Neil McEwen & Linda Yates.

2015Neil McEwen lives along the South Shore of Nova Scotia in Lunenburg County with his spouse, Philip, and has ministered with the congregation of West Side United Church in Pentz since July, 2005.

Their paths crossed, simply by chance, a few years after Neil moved to Nova Scotia following 5 years of ministry in rural Saskatchewan. Marriage was not their plan in the early years of their relationship but they realized how their lives were more full and rewarding because of each other. In 2012 they invited 235 members of their family, friends and community of faith to joyfully begin their married life; they continue to build and strengthen each other with love, commitment and encouragement.

As the youngest of 8 children Neil learned early in life the value of being in relationship with others requires work, attentiveness and communication in times of celebration and challenge. He witnessed his grandparents celebrate 60 years together in the 1970s and watched his own parents work side-by-side on the family farm, raise a large family, disagree, support, encourage and protect each other with dedication and love throughout their 56 years of marriage until his father died in 2010.

Neil has drawn from these experiences to strengthen his own marriage and when meeting with couples as they enter into a new phase of their relationship.

Eager to be effective when meeting with couples as they prepare for their ceremony of marriage Neil was often challenged with the resources available to assist couples to engage in important conversation which are necessary to build strong relationships. The diversity of couples was not always reflected in the resources available so it was with excitement that he accepted the invitation to be part of “More Than Friends” marriage resource.

linda yates bench 2012Linda has always had one foot in the world of faith and the other in science. She was a Medical Laboratory Technologist in her first career, working in an Infectious Disease Research Lab for more than a decade. She felt the relentless call of God toward ministry, which resulted in her ordination in 1999. Her own personal experiences with cancer and the awesome resilience she has observed in the people she has served, has caused her to explore the relationship of spirituality, death acceptance and narrative.

She thinks that though science has told religion that it is just not that into it any more, they should talk – if only for the sake of the kids and the planet.

As a minister, Linda has presided at many marriages. She has worked with married couples when they have had problems in their marriage. Although every marriage is unique, it would seem that some problems regularly crop up. She believes in the life-giving, deep love that is possible in marriage, so she began to read, research and wonder about what makes marriages resilient. It has become a passion.

In these complex times, Linda gets up in morning and reflects that, no matter what, it is always a good day to serve God and the people of God. She hopes her preaching reflects this. Despite the current trend to move away from biblical preaching, she still thinks it important. Linda reads the bible and wrestles with it daily, much like Jacob wrestled with the angel. Unlike Jacob, her hip remains unbroken, but this is not to say she remains unscathed by these frequent encounters.

Linda is an insatiable reader and a writer. She contributes frequently to many journals and popular publications. She also likes to knit, quilt, hike and hang out with her husband, Carl and their two Jack Russell Terriers. They have two adult sons who are the loves of their lives, Shane (Enrique) and Matthew (Sarah).