The Rev. Simon Neill

User Profile
Name
The Rev. Simon Neill
Church Info
Home Church Address
Immanuel Vancouver
998 E19th Ave
Vancouver, BC V5V 1K7
Canada
Church Website URL
Organization
Organization Name
Immanuel Vancouver
Type of Organization
Church Ministry
Your Position/Title within your Organization
Snr. Pastor
Organization Address
998 E19th Ave
Vancouver, BC V5V 1K7
Canada
Organization Phone Number
Organization URL
Work of Ministry
At-risk Women and Children Care (Crisis Pregnancy)
Homelessness
Hunger/Food Justice
Immigration
Post Incarceration Care
Substance Abuse/Addiction
Youth Development/At-risk Youth
Other
Other
We don't 'do' any of the above, but they are all things we have been involved in - would also include a great deal of mental health issues
Organization Email
office@immanuelchurch.ca
Description of Organization
Church trying to build a 'blended community', where those from various walks of life can come together as equals and learn more about God from each other. We have a particular ministry to problem people - you know like teachers, nurses, drug addicts, pastors, stay at home moms, retired people....
Organization Years In Operation
12
Does your ministry offer internships?
No.
Strengths of Organization
Hmmm.... we really like people. I guess we are clear on what we can and cannot do, and we can pretty much just be a church, but in knowing our limitations we have built up some strong relationships with other organizations who are able to help in other ways. That way we are able to walk a long journey with people who are often referred 'from pillar to post', and offer some guidance along the way.
Background
Would you consider your role part time or full time within justice and mercy ministry?
Part Time
How many years have you been in ministry among the vulnurable, marginalized, and under-resourced?
10.00
What training did you receive that equipped you for justice and mercy ministries?
My family, my village, my childhood. That's my greatest training ground and the source of the greatest barriers too.
What are your primary concerns for the ministry?
If by this you mean 'what worries me?' Then I guess finances are always an issue. But probably more than that I struggle to know how to balance mercy and openness to those struggling with various 'social issues' in a way that keeps me in line with the accepted practices of the Church.
What feels like the most difficult aspect of your life in ministry?
My Marriage
What gives you the greatest joy?
My Boys. And walking the long road and seeing the difference in peoples lives over time. It's slow and messy but it's beautiful.
What spiritual disciplines help sustain you in your rhythms of life among the vulnerable, marginalized, and under-resourced?
Daily prayer at the trinity mission & netflix.
What would you like fellow Anglicans (bishops, churches, the average parishioner) to know about your ministry?
That we are very ordinary, and that we do not have a ministry to the poor, we just are the poor. That the life we lead is a little too complicated to fit into neat boxes, and that leaves us feeling a little on the outside.
How would you like fellow Anglicans (bishops, churches, the average parishioner) to grow in regards to justice and mercy issues?
I'd love us all to embrace our own weakness, to own our own poverty and to see the wealth of those who are weak in the eyes of the world.
What are your favorite books related to justice and mercy issues?
Brene Browns stuff on vulnerability is great easy access stuff for everyone.
What do you wish people knew about justice ministry in general or specific arenas of justice work?
That life is hard for us all, but that it is deeply unfair for many.
What would you like to see happen in ACNA in regards to work of justice and mercy?
Unfortunately because of our struggles over the last 15 years, it often feels like we are a fighting people - defending territory. I'd love us to intentionally address our posture to one of poverty and humility. It's not that I do not think these things are present, they are; it's just that we've been defending for so long it comes a little too naturally to us. It also doesn't play too well in an American market to admit weakness (please forgive a British guy for saying that). However, I believe that it's only out of embracing our own poverty, that works of true justice and mercy will flow.
Tell us a bit about your story and your heart for justice and mercy.
I was brought up in a poor area of South Wales, never going to church. My mother and father were divorced and I spent a lot of my time in my family's pubs and with friends roaming the streets. When I came to know Christ in my late teens it was a very clear and life changing conversion - and I guess I've been trying to fully figure out what that means ever since. Although I love and believe in the Church deeply, I have always to some extent felt like and outsider; I have never fully felt like I knew how to play the game properly. Hanging out with large groups of clergy is like living out a nightmare for me, even though I have been a clergyman for 10 years myself. However, when I have my weekly meeting with a large group of drug addicts in recovery, I feel like I'm with 'my people', there's a connection there - a shared experience. It's not that one group is better or worse than the other - we're all just as screwed up as each other, but I naturally feel more at home in one of those spaces. So, it's not like I feel called to work among 'drug addicts', or people struggling with poor mental health, it's just where I naturally gravitate. And the more I gravitate, the more opportunity I have to make little differences in people's lives every now and then. And man that feels good! So I do it some more. In it's most basic form - we do not have a ministry to the poor at Immanuel, we are the poor. We do not minister to addicts we are addicts. We do not care for those with poor mental health, we join with them in seeking healing in our own mental health.