The Clergy Support Memorial Church Board was in full agreement to recognize the Rev Heather McPherson as an Appointed Designated Minister – Counselling Ministry on February 21, 2017. Rev McPherson impressed us with her responsible, professional, non-judgmental nature. She has a drive for social justice, advocating for those living below the margin and offers counselling through her small private practice. She’s been blessed with the energy and determination needed to support and encourage those in her community anywhere she can.
- Alliance francaise, Paris, France – Certificat de Francais Parle et du Diplome de Langue Francaise
- Sorbonne University, Paris, France – Diplome d’Etudes de Civilisation francaise, Degre Superieur
- Concordia University, Montreal – B.A. Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)
- Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloo – M.S.W. Master of Social Work
- Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers – Registered Social Worker
- The Toronto Society for Bioenergetic Analysis – Certified Bioenergetic Analytic Therapist
- University of Toronto Faculty of Social Work – Field Practice Educator
Rev Heather is always in demand as part of the Social Justice Team at Fairlawn Avenue United Church in Toronto where she plans and implements the annual Social Justice Sunday service. This includes meeting with potential guest speakers, selecting prayers, readings and music to complement the service. Although only once a year, the delivery of this service is a stimulating challenge and a great pleasure.
Throughout the year she welcomes being asked to read Scripture at their Sunday morning service.
For the past two years she has been meeting every Tuesday morning with a contemplative prayer group. A local church provides space for them. Following a period of meditation, prayers of intercession and thanksgiving are offered, concluding with a discussion on spiritual growth.
Pastoral Care activities
Heather has always been actively involved in advocating for those living in poverty. Most of this work begins in boardrooms at City hall with her municipal counsellor. She also supports refugee sponsorship in her community, visiting families who have been billeted until more permanent housing can be found for them. Heather is also part of a team of like-minded community members who meet and assist newcomers to our country with the process of gaining Canadian citizenship.
Besides conducting life celebration ceremonies, she is currently offering pre-marital counselling, individual, couple and bereavement counselling in her small private practice. She welcomes those who need someone to listen, allowing them to vent without judgment or advice and to be with them as they shed many tears. She helps to normalize their feelings and offers support for as long as needed.
It’s important to never stop growing
Rev Heather makes time in her life for growth, whether it’s being part of both a film group and a book group. She finds the discussions that ensue are stimulating and thought provoking. They also contribute to her ability to hear without judgment opinions that are often different than her own. They keep her up to date with what people may be reading or seeing and allow her to be a good contributor to social conversation.
The Spiritual Dimension plays an important and meaningful part of her life, especially this year. Heather commented, “The purpose of contemplative prayer (meditation) is to reduce the judgment in one’s head and to open one’s heart with love to all who are put on one’s path. I have noticed this happening out of the blue as I gladly put my own plans on the back burner because someone wants to speak to me and be heard, or someone needs help with a task that is troublesome. My selfishness is decreasing, and I feel contentment and peace being of service to others.”
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