Coral Harbour’s Paul Pudlat was officially ordained as a deacon at the Anglican church in Rankin Inlet this past July 23.
Pudlat, 71, said being ordained as deacon by Lucy Netser, an Anglican pastor from Arviat, means that God is calling him to do what needs to be done spiritually in his community, as well as any other community he happens to be called to in the Kivalliq region or beyond.
He said he’s been in the clergy since 1986 and is looking forward to the new challenges awaiting him.
“To make a long story short, I would like to be the voice for God wherever I am, because he needs me to speak for him,” said Pudlat.
“So, if you hear me preaching somewhere, it’s not really me you hear speaking but, rather, God speaking to the people, and myself, through me.
“I didn’t make-up the bible. God made the bible and he wants us to follow where he is going. So, it is up to us to follow his word.
“We only live once and, if we don’t do it for God, we’re missing the other half of what we’re supposed to be doing. We have to bring it upon ourselves to do this and submit ourselves to God during our lives.”
Pudlat said church activities in Coral have slowed down a lot since the start of the pandemic. That’s mainly because the community is not gathering in the church together as it usually does – where they also hold their young person’s choir – and his preaching is not being done directly.
He finds it a lot harder trying to serve the community with church services limited to 50 people at a time due to Covid-19 restrictions, he said.
However, he is doing radio shows where many more residents can tune-in.
“Hopefully, God has also been able to send his voice through the radio for both the people and myself,” he said. “I like to think the youth in Coral Harbour are doing well spiritually but, like I said, it’s become harder for us to spread the word of God in the church since people aren’t going to church as much during the pandemic.
“By that I mean we’re still going to church as a community, but only in the morning. That’s where we do our other half of our lives for God.”
Pudlat said Covid-19 has changed life around the globe quite drastically during 2020.
He said no one in the world expected what was coming their way and that rings especially true in small, remote communities.
“We know Covid is out there and that it touches people. We know it kills people and can take away the loved ones of so many.
“How do we deal with that? It’s hard for us to imagine that one day, eventually, it may make it into our communities, but we have to face the fact that possibility exists.
“It’s hard, I know, but that’s the reality of it and we must face that reality.”
Pudlat said becoming a deacon has changed his responsibilities a lot.
He said he still needs to receive more training as he goes along but, with Covid-19, it’s become hard just to meet with ministers to discuss the options that he will have moving forward.
“I’m going to be doing some of the work of the ministers in some communities, such as conducting marriage services, baptisms, and other duties such as keeping records of things around the church for year’s end, and holding meetings with parishioners in the vestry and working directly with them.
“I have no intentions of slowing down, even at 71, until God calls me home. If anything, I’m going stronger than ever right now.
“I could not have done this by myself and I would like to thank the people who had a part in ordaining me in the Anglican church in Rankin Inlet during the Covid pandemic, especially Lucy Netser.
“I would also like to thank everyone who supported me, especially my wife, Emily, who stood by my side through both high times and low. I love you.”