. “It’s kind of hard to talk about. I don’t know how to put it. It wasn’t sudden. It was over a period of time. And then there were all these coincidences that reinforced my decision. I wouldn’t call them coincidences but that’s the best way to describe it.”

Moore pursued theological studies at Wycliffe College part of the University of Toronto where she was one of very few women. She was ordained in 1990 and it was 2009 when she was appointed by her bishop to a two-year term in Haliburton that she extended.

“It was a new experience” she said. “If I believe in God I just follow it just comes up so I do it. It’s easy. No decisions required.”

Since then Moore has been part of the church in Haliburton and Wilberforce but also out and about visiting leading worship in long-term care facilities visiting people who are sick – as far away as Toronto attending meetings and teaching small groups of people about faith prayer and Bible study.

“I enjoy meeting people and hearing their stories” she said. “People are interesting. It’s a privilege as a minister because I’m with people in their highest moments and in their lowest moments. It’s a privilege to be part of that.”

Naturally one of the treasured memories that most quickly pops to Moore’s mind is meeting the Wiso family refugees from Syria at the Toronto airport in 2016 as a member of the Haliburton Refugee Sponsorship Committee (HRSC).

“That was spectacular” she said.

The HRSC was pleasantly surprised to find that at their first meeting 70 people came to get involved in helping to sponsor the family and offer a home away from their war-torn country.

“If 20 had come I’d have been happy” said Moore. “And it was so positive. Who knew that so many people were thinking about it at the same time. That well it was amazing.”

The Wiso family live in the rectory next to St. George’s and have quickly become part of the community with guidance from members of the HRSC like Moore.

“How often do you get a chance to save someone from being bombed or starving to death or whatever” she asked acknowledging the experience of “being a part of that just a little cog.”

Though she has immediate ideas to shovel snow without a schedule and travel a bit Moore said she has no further plans.

“I’ve made one major decision this year and that’s enough for awhile” she said. “Something will happen and I’ll know what to do next. As a Christian what I want isn’t all that important. It’s what God wants. I just follow that. I didn’t want to come to Haliburton but I’ve had nine amazing years up here. If I hadn’t I would have missed a lot of neat stuff in my life. It’s just trusting God to know better than me.”

She speaks deliberately hesitating to consider her words as she talks about her life and future plans but when she is asked about what she hopes she might have left behind with her parishioners she becomes passionate and certain.

“The only thing I’ve ever cared about is that people follow Jesus” she said. “That’s the bottom line for me. That’s the most important thing there is in the world. I can’t say it strong enough how important how much I believe that.”

Moore’s last service will be a combined service at St. George’s in Haliburton with the St. Margaret’s congregation at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 31. A lunch will be served after the service and everyone is welcome to join and say farewell.