Officers, Pastors & People: Our Officers / Pastors
David and April McNeilly
David and April love being officers in The Salvation Army. They both received a clear calling from God in their teen years, not knowing then the many adventures awaiting them. Raised by Godly SA officer parents, David has had the privilege of travelling for much of his early life. As a child David lived in France for four years, nearly losing his ability to speak English! As a teen, he graduated from high school in Kinshasa, The Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire). April was introduced to the Salvation Army as a child in rural Newfoundland when a neighbor began taking her to church.
David and April were married in London, Ontario. Prior to officership, David worked as Key Accounts Manager for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and April worked at Mission Services London at their Women’s Emergency Shelter.
In addition to their studies from The Salvation Army College for Officer Training, David has an undergraduate degree from Concordia University in Commerce, while April holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Western University. Currently, both David and April are completing their Masters Degrees in Theological Studies, David from Tyndale and April from the University of Toronto (Wycliffe). David is a graduate of the Arrow Leadership Program, and April is a Certified Enneagram Instructor.
Looking back over their 20+ years of life as Salvation Army Officers, David and April see God’s hand at work in wonderful ways. While ministering for seven years in Quebec (Montreal), David and April added to their family: Four beautiful daughters continue to be God’s precious gift to them. Taking these girls from Quebec to New Brunswick, then all the way to France has been both rewarding and challenging.
Life in the stunning city of Paris, France is among the most exciting of the McNeilly family adventures. “The six of us were like deer caught in headlights! We went from a city with a population of 120,000 to Greater Paris, a city of 11 million” said April. “No one spoke English. All the chatter around us was French, Arabic or Mandarin.” (The McNeillys lived in the Chinese Quarter). The congregation was multicultural, with all socio-economic brackets present, from Business men to homeless people. Going from a white, middle-class church in NB to a church with lots of Africans, Haitians and other cultures was a powerful experience for the whole family. “The older Africans would greet us on Sunday morning with a kiss and a ‘Bonjour Mama (or Papa) Capitaine!’ which we learned was a wonderful sign of love and respect.”
David and April returned to Canada with their family in 2011 and ministered as Corps Officers/ Pastors of Kingston Citadel for seven years. David and April come to Oshawa Temple having completed their Territorial Headquarters appointments, where David served as Corps Ministries Secretary, and April as Territorial Secretary for Spiritual Life Development.
David and April are both passionate about teaching God’s word, seeing followers of Jesus become fully formed disciples, and seeing our neighborhoods transformed by God’s love.
Shona Burditt has been in full time youth and children’s ministry for 18 years and has been the director for Youth and Young Adult Ministries at Oshawa Temple since 2007. Shona grew up in Scotland and was an active member of the Salvation Army in Edinburgh up until she married Andrew and moved to Canada in 2000. She has two boys, Euan and Wilson, who keep her really busy! Her calling to youth and children’s ministries started back when she was a young teenager in Scotland and has grown through many different ministry opportunities over the years. She loves working with children, youth and their families, it is a privilege not taken for granted. She feels blessed to call Oshawa Temple her family and looks forward to many more years of ministry here.
Alexandria Gerard has been attending Oshawa Temple since 2000 – when she was just a year old. She has grown up at Oshawa Temple and feels blessed to have such a wonderful church family within the Corps. When she was old enough, Alexandria began to get involved in leading children’s programming at the Corps, allowing her to realize her love of working with children! This love of working with children has caused her to pursue a degree in Child and Youth Studies at Trent University Durham, where she is a full time student. Alexandria knows that God has put her in the role of Children’s Ministries Coordinator for a reason, and is excited for everything that He has planned for her, and for the wonderful children of the Corps and the surrounding community.