The Reverend C. Paul Orritt (“Fr. Paul”) was born in Calgary, AB where he was raised within the Anglican community of faith. After earning his B.Sc. (1969) from the University of Calgary, he began a career as a Rehabilitation Psychologist. It was during this time he came to confess Jesus as Lord and in obedience to the Lord’s call on his life set himself to prepare for ordained ministry at Trinity College, Toronto, ON. In 1982 he received the degree of Master of Divinity having previously completed several courses in Liturgical Theology at the University of Notre Dame (1981).
Immediately following his ordination, Fr. Paul served for five years in the Parish of Ramea, NFLD. (1974-79) following which he accepted the position of Chaplain at Memorial University and Queen’s College, St. John’s, NFLD. (1979-82).
He returned to western Canada and to the Parish of St. Augustine’s, Lethbridge, AB where he served for five years (1982-87) as Assistant Priest. It was during this period of time that he made his Cursillo and became involved with the Diocese of Calgary Cursillo Movement. Accepting a call to become the Rector of St. Peter’s, Okotoks in 1987, there he remained for a nineteen year incumbency until 2006. While Rector of St. Peter’s, Fr. Paul also served on, and later chaired, the National Board of Anglican Renewal Ministries [Canada], and served on the Executive of Anglican Essentials Canada, latterly with the Network Servant Team as a Convocational Dean [Rupert’s Land]. Fr. Paul has been Rector of Grace by the Sea since November, 2006 and, until recently, was actively involved with KAIROS Prison Ministry in its outreach to Monroe Correctional Complex [MCC], ministering in both the Washington State Reformatory [WSR] and the Twin River Unit [TRU], as well as serving on the MCC KAIROS Advisory Council.
Fr. Paul: A Short Personal Testimony
“I was born into, and subsequently raised within, the Anglican ethos. Baptized as an infant, I was Confirmed at the age of fourteen years, neither event having made any conscious impact on my spiritual walk, but undoubtedly bringing about an interior transformation that would come to define my life by the end of my twenty second year. Having experienced a profound sense of destiny and purpose as long as I could remember, I entered my undergraduate years of university with an equally profound sense of loss of meaning and purpose. University years for me were an experience of real and actual existential angst and with resolute integrity, I abandoned every vestige of faith that had accrued to that time, embracing rather the volatile and reactionary world of the 1960’s wherein everything institutional was held with great suspicion – and especially so, the Church. And yet, still the longing within me to rest in the destiny that had embraced me from birth only intensified, and as it did, I became increasingly more agitated with my life and life in general.”
“In the summer of my twenty-second year I happened to read the apocryphal gospel of Thomas, and was captivated [proving the Lord can use any vehicle He chooses to act as a spiritual catalyst]. Repetitive reading of this small gospel together with my reasonably informed Anglican upbringing led me to compare this manuscript with the Gospel of John which I devoured as would a starving man a gourmet meal. Within a week I had a life-changing encounter with the Lord while walking along a pathway in a forested area – my Damascus Road – and soon after sought out the counsel of someone in the Church. The Lord provided exactly the right person – my Ananias – a young, theologically astute and intellectually stimulating priest under whom I was mentored for the following year; mentoring which led me quickly and inevitably to seminary. How many times since I have re-committed my life into the Lord’s hands I do not know, but this I do know: He is the meaning and the purpose calling out to me from the beginning of my days, and serving Him is my destiny and my delight.”
A Personal Statement
I acknowledge the Holy Scriptures to be the revealed Word of God upon which all Christian teaching/preaching and practice must be based and be verified. I do not believe that God’s Word is to be interpreted on the basis of our very limited experience, but rather our experience is to be clarified and challenged in the light of Scriptural truth.
I am committed to the New Testament picture of the Church as the Body of Christ, over which Jesus functions as the Head. He alone builds His Church through the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit. In the Church every member is gifted and called upon to offer his/her life as a reasonable, living, and holy sacrifice to the Lord. This lifestyle of Kingdom ministry, modeled in both focus and authority by the Lord Jesus Himself, is the essence of God’s continuing call. Our response is only made possible through a fellowship formed and quickened by the continuing presence of the Father’s love mediated by the Holy Spirit; love which His people then issue forth in acts of service. The life of the Church, therefore, is given full expression only when its sacramental, evangelical, and charismatic character is manifestly present.
God’s people have a mandate to celebrate [and to touch the world with] the healing and reconciling love of Jesus: indeed the Church is in the world primarily for those outside of its fellowship and worship. It is therefore to be expected that any congregation can and will experience significant growth, both qualitatively and quantitatively, proportional to its commitment this vision and mandate. The Great Commission the Lord gives to His Church is one which carries both His authority and His power in order that His chosen, albeit weak, vessels might run the race set before them with confidence.
Precisely because the Lord is to be followed at His bidding, the Church must always be prepared to move from that place of blessing in which security and comfort have been experienced; the life of faith is an ongoing journey into the deep mysteries of God. Those whom the Father calls to new life in Jesus need to present a radical dependency upon His Holy Spirit as their Source and their Guide. Faith is given to all those who are prepared to risk their lives for the Kingdom.