Elise Feltrin had wanted to be in Chemainus sooner, but COVID-19 prevented that from happening. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Elise Feltrin had wanted to be in Chemainus sooner, but COVID-19 prevented that from happening. (Photo by Don Bodger)

New Chemainus United Church minister singing the praises of the congregation and community

Past practices play an important part in career change

Elise Feltrin found her calling in recent years and a place she’s happy to now call home.

The new minister of the Chemainus United Church only got into the profession after completing her studies and then being ordained in 2013.

“It’s a second career for me,” said Feltrin, 58, who started her position Oct. 1 after moving to Chemainus in late September. “I was in the restaurant business for many years – a bakery and catering company and a health food store for a while.”

You just know those baked goods are going to be delectable whenever social gatherings after services can resume.

Feltrin was doing part-time work administrative work for the United Church in Ontario that grew into more involvement beyond the office when people suggested she should go to school and become a minister. She shrugged at the idea at first, but it turned out to be fate.

Feltrin was born in Burnaby, but moved to Ontario at a young age. She grew up in Thornhill and lived in Thornbury along Georgian Bay and Bayfield on Lake Huron.

“I realized I loved being near water,” Feltrin chuckled.

In her late 40s, Feltrin attended Emmanuel College in Toronto on the path to making the career switch. It’s never too late to do anything in life, she’d be the first to tell you.

“I did five years of school and got two degrees in five years and was ordained,” Feltrin explained.

She got her first full-time job at St. Andrew’s United Church in Bayfield in 2013 that lasted until September of this year.

Feltrin is a divorced mother of two and one of her daughters, Andrea Feltrin, 26, lives in Vancouver. Her other daughter, Jaymie Feltrin, 24, is currently in Australia but expected to return at some point soon.

“I felt a strong calling to be out here,” reasoned Elise.

She began investigating whether any churches were looking for ministers.

“I heard Chemainus United was looking for somebody. That was in February pre-pandemic.”

Feltrin was visiting her daughter and decided to check out Chemainus.

“I came over here and I immediately felt at home,” she said.

Feltrin did a walkabout to get a feel for the town and many thoughts came to mind.

“As I was walking, ‘I like this place, I like the houses, I like the trails, I like the ocean,’” she recalled of her initial reactions.

“I started in conversation that day – met Jamie Stephen, chair of the board.”

Feltrin happened to be in Chemainus during the church’s annual general meeting. “It was a good learning opportunity for me to hear about this church,” she confided.

She was later interviewed via Skype. “I wasn’t prepared to apply for a job yet, but I did,” said Feltrin.

Of course, the pandemic changed everything, including plans for Feltrin to take the job.

“Everything was in upheaval,” she conceded. “There were so many questions about the future, but it just worked out.”

Feltrin couldn’t make the move earlier as had been hoped, but finally got here to start Oct. 1 after shopping on-line for a house.

“It’s very close to the ocean and that was my priority,” she said. “It ended up for the best. It gave everybody that breathing room to not rush.”

Chemainus United did without a minister for a while for outdoor services in the garden after the return from the COVID shutdown and then moved back indoors with the limit of 50 people and taped pews to coincide with Feltrin’s arrival.

She moved Sept. 21 and had time to unpack and get settled in her house. The transition has been seamless.

“I’m a runner and a walker,” Feltrin indicated. “That’s how I get to know a community. I’m getting to know the area.”

Chemainus United Church members couldn’t be happier.

“She’s very pleasant,” said Stephen. “She seems like it’s going to be a really good fit. I think she’s going to be not just an asset to the church, but an asset to the community.”

“What we can do to help serve the community and be a hub of the community, that’s what I feel a church should be, not just about Sunday morning,” said Feltrin.

“It’s challenging with COVID, like everything. There’s not the opportunities for mingling and socializing. It’s challenging, but you have to get creative with how you connect with people. I’m all about community and connections. These are important things to me.”

Past connections are playing a part in her current role.

“You bring all your life experience with you,” Feltrin reasoned. “My background is hospitality. It’s all about customers and service. That’s what I bring to my ministry.

“It’s been a very interesting time to be in a ministry. We had to relearn everything to adapt and be flexible and we’ve got to figure out how to do this differently. It’s forced change on us in a good way.”

With masks, folks are allowed to quietly sing and “people are happy with that,” said Feltrin, who’s also singing the praises of the community where she’s chosen to live.

“I love it here,” she enthused. “I look forward to staying here.”


Elise Feltrin at the front door of the Chemainus United Church, always ready to welcome congregants. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Elise Feltrin at the front door of the Chemainus United Church, always ready to welcome congregants. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Chemainus United Church and the community itself has been the right fit for Elise Feltrin. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Chemainus United Church and the community itself has been the right fit for Elise Feltrin. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Chemainus United Church was without a minister for several months before Elise Feltrin assumed the position Oct. 1. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Chemainus United Church was without a minister for several months before Elise Feltrin assumed the position Oct. 1. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Just Posted

COVID-19 has made the 2020-21 school year at Chemainus Secondary School interesting and challenging for graduates. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Chemainus Secondary School 2021 graduates

Here’s the young men and women who are embarking on life’s next journey

Girls just wanna have fun. From left: Danielle Dela Cruz, Melanie Cheng, Hanna Starkie, Camille Storteboom, Rebecca Rhode, Sian Diewert and Brianne Pamminger at the Crofton seawalk. (Photo by Alana Starkie)
Prom night brings some semblance of normalcy for 2021 Chemainus grads

Being together at least provides class members with some comfort

Tom Millard served his community well for so many years with the Chemainus Fire Department. (Photo submitted)
Millard dedicated himself to community service

Long-time Chemainus Fire Department member and chief remembered for his commitment

Chemainus Indigenous Peoples Weekend organizer Connie Crocker. (Photo submitted)
Chemainus Indigenous Peoples Weekend online June 19-21

Event’s been in the planning stages since February without knowing COVID implications

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Athena and Venus, ready to ride. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Goggling double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to B.C. commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A float plane crashed into the waters near Painters Lodge in Campbell River on Thursday morning. Photo by Alistair Taylor / Campbell River Mirror
Float plane crashes into water near Campbell River

Pilot uninjured, plane hit sandbar while landing

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

FILE – Nurse Iciar Bercian prepares a shot at a vaccine clinic for the homeless in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
B.C. scientists to study effectiveness of COVID vaccines in people with HIV

People living with HIV often require higher doses of other vaccines

A 50-year-old woman lost control of her vehicle Tuesday, June 15, crashing through a West Vancouver school fence that surrounds playing children. (West Vancouver Police)
Driver ticketed for speeding near B.C. school crashes into playground fence days later

‘It’s an absolute miracle that nobody was injured,’ says Const. Kevin Goodmurphy

Most Read