George Callander was born and grew up in Aberdeen, the ‘Granite City’ on Scotland’s North-East coast, where his parents still live having now retired as professional ballroom and sequence dancers and dance teachers. He has a younger sister, Allyson, who works in the caring professions. George occasionally makes the trip north to visit his home city – although it has sadly changed very considerably since he was a boy in the 1970s.
Nursing was George’s ‘secular’ career. As a Registered Nurse he specialised in Emergency, Paediatric and Neuroscience nursing. After a number of years of working both as a nurse and a minister, he decided to leave nursing to take up full-time ministry in 2002, but continued to work very, very part-time as a locum staff nurse until he finally hung up the frilly hat for good in 2012!
Rev. George Callander was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood in 1992 and has been a minister of the Open Free Church since late 1994. This has involved him conducting services, baptisms, weddings, blessings and funerals throughout the country. In 2013 George was elected Provost (senior minister) of the Open Free Church. George is also Chaplain of North Tyneside’s Operation Veteran.
George is a Freeman of the City of London; a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; a Licentiate of the Society of Bereavement Practitioners, and is an Accredited Fellow of the Institute of Welfare.
He is also an experienced worship leader and preacher and leads weekly OFC gatherings, and from time-to-time is invited to preach or lead services in other Free Churches around the country.
Church Music has always played an important part in George’s life. He is proud to have been a cathedral chorister as a boy – both in London and Aberdeen. As an adult, George continued singing as a countertenor in a number of cathedral, college and chapel choirs.
George has also been a keen organist since he was a schoolboy. Although since entering his forties more than a decade ago, increasing deafness and arthritis in his left hand have somewhat curtailed his musical activities.
Since 2010 George has lived in a small ex-mining village just outside Durham. The North-East of England has always appealed to him and he is very glad to have made his permanent home there.
In his spare time (ha!), George is a professional actor and proud holder of an Equity Card. He has performed in various guises – both male and female (!) on stage, film and television. George is a prolific writer and has over the years contributed to a number of nursing, historical and professional journals and has been a regular columnist for the Funeral Service Times and Welfare World. He has also had published in various places a number of prayers, readings and reflections.
George is in his fifties, is married and is a very proud son, brother, uncle & now great-uncle (I know, I know, doesn’t look old enough, does he?). He’s a devoted cat owner; a keen (but not very good) gardener, teetotal, a dedicated fan of “The Archers” and way, way too fond of choccie biccies and Greggs bacon rolls (alas!).
Ask any of his family and friends and they’ll tell you he loves a good moan and that he’s terrible at DIY… and knows next to nowt about football! George loves Radio Four, loves animals, and because he has a houseful of cats has an (as yet) unfulfilled ambition also to own a very small dog…a little Yorkie, for example!