Rector Paul Friesen

DSC09761 - Version 3 Rector Paul Head

Paul Friesen became the 16th rec­tor of St. Paul’s Church, Hal­i­fax, in the sum­mer of 2005, fol­low­ing the faith­ful and fruit­ful min­istries of his most imme­di­ate pre­de­ces­sors, Peter Mason (1980–1985) and John New­ton (1986–2004). Paul arrived at St. Paul’s from the Uni­ver­si­ty of King’s Col­lege, Hal­i­fax, where he had been serv­ing as Uni­ver­si­ty Chap­lain and Priest-in-charge of the Chapel. He is not cer­tain why St. Paul’s chose him (!) but he is sure why he chose St. Paul’s: for its com­mit­ment to the Gospel of divine grace in ‘Word, sacra­ment, and deed’–that is for its love of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spir­it in the Scrip­tures; and in its wor­ship, in its parish life, and in its mis­sion. Paul loves lead­ing wor­ship at St. Paul’s, and teach­ing and preach­ing, and the pas­toral care of the con­gre­ga­tion. He also loves work­ing along­side staff, parish offi­cers, and mem­bers of the parish in spir­i­tu­al growth groups, work groups, com­mit­tees, plan­ning groups, and in local out­reach efforts. He (and his fam­i­ly!) also love the way in which the long his­to­ry of St. Paul’s and its love of the life of the mind and music and art and the poor come togeth­er in the rhythms of parish life—a parish life that cel­e­brates God’s cre­ation, Christ’s redemp­tion, and the Holy Spirit’s pres­ence. And he loves wel­com­ing and super­vis­ing pas­toral interns and divin­i­ty stu­dents.
As a young adult Paul earned his way on con­struc­tion sites and land­scap­ing projects. He worked for a while as a pro­ba­tion and parole offi­cer, an assis­tant dean of stu­dents (Wycliffe Col­lege, Toron­to), and then as an under­grad­u­ate his­to­ry lec­tur­er at sev­er­al Uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges. He grad­u­at­ed from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, and then com­plet­ed grad­u­ate degrees in the­ol­o­gy at Har­vard Divin­i­ty School (Th. M.) and the Uni­ver­si­ty of St. Michael’s Col­lege, Toron­to (Ph.D.). He began offer­ing cours­es at the Atlantic School of The­ol­o­gy in 2001, and became Adjunct Lec­tur­er in Angli­can The­ol­o­gy in 2007. In 2014–2015, at the invi­ta­tion of the Pri­mate of the Angli­can Church of Cana­da, he also served as a the­olo­gian on the Mat­ri­mo­ni­al Com­mis­sion of the Angli­can Church of Cana­da. Paul has writ­ten reviews and essays and giv­en lec­tures and talks in var­i­ous places in the midst of his pas­toral and aca­d­e­m­ic work for the past two decades, and con­tin­ues to do so. He also served as Reviews Edi­tor for The Dioce­san Times (2003–2013) and is a co-author of sev­er­al pub­lished works; By Grace Co-Work­ers (1989), The Parish and Cathe­dral of St. James, Toron­to (1998), The True and Liv­ing Word (1998), Seeds Scat­tered and Sown (2008), Guide for the Chris­t­ian Per­plexed (2012), This Holy Estate (2015), and Ref­or­ma­tion Worlds (2016). He is cur­rent­ly work­ing on a project enti­tled Sacra­men­tal Reli­gion.