By Anne Lee
Editor's Note: Faith and Love: Clergy Spouses’ Stories is a new series by Anne Lee. It will feature the lives, talents and contributions of clergy spouses in our diocese.
Kate is married to the Rev. David Turner, the priest at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Hampton. They have four children: Silas (13), Molly (11), Isaac (7), and Ezra (5).
The oldest of four, Kate was born in Halifax, N.S. Her family left the city when she was 3, and she grew up in Fredericton, then Vienna and Thunder Bay. When she was 18, her family returned to Halifax and attended St. Paul’s Anglican Church.
“We loved the music, loved the people,” said Kate.
Kate studied in the Foundation Year program at King’s College. She was in the first cohort of the History of Science and Technology program at Dalhousie University. She holds an MA from McGill University.
Kate and David Meet
St. Paul’s (Halifax) is also where Kate and David met. Shortly after Kate’s family returned to Halifax, David and his sister began attending St. Paul’s. Kate’s mom met them after church at coffee and introduced Kate and David.
“We started teaching Christian education at an elementary school during lunch hours together. We weren’t dating yet,” said Kate.
“I knew he was a summer camp guy because he had been a counsellor at Camp Medley, so I thought he’d be a fun person to teach with and thought I would get to know him better.
“Then we were at Christian Fellowship and Navigators together at Dalhousie. And we just started hanging out every hour of the day and finally called it dating."
Kate and David were married at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Halifax. Kate describes it as “one of the more eventful weddings John Newton performed.
“We were married in the middle of the G7 finance ministers’ meetings and riots which were at the Grand Parade. My Mom was told the wedding was cancelled. My dad had all these meetings with the chief of police leading up to it.
“We made it through the barricades, but we could hear helicopters during the service. Some of my friends from university had protested and then come to the wedding so they had been tear gassed.
“It was such a budget wedding too: I wore Birkenstocks and a homemade dress. We had a potluck reception at Saint George’s.
“We had the hall there and everybody brought food and we had an open mic. Some people performed.”
Back and forth between Canada and Latin America
The summer they wed, David had finished an international development degree and Kate was sure “that meant we would be going off around the world to exotic places.”
They stayed in Halifax for a year while Kate finished her undergraduate degree. Then David got an internship in Guatemala, and they moved there for a year.
After Guatemala, Kate and David came back to Halifax, both working for Just Us! coffee roasters. Then she was accepted to McGill for a Masters degree program which was a neo-tropical environment study opportunity through the geography department.
“We moved to Montreal for two terms, then to Panama where I got to study at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute for a couple of classes.”
Her research then took them to Mexico.
“Dave’s Spanish was far better than mine, so he came along as my interviewer.”
They spent two years back and forth between Montreal and Latin America.
In 2007, Kate and David moved to Toronto where he studied theology at Wycliffe and Kate worked for the Ontario government on drinking water source protection planning.
“It wasn’t really what I had studied but it was an awesome opportunity.”
They stayed for six years and had their first two children, Silas and Molly. During that time, they were part of St. Cuthbert’s and St. Christopher’s Anglican Churches
Like true Maritimers, Kate and David felt the calling to come home. They began actively looking to move to New Brunswick or Nova Scotia to be closer to family. Kate’s parents were in Halifax and David’s in Sussex.
“We felt a bit more drawn to New Brunswick because of the people we knew here in the Anglican church. St Paul’s (Hampton) came open and Dave was approached by the wardens at that time.
“And at the same time, another church in Toronto had approached him. We had these funny pros and cons list of living in Toronto versus living in rural N.B. We chose NB.”
Two More Children
And then baby no. 3 — Isaac — arrived.
“We thought he was the end, so I incorporated an environmental education non-profit that was to be based out of Hampton. The week after I incorporated, the friend that I did it with said, 'I’m moving to Nova Scotia,' and then I found out I was pregnant. So I folded the non-profit and had Ezra.”
Ultimately, he was a very welcome addition and completed the family.
Kate considers herself very fortunate to continue to work in her field. Her volunteer work doing nature programming in the Town of Hampton and with Nature NB led to paid contracts with the Kennebecasis Watershed Restoration Committee and continuing work with the Nashwaak Watershed Association Inc. (NWAI). She currently manages a forest stewardship outreach project for NWAI.
She also volunteers with local schools, Nature NB and the NB Nature Trust, and runs an environmental consulting company with her father.
Music has been a strong part of Kate’s life. Her mother is a music teacher, and the family was part of the music team at St. Paul’s Church in Halifax.
Kate and David continue the tradition. They are part of the music team at St. Paul’s Hampton. David plays guitar and Kate says he is “a wonderful singer.” She plays piano and sings, and is regularly joined by two other piantists/singers. And during COVID, when you couldn’t really sing with others, the children joined the music team too.
“They were all good sports. We’d record all the music in advance by video and they’d come and sing with us and be on video, even though they weren’t always super keen.”
“We both just feel like we're in such a lovely place. I don't know what would be next for us other than to say that we just really love it here and love that the parish is such an amazingly, supportive group of people.
“We moved into this house and it was just full of gift baskets, so from day one we just felt so incredibly welcome here. We just hope we can help it to continue to be a thriving parish of people coming to know Jesus and continuing in their walk with Jesus.”
Anne Lee holds an English degree from Dalhousie University. She has worked as a book buyer/seller for Munro’s Books of Victoria. She lives in Quispamsis and worships at St. Luke's, Parish of Gondola Point.
1. Kate Turner at work in Hampton.
2. The new series by Anne Lee is entitled Faith and Love: Clergy Spouses’ Stories
3. The Turner family, clockwise from bottom left: Isaac, Silas, Kate, David, Molly and Ezra.
4. Kate and David's wedding made for an interesting story in a Halifax newspaper.
Photos courtesy of Kate Turner.
Amazing story - I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Had heard about your wedding day events but did not realize your studies and work had taken you both to Latin America. Lovely photo of you and David and your children who have grown so quickly it seems. You are blessed for sure.