Rev. Dr. George Hermanson (Panentheism on Wondercafe)

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Pinga

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The Rev. Dr. George Hermanson was active in WonderCafe providing wisdom and engaging in dialogue.
Here is a link to the Madawaska Institute and much of George's writing: The Madawaska Institute


Here is a link to Thomas Jay Oord's post regarding George for those who do not know his history



This is the information supplied through UCCan official circles, which truly understates who George was

"We have learned of the passing of the Rev. Dr. George Hermanson at his home on February 2nd in Nanaimo B.C. His spouse, the Rev. Suzanne Sykes was by his side along with George’s two sons. George had served as minister of Trinity-St. Andrew’s United Church in Renfrew before his retirement. He was active for many years in Renfrew and Ottawa Presbyteries. At this time there are no funeral plans."
 

Pinga

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Here is what I wrote in response to George's passing


I was saddened to read on a friend's page of George Hermanson's passing.
I am sharing theologian Thomas Jay Oord's post regarding George to share what George was in the world of theology.
For me, though, George was someone who was willing to teach me in process theology responding patiently and with clarifying comments to all my questions back in wondercafe.
He continued that sharing of wisdom, often giving me counsel when i was determining how best to moderate posts in the United Church of Canada Facebook group , or to shine light on a conversation or to lift up a minor voice.
He would reach out and share of a book that he thought that I might enjoy, and through him, I learned of Thomas Jae Oord's writing "God Can't"
We had a common connection, in our history's with Five Oaks, though at different times.
My sense is that the United Church of Canada's main stream never really got him, or what gifts he brought. For that, we, as a whole, are lesser.
We never met in real life, or even had a conference call.
Yet, I know through our chats, that he was someone who could laugh. Someone who was willing to share.
I will miss our chats. I will miss his wisdom.
Thanks George for all that you offered.
 

Mendalla

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I already had a passing interest in Process Theology when I first met George on Wondercafe. It had been a major topic in a course on science and religion that I took at St. Paul's College, the UCCan affiliate college at the University of Waterloo. However, conversing with George definitely gave me more insight and understanding. If I actually believed in a God, process is definitely the theology for me and George gets some credit for that.

More personally, George had know my grandfather well, even if they differed theologically (Grandad was more of a Barthian according to George). They had apparently met for the last time just a day or two before Grandad died (about Five Oaks, IIRC) and George was at the funeral (and remembered me giving a reading).

George was an important part of Wondercafe for me and I was sad he did not join us here, though I understood why.
 

paradox3

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Jun 10, 2014
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Toronto, Ontario
Very sorry to hear this news.

Panentheism was a real character on the original WC and he certainly helped to make the site what it was. I appreciated his quick wit and his wisdom very much.
 

Waterfall

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Jun 12, 2014
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Sad news, I have missed his presence on Wondercafe......
 

Carolla

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Thank you @Pinga for sharing this sad news. I always found George to be an interesting, thought-provoking character and enjoyed his presence amongst us.
 

Keith Hagerman

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Feb 5, 2021
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George was deeply influential on my life, and I shall miss him. Here is what I wrote:
It is with great sadness that I share the news of the death of my friend and mentor the Rev. Dr. George Hermanson. I met George shortly after I was ordained, when he was the Executive Director of Five Oaks. I came with an interest in Process Theology, and found a teacher and mentor in George. Over the years, I attended many workshops he led (and many with theologians that he brought in), and always was thrilled with the conversations we shared. Along the way he also invited me to co-lead some events with him, and these too were rich in conversation and in learning. I loved how his thoughts pushed mine into new areas, as I probed new directions in theology. He loved my interest in music and we collaborated a few times in experimenting with music and liturgy. He spoke a theology that resonated with my life, and created in me a thirst to explore further. Each encounter with George was an adventure.

I always appreciated his wisdom in the courts of the church, and his leadership in pushing the United Church into the future. His vision was contagious.

Some of my favourite quotes from him include "I found God while listening to jazz." "I'd go to church more often if there were more drums in church."

I have on the wall of my home office the same poster of Einstein that he had on the wall of his office at Five Oaks. I look at it, and am reminded of him, and I smile.

After his years at Five Oaks, I was delighted to discover that he was continuing his role as an educator and companion on the journey by hosting other world class theologians at the Madawaska Institute. I had the opportunity to take in some of these events, and be hosted by George and Suzanne at their home in Renfrew. I was sad to hear of his move to BC a couple of years ago for it would mean that our paths would no longer cross, but also knew this was a good move to be close to his sons.

I celebrate the wonder of his life and shall miss him deeply. Much of who I am is because of him. My library is filled with books he recommended to me. My head is full of thoughts and ideas nurtured by him. My heart is full of gratitude that he was part of my life. I shall remember his kindness, his gentleness, his probing thoughts, his articulate questions, his poetic writing, his love of jazz (and beer... and wine... and good food), his belief in community, his vision of joy, his passion for justice, his love of the church with all of its imperfections, his infectious smile, his heartfelt embrace, and his encouragement of me. Rest in peace my friend.
 

Mendalla

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Some of my favourite quotes from him include "I found God while listening to jazz."
George's use of jazz as an allegory in discussions of process was something that fascinated me and remains a favorite theological metaphor of mine. I forget whether it got it from a post or some of his writing. Probably multiple sources.

IIRC, it's basically God lays down the tune, other "musicians" (beings in existence) pick it up and do their own improvisations/riffs on it, God pulls it all back together to create a new tune, rinse and repeat. He explained it better, of course.

And thank for joining and sharing your thoughts and reminiscences, Keith. Welcome to WC2!
 
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