On the job as Bishop’s and Champlain Campus Minister since mid-August, Jesse Dymond is happy to be in the Townships despite the fact that he never planned to come here.
“This move was entirely unplanned,” Dymond said, explaining that he was approached about considering the position while on sabbatical from a job doing online ministry with the Anglican Church of Canada at the national and international level. “As soon as I was off I got a number of calls from across the country asking me to consider this or that. This was one of the positions that came up and I remember saying absolutely not, this is the wrong time and probably the wrong place. I could think of so many reasons that this wasn’t going to work for our family.”
Clarifying that the role of chaplain has long been a kind of a dream job for him, the young pastor explained that he had never seriously considered the idea of living or working in Quebec and didn’t think, in the moment, that such a significant relocation was the right decision.
One visit changed all of that.
“We all got in the car and we came down for the day and we ended up staying for over a week.” The pastor recalled, sharing that his family was surprised by the warm welcome and assistance they got in their visit. “After that first week we went home and my wife said to me it feels like we’re leaving home.”
Over the summer Dymond said that his family went through a six week whirlwind of relocating their lives and getting situated in a new environment that culminated with his first day on campus on August 11.
“Looking back, this was perfect timing, it was just unplanned on my end,” he said. “The timing was not our own.”
Between the start of the school year, Church conferences, and the beginning of his own PHD studies in Ontario, Dymond hasn’t had a whole lot of time to sit still since starting in his new role. Asked about what he is looking forward to in the position, however, the pastor was quick to highlight the role that music has had to play in his life so far.
“Part of the reason I am here is that I was a music student in my undergraduate,” the pastor said, explaining that before life ever led him to seminary he participated in chapel choirs from “the other side of the church.”
“I didn’t know what a Lutheran was,” Dymond laughed. “I’d never seen candles and vestments in church before.”
Impressed by what he saw, the campus minister said that the experience was the first step on the road that led him to ordination.
“Over my years in a parish and in the different roles that I have done, one of the questions that has always been at the back of my mind is where music fits into whatever ministry context I’ve been in,” Dymond said adding, “there’s a strong musical connection in chapel life here.”
The new Campus Minister said that another aspect of the job at Bishop’s that appeals to him is the close relationship that has been developed with the student services. Calling the situation a “win/win” Dymond noted that because the campus minister is linked with but not funded by the student services, the person serving in that role is free to provide support to counselors, professors and support staff on campus as well.
Finally, Dymond said that he was quite pleased to see the amount of interfaith and interdenominational work already being done on campus and in the surrounding community, given his role as a support to people of all faith communities.
“It is good to see that a healthy relationship has already been established,” the minister said, sharing a similar feeling about the campus’ work on reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
Aside from the work left to be done in terms of polishing up his French and getting settled in a new home, Dymond said that he already feels at home and is looking forward to getting to know the community better.
“There are so many things I could do that I’m already realizing I sometimes have to say no,” he said.
An induction service will be held for Dymond this coming Sunday, September 24, at 4 p.m. in Saint Mark’s Chapel on the Bishop’s University Campus.