July 14th, 2024

Retired McKillop United Church minister receives top honour


By Nicholas Allen - for the Lethbridge Herald on May 28, 2022.

Herald photo by Nicholas Allen Retired McKillop United Church minister Terry Shillington, poses in his home with his honourary doctoral degree from St. Andrews University.

A retired local church minister has received an honourary degree for his contributions to the community.
Previously minister at McKillop United Church, Terry Shillington was bestowed an honourary doctoral degree in divinity from St. Andrew’s College in Saskatoon on May 6. 
St. Andrew’s College is a part of the Saskatoon Theological Union, a group of three theological colleges at the University of Saskatchewan. The denominations forming the alliance are the United Church, Anglican Church and Evangelical Lutheran Church. Shillington was one of two people to receive the honour this year. 
“The things you discover with getting an honour like this is everybody recites all the marvelous things you did, and everybody agrees not to mention all the stupid things you did,” joked Shillington.
Shillington said at the end of a person’s act of ministry, the honourary doctoral degree is a recognition of some good that you did. He explained the degree is the equivalent of “the hall of fame” for a church minister. Shillington gave credit to all the laypeople that made his congregations successful.
“Behind an interesting, exciting congregation is a whole bunch of people who make that happen,” said Shillington.
According to Shillington, the musicians he worked with were always helpful even though he has “trouble keeping rhythm.” Shillington also talked about how thankful he is for the people who have been a part of his journey and how he always wanted to have worship that was exciting and interesting.
“I want to have interesting worship and I wanted to involve people as a team. I saw church as a team effort,” said Shillington.
Shillington said he knew from an early age that he wanted to be a part of the ministry, entering the education process right after high school.
“I went straight to two years of arts and two years of theology and then instead of going into the ministry, I had a scholarship from the World Council of Churches and I went to Germany for two years,” said Shillington.
After returning from Germany, he served the community of Govan, Sask., north of Regina. From there Shillington went on to various places across the prairies including Winnipeg, where he experienced one of the biggest disasters in his ministry experience.
“I was in an inner-city ministry and excited about trying all these new secular things and the staff configuration just exploded in conflict,” said Shillington.
Shillington said he had to leave part way through the summer after being there for about 16 months. It eventually led him to McKillop United Church where he would spend a much longer time.
“I didn’t go to McKillop intending to stay 17 years. Just that we hit it off and we shared my vision of what ministry was,” said Shillington.
After retiring from McKillop United Church, Shillington spent time in the Fort McMurray ministry after telling the church, “I’d go anywhere that they wanted to place me, where somebody needed a ministry.” After an extended time away, Shillington wanted to come back to Lethbridge but was happy with his time in Fort McMurray.
“It’s a beautiful community, physically beautiful and great people there. The congregation urgently needed some leadership, so I felt needed.”
Shillington now does monthly preaching in Foremost while enjoying his retirement spending time with his grandchildren.

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