A transgender re-naming. Residential schools for indigenous children. Same-sex marriage. A pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. At first glance, the stories may have little in common, and yet, when put into conversation with the ancient stories of our faith, their shared lot is to give birth to sacred meaning and an experience of the divine. To preach out of the stuff of our lives is to speak in what we may call the wisdom tradition, a way of speaking that relies on the conviction that God is present and active, here and now. We look for meaning in the unexpected encounter between an ancient story and the present life of the community. Then, we speak.
The Rev. Mark Whittall is the pastor of St. Albans Church and a priest of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa. He is an engineer by training, and obtained graduate degrees in Theoretical Physics and in Development Economics from Oxford University. His first career was as an engineer and executive in the high-tech sector, rising to the position of CEO and earning recognition as Ottawa’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000. Soon afterwards he left his business career and turned to the study of theology. He served as Professor, History of Science at Augustine College in Ottawa from 2002 to 2007 and was ordained as an Anglican Priest in 2008. After a brief stay in a rural parish, he was tasked with building a new congregation at St. Albans Church in downtown Ottawa in 2011, where he currently serves as pastor.