The Rev. Kim Barlow
Born and raised in Tyne Valley, PEI, in a village of less than 250 people, The Rev. Kim Barlow is no stranger to small communities.
After graduating from Knox College’s M.Div. Program in 2001, Kim was ready to leave the hustle and bustle of Toronto behind and return to the slower pace of life that the East Coast offers. In 2002, she accepted the call to a two-point charge in New Brunswick through Canada Ministries of The Presbyterian Church in Canada to St. Peter’s Presbyterian Church in Stanley and St. Paul’s in Williamsburg. Although she never thought she’d live in New Brunswick and had only accepted a six-month contract, she settled into the small village of Stanley. During her time there, she has seen the two congregations merge into St. Peter’s, she has settled into life as a minister and has become firmly planted in the community.
“Stanley is a great community with wonderful people,” says Kim. “Everyone knows everyone.” It is this sense of familiarity and communal caring that helped to develop her plan for St. Peter’s. She has focused on her church being an open and welcoming place, and calls upon the congregation to assist her in reaching out to the broader community, especially those who have left or strayed for various reasons.
In fellowship with members of her congregation, Kim has created a solid community and is pleased that it has been built through well-known and simple rural life practices such as in-home visits and pot luck dinners.
To be truly effective in a rural setting, she believes that a minister needs to be visible and active in the larger community, especially in seeing the members of her congregation outside of church. to do that, she participates in the village’s local committees and events. “This helps to increase the profile of the church and allows rural ministers to make contact with people they would never have met otherwise.”
Although she credits her rural upbringing, she also says that the Faculty, staff and courses, along with the student community at Knox College, were critical in her development as a Minister. Her education at the College, as well as a placement at a downtown toronto church, helped her to see her gifts for ministry and it is here that she began to develop them.
“A rural ministry allows you greater freedom, a greater sense of community and more experience,” says Kim. “Although the more that you can get under your belt before you leave Knox, the better!”