The themes of transformation, respect and generosity ran through Rev. Steve Berube’s much-anticipated sermon on Sunday at St. Paul’s United Church in Riverview.
After offering to preach on any topic as a prize in a silent auction fundraiser, Berube spent weeks wrestling with the subject highest-bidder Art Robson gave him.
Robson tasked Berube with answering the question, “Is there a place for Donald Trump at St. Paul’s United Church?”
When Berube looked out on his congregation from the pulpit on Sunday morning, there were a few new faces, there just to hear on which side of the question he had landed.
“Ultimately, it’s a question of knowing who we are called to be and what it is that is most valued and important,” the minister said afterwards.
“So, would Donald Trump be welcome in the pews? Sure he would be.”
Berube told his congregation that church is about transformation and trying to become the person “who God calls us to be.”
“For somebody that is like Donald Trump there is room, but we would hope that through his encounters with people, just as I have been transformed, that he, too, would be transformed.”
Ahead of his sermon, Berube referred to Trump as a liar, a narcissist and a megalomaniac, but he said he has been reminded of the importance of generosity.
“All people are meant to work for justice, for compassion … and also we’re called to be generous, and that’s the other aspect of it — even to Donald Trump, who wields power.”
Berube sermon worth the $60 bid
Berube joked afterwards that he hopes parishioner Art Robson, who paid $60 to choose the topic for Sunday’s sermon, felt he got his money’s worth.
When asked whether he would offer to preach on any topic as a prize in future fundraising auctions, Berube was quick with his answer.
“I certainly will, but I won’t hesitate to drive up the bidding.”
The minister also said he, too, is working on self-improvement, admitting he made a dig at Robson at the end of Sunday’s sermon.
“I was pronouncing the benediction and said, ‘I realize we’re overtime a little bit folks. You can blame Art Robson,'” Berube said.
“Somebody pointed out to me it was very Trump-like to throw somebody else under the bus.”