At 91 years old, Rev. Barbara Minard shows no signs of slowing down,
She regularly travels around Lunenburg County on Nova Scotia's South Shore delivering sermons. She credits her longevity to her faith and to her dog, Basil, who keeps her physically fit. Minard and Basil walk more than 4.5 kilometres in the morning and another three or four kilometres in the afternoon, in any weather.
"If I have to, I take a cane with a pick on the end for the ice," she says.
Minard became ordained at 62, after her four children had grown up and left home.
"It's amazing how God works. From then on, everything fell into place."
She's with a Lutheran parish that covers the communities of Rose Corner, Upper LaHave and Newcombville. She also leads the worship and preaches for another parish that includes Camperdown, Middlewood and Conquerall Mills. It gives her a lot to work on during the week but "I enjoy it, so it isn't any trouble," she says.
She also teaches Bible studies twice a week in Mahone Bay, where she also lives. Minard's favourite thing to preach about is the Resurrection, so she tries to discuss something about the Resurrection in her sermon every Sunday.
While there has been a decline in the church-going population, she thinks there's a silver lining to the situation. Minard says that when she was a girl, everyone attended church.
"You were expected to be in church. If you weren't there, it wasn't good for business."
Now, the people who are there really want to be there, she says.
And she predicts there will be a faith revival of some kind. As she puts it, "people really need to know God in their life... Everybody has something they believe in, whether it's the same God or not. But there's only one God, just different ways of approaching God."
While many churches across Nova Scotia are falling into disrepair, being sold or demolished, Minard points out that faith is bigger than a building. She says that years ago, when those churches were built, they were located so people could walk there.
"Now people can drive everywhere... and a lot of these smaller churches have got to close because they just haven't got the money to maintain them. And it is sad, but people don't go to church to worship a building. They go to church to worship God."
Minard has no intention of retiring. She says there's a shortage of pastors in the province so many older people are called on to preach, and that's just fine with her.
"I don't want to be retired, I enjoy it too much," she said.