Heather Leffler, President of Hamilton Conference,
The United Church of Canada, 2017-2018
Heather’s family was always very involved in the Evangelical United Brethren Church and after 1968, the United Church. At 16, she began serving on the Official Board at Bridgeport United with her parents.
She met her husband, John, at Everton Cub Camp, across the river from Rockwood United. Her experiences in Scouting helped her develop leadership skills that served her as an occasional teacher, computer instructor at Conestoga College, and in ministry. Heather and John have three adult daughters: Sarah, Helen and Lisa. Helen and her husband, Robert, have two delightful sons, John and William. It is a gift for Heather to have her family share in the life of the church. William loves watching “The Wiggles” on half of Grandma’s computer screen, while Grandma types her sermon on the other half.
As a young mom, Heather attended her first Hamilton Conference meeting, becoming an alternate to General Council. Attending the 35th General Council in Fergus, she sensed a call to ministry and returned home to begin her discernment. After studying at Emmanuel College and completing her internship at Ryerson in Hamilton, she was ordained in Fergus in 1999. Settled in Clifford Pastoral Charge, she spent 13 rewarding years serving with the folk of Alsfeldt and Knox. Highlights of their ministry were Kids Worship Events, Four for Families, and creating Vacation Bible School curriculum where adults shared gifts of carpentry, music, baking, and more.
Since 2012, she has served with Rockwood and Stone Pastoral Charge. Rockwood has purchased a house beside the church with the help of Waterloo Presbytery Extension Council which is now home to East Wellington Community Services. Both congregations reach out to their communities and beyond in many ways, including Stone’s Children of Bukati ministry to AIDS orphans in Africa. In the summer the two congregations worship together in a circle. Heather has discovered she prefers preaching when she can sit down and talk with her congregations.
Heather has attended General Councils in Fergus, Wolfville, Thunder Bay, Kelowna, and Corner Brook; served on the General Council, Conference, Bruce and Waterloo Presbytery Executives; and participated in committees in all courts of our church. She is the co-Chairperson of the Week of Guided Prayer Network.
In Thunder Bay, Heather discovered that her cultural home is in the United Church. It is the place where she sings, dances, prays, and connects. Her prayer for our Conference and the whole United Church is that we will continue to grow closer to God and each other. Whatever changes we face, may we put our relationship with God and people first.