Rev Bev Brazier
"People are hungry for hope, desperate for community, and long for an honest engagement of deep down things" says Rev. Bev Brazier, Festival of Biblical Telling 2022 theme speaker. "By-heart biblical telling opens us up to all of those things."
The message "You are Absolutely Welcome Here" is the first thing voiced by Bev’s Whitehorse congregation at worship in Canada’s Yukon Territory. There is a full seven minutes of welcome as I join them in online worship on Sunday". I am smiling as I write it, for I know I too am welcome in this pastor’s heart.
Bev hails from the northern Ontario town of Sioux Lookout, approximately 350 km from Thunder Bay. Born in 1954, she says her fondest memory of her father is how he told stories. He would make them up as he told them, and Bev grew to love storytelling.
She left home to study for her BA in French at the University of Winnipeg and then, having come to faith, she felt she was called to ministry. Off she went on a schooling adventure, beginning her master's degree at St. Andrew’s University (St. Mary’s Theological College), near Edinburgh Scotland. She completed her master's training at Vancouver School of Theology.
Bev became a pastor and ministered in Eastern Canada, in remote Quebec and in the Maritimes. She married the love of her life, and sadly was widowed after only four years of marriage.
As she grew in ministry she began to be attracted to the narrative form of preaching, telling the stories of Jesus using the voice of one of the characters in the text. A decade or so ago, she heard about the Network of Biblical Storytellers Canada and went to their annual Festival of Biblical Telling. Bev says that what she discovered was not what she had expected - this telling of scripture by heart with the whole self. When Dr. Tom Boomershine, the founder of the movement in the United States, began his ‘Epic Telling’ of the Gospel of Mark (and he can tell the entire book by heart) she was ‘hooked’.
Rev. Brazier has pastored in Whitehorse for over 12 years and, if you spend any time with her, you will find out that she is an integral part of the community. She has the gift of bridge-building between people. As Police Chaplain she is often called upon to minister to those in dire circumstances and, being well known in the community for her experience and care, she is often called upon to conduct memorials and ceremonies beyond the walls of the church.
That sensitivity is evident when she tells the Word. As one of the keynote speakers, she will be sharing why the text told “by heart from the heart” is so important in today’s communications. The Word was composed when most people were not literate, and was meant to be heard in community. Reading scripture alone and silently has only been a recent spiritual practice.
Jesus’ love is so evident in this woman who has bravely continued to minister through the years despite great personal loss. She absolutely welcomes all to hear about the love of God. Biblical telling is often how she communicates that truth, using the very words of Jesus, told from a heart touched by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.
Pastor Bev Brazier will be sharing her own passion for the Word, how she stumbled upon by-heart telling, and how it can inform our ministry, our pastoral care and the various places in which we are called to church leadership and into the world.
"Something mysterious and wonderful happens in the learning and in the telling of Bible texts," says she. "Something for the teller and also for the hearers. It's more powerful than I could have imagined. It's a Spirit-filled practice."
- Heather Seargeant, NBSC