Robert Slimm, Stories, and Mountain Movement

Evangel – Summer 2015

Keeping PACE

Robert Slimm was one of eleven children born to an atheist Mother and an agnostic Father. Both parents came to faith when they immigrated to Alberta from England after the War. The family moved with work, and with each move, became part of a different congregation, Baptist, Moravian, Brethren, Alliance, and so forth.

Of his early faith experience, Robert says, “The soil was shallow, and it didn’t always take. I did a lot of meandering!” Even in some of those times of distraction there were people though who wanted to invest in his becoming a better disciple. Like the preacher at a Pentecostal camp who declared to him “If you don’t know Jesus, you can!” Responding to that Robert says, “For the first time in my life, the stories of the Bible started to come together. I was hungry. I even wanted others to know God, though I wasn’t ready to do what I knew I needed to do to commit my life totally.”

After several years at the University of Toronto studying forestry and science, Robert moved to Ottawa. “I met a man who showed me Christian reality! He had words, but it was like he didn’t need them. The final validation for my commitment was his life. He led me to Christ and baptized me.”

Robert’s life is the story of life interruptions by God and His people. “They made me feel that I had a special task, and wanted me to grow closer and become a more fruitful follower of Jesus. I draw on their stories and their interactions with me.” In 2006 he entered ABC’s PACE (Professional Adult Christian Education) program. He didn’t know what it would lead to, but “God seemed to keep whispering, ‘Get ready! Be ready!’” His studies were interrupted by his father’s declining health and subsequent death, and a car accident that broke both his feet, leaving him with a permanent limp. Of these things Robert says, “I knew things had changed for me! But I kept coming back to the stories of the Bible, and of other Christians: that God is still in control, He remains faithful, and He will not forsake His own!” Three years ago he returned to Calgary to finish his program. Along the way he completed ABC’s Northmount Institute TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Program. This year he received his Bachelor of Arts, Leadership and Ministry.

In his Valedictory address at Commencement, Robert testified to the great crowd of witnesses who had invested in his life: “the disciples who discipled others, who bear witness to the goodness of God in Jesus Christ, who made the message real by living it, who gave us the tools so that in turn we may disciple others.” He went on to say, “All of us, students and graduates, are grateful for:

The ones who pray for us,
The ones who teach us and encourage us,
Those who tell us of the One who experienced things before we did,
The people of faith, committed to serving God,
The ones who built this school,
The ones who are still building this school,
The ones who urge us on….
To do our best because we are serving the One who gave His all for us.”

Today Robert is an ESL (English as a Second Language) instructor in the Grace Presbyterian ESL Program, where he is running a pilot program using the Bible as the English text. “The story’s of God’s people continue to change my life. They produce faith. And faith can move mountains!”

Dr. Fraser is the Director of Learning Services as well as a professor who specializes in New Testament and Christian history; theological pedagogy; and social ethics in contemporary education. He credentials include B. Th. ’73 Alberta Bible College; B. Ed. ’73 University of Calgary; M.C.S. ’86 Regent College; Ed. D. ’08, University of Alberta Academic.

Ron has also published extensively: From Tinkering to Transformation: Christian Ministry in an Age of Secularism (1993, Lectures of the College of Churches of Christ in Canada. Published by the College of Churches of Christ in Canada); A History of the Restoration Movement in Canada (2008, as in Foster, Blowers, Dunnavant, and Williams, The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement. Eerdmans); Ron has also written numerous articles for the Christian Standard from 1989-2002 and the Alberta Bible College Evangel from 1982-2011.

His ministry activities include Alternative Dispute Resolution; Mediation Training and Peace Education; Ecclesial Leadership and Equipping Education Workships including Inspiring a Shared Vision through Appreciative Inquiry, Group Needs Assessment, Strategic Planning, Team Building, Growing and Empowering Influencers, etc.; Preaching.

In his spare time Ron enjoys hiking, woodworking, visiting with people.

Other articles by Dr. Ron Fraser: