For Rev. John Perkin, pursuing the ministry was a natural choice. His father taught religious studies at Acadia and, even though he first ventured down a number of different paths, he came back to theology.
Originally from England, Rev. Perkin studied at Acadia University, the University of Manchester, and McMaster University. His studies have included the history of ideas, international relations, theology and biblical studies, pastoral care and counselling, and adult education.
An ordained minister in the Baptist denomination, he has served churches in Winnipeg and southern Ontario.
“I had been told by a few people, including my sister, that university chaplaincy would be a good fit for me,” he says. “Then an opportunity came up at Mount Allison.”
Twenty-seven years ago this summer, Rev. Perkin, his wife Dodie, and their young son Wray moved to Sackville for a ten-month contract as the University Chaplain.
“From applying to being offered the job, it was 24 days,” Rev. Perkin says. “We had one baby and another on the way [Joanna] and we did one of the most foolish things and bought a house on a ten-month contract. We still live in that house today.”
In Rev. Perkin’s position as University Chaplain, he provides spiritual faith guidance to the Mount Allison community, as well as pastoral care and counselling. He says grief counselling has become a significant part of his work. He works with students of all faiths and delivers services on Sundays in non-denominational Christian worship.
“I deal with the larger issues of life like identity, purpose, and meaning,” he says. “We come to recognize that the smaller issues of life are often related to the larger issues of life. This age group (18-25) is dealing consciously or subconsciously with these larger issues.”
After his first year, Rev. Perkin also began teaching at the University. He teaches in the area of faith and culture from a historical perspective, like his courses The Apocalyptic Consciousness, The Historical Jesus, and The Bible and the Arts.
He has also travelled with students three times to India for the summer studies program.
“Travel and reflection on travel are such an excellent part of education,” he says. “To be in a different place and culture and to share in life. What I love most is meeting people in ordinary circumstances and learning how they live.”
He and his family also spent six months in Japan during the early part of his career, helping to set up the MASSIE (Mount Allison Semester Studies in English) Program.
“Appreciating rich history, people, and commonalities that transcend differences is so important,” he says.
Although Rev. Perkin says his line of work doesn’t always come with immediate tangible rewards, there is satisfaction in working with students at this point in their lives.
“There is a joy in being a part of students’ awakening into the world around them and adulthood and possibilities,” he says.
Outside of his work, Rev. Perkin enjoys the outdoors — hiking, biking, canoeing, and birdwatching.
Rev. Perkin has two offices on campus and is available to drop in without appointment most days. He can be found in his office on the second floor of the Wallace McCain Student Centre (Student Life) or in his study in the Chapel some afternoons, by chance or by appointment.
Appointments can be made by contacting the Chaplain's Office: (506) 364-2227 or firstname.lastname@example.org