Dr. Andrew Donaldson is a missionary of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church assigned as a worship consultant to the program on unity, mission, evangelism, and spirituality of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland.
This program encourages churches to develop a sense of spirituality that is open to receive from other churches, cultures, and contexts, expanding the ecumenical sense of inclusiveness in the Christian family. It incorporates emphases on peace with justice and elimination of poverty as counterbalance to internalized and privatized spirituality.
Donaldson, a composer and church musician, grew up in northern Ontario, Canada, in an area of forestry and mining. He attended Glendon College, York University in Toronto, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974. He went on to study classical guitar performance at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, receiving its ARCT (Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto) degree in 1979. Since then he has worked as a composer and performer in many contexts, in both French and English.
Andrew is a member of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. He was an instructor in music at Beach Music Studio from 1986 through 2010, and from 2004 to 2010 was also pastoral musician at Trafalgar Presbyterian Church. He is co-editor of the revised edition of the Book of Praise of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. In 2007 he was made a Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, by Knox College of the University of Toronto, for his body of work in congregational song.
Of his spiritual pilgrimage, Andrew recalls: "I remember reading through the Gospels during a long, slow sermon at the tender age of seven, and being thunderstruck by the fact that there were four accounts of Jesus' life. I'd had the experience of 'giving my life to Jesus.' It wasn't that I began to wonder which Jesus I had given my life to; it was that I started a journey of wonderment, of meeting Jesus in many ways."
Andrew said he met Jesus through a diversity of people, both "amiable and easy-going" and "prickly" and "daring"; met Jesus also in story, worship, songs, particularly songs sung in community. God the creator, Donaldson states, he met in nature and the Northern Lights of his youth. "My sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit comes through community. The towns of my upbringing, and Toronto, the city of my adult life, are immigrant places, pilgrim places, polyglot and multicultural. The story of Pentecost, with its multitude of language spoken by many pilgrims, feels to me like home."
His parents have been lay ministers and missionaries in Northern Ontario for many years.
Andrew and his wife Wendy have one daughter, Hilary, who is married to David Kopulos. Hilary holds a Master of Sacred Music degree from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
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