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Lisa Gervais brings a whole new look to the church community

Lisa Gervais relaxes in the church sanctuary. She became assistant pastor at Connection (Wesleyan) Church in September.
Lisa Gervais relaxes in the church sanctuary. She became assistant pastor at Connection (Wesleyan) Church in September.

The creative ink snaking its way up her arm and bright red streak through her otherwise dark hair belie Lisa Gervais’s calling.

Meet the assistant pastor of Connection (Wesleyan) Church.

Gervais was hired in September by the Truro church, after what’s been an unlikely journey.

“I wanted nothing to do with church,” she recalled. “I was living a dangerous life. I was an alcoholic teen, had anger issues and was miserable with myself. People thought I was happy because I was bubbly but I was aching inside and felt there had to be something better.”

A friend talked to her about Christianity. Gervais began to read the Bible, took up prayer and – as so many do – looked to God for a sign. The next passage she read was about turning away from sinful behaviour.

 

Meet the assistant pastor of Connection (Wesleyan) Church.

Gervais was hired in September by the Truro church, after what’s been an unlikely journey.

“I wanted nothing to do with church,” she recalled. “I was living a dangerous life. I was an alcoholic teen, had anger issues and was miserable with myself. People thought I was happy because I was bubbly but I was aching inside and felt there had to be something better.”

A friend talked to her about Christianity. Gervais began to read the Bible, took up prayer and – as so many do – looked to God for a sign. The next passage she read was about turning away from sinful behaviour.

 

“I asked and I got my answer and accepted it,” she said. “It was a life-changing moment. I started putting my faith in God.”

Gervais quit drinking cold turkey and eventually conquered other addictions. She joined a church and found people there very supportive.

“I grew up Catholic and at first my family thought I’d joined a cult or something. When they saw the changes in me they began to see it as something good and they’re proud of me now. They’ve seen me become a new person.”

Four years ago she decided tattoos were a good way to tell her story. A “sleeve” includes a cross, a fish with the word “faith” in it, a compass, an anchor and a message: “Remember who you are and what you stand for.”

Tattoos aside, the bright red streak through her dark hair tends to stand out.

“It’s an expression of who I am and the way I look helps create connections with groups that sometimes get missed,” she said. “God has used my past to connect with people on different levels.”

Gervais grew up in Grand Falls and attended Universite de Moncton and Kingswood University, earning a Bachelor of Theology and MA in Pastoral Theology.

While seeking ministry work, she ran her own small business in Sussex, mowing grass, painting and handling other small jobs, and working at a group home. When the Truro church approached her about the assistant pastor’s job she agreed to start in September.

“I’d never been to Truro before my visit in April but I’m adjusting well,” she said. “It’s not too big and the people are nice. I really enjoy walking in Victoria Park.”

Part of her focus is helping the church grow so it’s likely the trademark bright hair and tattoos will be a familiar sight around the community.

Lisa Gervais’ tattooed inner arm.

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