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Oct1ThuCam Rennie seeks to be the same person at work and church October 1, 2009 Interview with Cam Rennie
My wife, Sheila, and I started calling the St. Albert Corps, Alberta and Northern Territories Division, our church home in the mid-1980s. I had become friends with the corps officer through a community jazz band and he asked if I would come and help start a brass band at the church. I accepted the invitation and we've been there ever since. I continue to play cornet in the brass band, guitar in the worship team and serve as the corps sergeant major.
- Filed Under:
- Opinion & Critical Thought
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Sheila and I were married in Regina in the fall of 1982. We have two sons, who are now in their twenties. I've worked for the Safeway grocery chain since I graduated from University in 1979. My title is business analyst and I support various supply chain applications and databases. On occasion, I get the opportunity to travel to our various supply plants (there are over 30) located in Western Canada and the United States.
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My earliest memories of church are attending with my parents and siblings. My mom and dad always made an effort to keep us involved in church activities. In my teenage years, my dad had me ushering or helping to count the offering. This is where I learned the importance of service and contribution.
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At a men's retreat at Pine Lake Camp in the late 1980s I made a major commitment to God. Up to that point, I had been going through the motions of being a Christian. At the retreat, I saw an older gentlemen going forward to the mercy seat and this really touched me—I was looking at myself years down the road. I decided then to become real with God and start working at having a relationship instead of pretending. After the retreat, I pulled up to my driveway and was overwhelmed by the enormity of the decision I'd made. I wondered how this was going to impact my day-to-day life.
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In the early days at St. Albert Corps, we held our worship services at a local school. The church was the people around us and we didn't have the distractions that a church building sometimes brings. We now have our own big, beautiful corps building, which has allowed us to increase our presence in the community and provides the practical resources needed to run our programs. When our discussions about church business get cluttered with non-people issues, I often reflect on our time at the school and this gives me clarity.
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I've had occasions over my 30-year career with Safeway where things have not always gone the way I've expected. I vividly recall moments when I've handed the situation over to God and this has given me peace. I think there is a potential for people to act a certain way at work and then act differently at church. Over the years, I've tried to narrow that gap—it is so much easier to be one person.
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Last year, when we heard that our corps officers, Captains Les and Tiffany Marshall, were being transferred, we were concerned that we might lose ground on some of the great things they had put in place. As CSM, one of my immediate goals was to make sure the new officers, Captains Jason and Gaye King, felt welcomed and loved at our corps so that the work God has instilled in their hearts could come forth quickly. In reality, we have corps officers for a limited time, so there is little time to waste to get God's work done. A good relationship is essential in order to discuss the things you not only agree upon but more importantly the things you don't. If you happen to disagree on something, it is much easier to come together with an attitude of love and encouragement if you have already built the relationship.
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I hope that our corps will continue to build God's Kingdom by creating an atmosphere of welcome, trust and community where God is freely able to do his work. With our community services, I would like us to have a loving presence in St. Albert and also show the community that we are effective in using the money that they generously put in the kettle each year.
Photo: Cam Rennie in front of the St. Albert Corps
In this Witness series, John McAlister, Senior Editor, interviews Salvationists from across the territory about their families, work, faith and involvement with The Salvation Army.