United Church moderator returns to Sask. with message of hope at Easter

Jordan Cantwell says her deep belief in the power of hope is one of the reasons she was elected as moderator for the United Church of Canada in August, 2015.

After seven years at the Delisle-Vanscoy United Church, the Saskatchewan-raised minister left her posting to take on the national leadership role, which has since taken her around the world.

This week she returned to the province at a time when she said the message of hope is strong: Easter.

"The Easter story is such a foundational story for Christians and it is ultimately one of hope, hope in the face of, I mean, there's a story of 'the glass is empty,'" she said.

Cantwell is in Saskatchewan to appear as a guest speaker at two fundraising dinners for the St. Andrew's College at the University of Saskatchewan.

Student becomes leader

Seven years ago, Cantwell was, herself, a student at the college.

She said it was a community that continued to show its support for her in the years since her graduation in 2010.

"It's here in Saskatoon and back in Saskatchewan that it's hardest to think of myself as moderator because here I'm just Jordan and I'm just, you know, so recently I was a student at St. Andrews," she said.

Cantwell said her role as moderator has taken her places she could never have imagined when she started the role in 2015.

The distinction between optimism and  hope

She said she maintains hope even when world events make it difficult to do so, adding that she believes hope is different to having "glass-half-full" optimism.

"Hope is sort of that which sustains us when you turn the glass over and nothing comes out," she said.

"Like it's … you feel like you are bone dry and you can't imagine given the current circumstances a future that is filled with joy and positive things," she said. "Hope is what says, 'but there's more than what I can see.'"

She said the story of Jesus at Easter showed that even when it appeared all hope was gone, something new and unimaginable could still take place.

Cantwell will be speaking in Regina at the Wascana Country Club on Tuesday and at the German Cultural Centre in Saskatoon on Wednesday.