GROWING UP IN JAMAICA, Germaine Lovelace was a typical teen boy--filled with hormones, angst and rebellion. The Moravian church to which his family belonged had a punitive approach to youthfulness. The punishment he was given only increased the angst. He went off course in his mid-teens, dealing dope to the rich kids at school, and partaking himself.
That's when a six-foot-seven-inch Scottish lady, an administrator at the school, called him into her office. They talked about the football at which he excelled on the pitch, and her favourite team, ManU. She invited him to come to her Presbyterian church that Sunday. She picked him up at the bus stop, two more Scottish ladies in the car with her.
He got involved in that church. He cleaned himself up. He went back to his home church and got involved there. While seeking post-secondary education he became even more involved in the Moravian church. He felt a calling to the ministry. He met a girl.
He was a pastor at a church where he didn't take a holiday for two years. Feeling burned out, he told his congregation he needed some time off. Someone offered him a month in Southern Ontario. He went to Niagara Falls a few times.
At another crisis in his life, now married with a young boy, he thought of the two churches with which he'd been associated, the Moravian and the Presbyterian. That's how he ended up at St. Andrew's Hall, Vancouver, with $4,000 in his pocket.
As that money quickly evaporated, a short-term position opened up 2,500 kilometres away. The family of three had a great summer serving First, Kenora, Ont. After they returned to Vancouver for Lovelace to finish his studies, the struggling Kenora congregation got a financial boost from a planned gift. They called Lovelace.
His banker wife also got a great job offer in Kenora. Off they went in the dead of winter.
Forty-below is hard on locals; punishing on newcomers. The Lovelaces were three of only six black people in Kenora. It was hard and depressing. Plus the nearest Presbyterian clergy person was hundreds of kilometres away. It was lonely. Husband and wife talked of getting out, cutting their losses.
Just then, an emissary from the Renewal Fellowship showed up on his annual Encouragement Road Trip. Rev. Germaine Lovelace poured his heart out to Rev. Fred Stewart. At the end of the visit, Lovelace felt a renewed energy to continue his Kenora ministry. That was two years ago; he's still there.
Talk to Lovelace and he'll tell you...