Thomas DeSchutter | Ministerial Student
Altar boy, self-indulgence, personal addictions and a Star Wars mentality. Who would think of these as a backdrop to becoming a Unity ministerial student? And yet they were for Thomas DeSchutter.
Thomas is well underway with his Masters of Divinity. He credits Rev Patricia Zogar and his home church, Unity Centre of Nanaimo, as the wind beneath his wings as he learns to fly as a fully-fledged Minister. His hoped-for launch is the Fall of 2022.
The path enroute is anything but easy. But once you’ve heard ‘the call’, Thomas says, there’s no turning back.
For Thomas that call came when his wife, Leslie, brought home a Course in Miracles, the Helen Schucman book she was studying at Unity Centre of Nanaimo. “She just left it on the coffee table, and it slowly made its way toward me. One day I opened it. By the time I was on page 4 I realized that the spiritual teachings of Jesus and the dogma of organized religion were not the same thing. I had collapsed them into one and made them both wrong. I had chosen instead to live life guided by the good force and dark force of Star Wars.”
Suddenly, Thomas couldn’t stop reading and learning. He attended Unity Centre of Nanaimo for six months – “I always sat in the front row. I wanted to take it all in.”
Then came his pivotal moment, first on the inside to himself – “I think I want to do that.” – and then on the outside to Rev Patricia – “I want to be a minister.”
In hindsight, Thomas thinks this calling was always within him. “There was something there when I was a teenage altar boy but I just ran away from it because the punitive loving God concept just never made sense to me.” As Thomas allowed himself to explore a deeper way of connecting with people, “it felt like there was just something more for me to do.”
He entered his first of the 18 required SEE (Spiritual Education & Enrichment) Classes for ministry school. Every semester he chose to take as many classes as he could. In June of 2019, he was accepted into ministry school and into admissions in August of 2019.
“This was the start of the most intense personal exploration I’ve ever experienced. I shed a lot of tears. But that’s an important part of the process: as a minister you need to be able to look within, take care of your own ‘stuff’ first so that you don’t project it onto others. Without that, you can’t do your best work as a minister.”
Now entering his 4th semester of a Masters of Divinity, Thomas chosen to carry a course load of 3 classes rather than 4 as his twin girls plus his own business (Bloom Strategies) also keep him busy. His plan is to be finished classes the summer of 2022, followed by an internship with an active spiritual community.
So, how’s the learning to fly going so far for Thomas?
“Rev Patricia has been a huge support to me. I’m doing a daily morning meditation on the Unity Centre of Nanaimo Facebook page, plus I’m grateful for the opportunity she’s given me to hone my speaking skills at our spiritual community twice a month, also available on Facebook.
“Watching other leading-edge Unity ministers is another way I learn. Unity Houston, Unity Minneapolis and Unity Florida are a few I’m following. They’re all using high tech. I believe that’s going to be the new model for Sunday services – yes, we want people to come to us and we also want to be able to go out to them.
“I’m a ‘big vision’ person – I want to reach thousands with the Unity teachings – and I’m looking forward to being a part of that future!”