Rev. George Callander, FIW FRSA, is minister of Durham Open Free Church (OFC), Deerness Chapel. George was ordained to the diaconate in 1991 and to the priesthood in 1992. However, for theological reasons left the catholic tradition soon after, and became part of the new Open Free Church in 1994. In 2012 he was elected to serve as the OFC as Provost, or senior minister. In that role he co-ordinates the administration of the church and presides on behalf of the church at all official events and ceremonies.
George is widely respected as a pastor. In particular as a bereavement specialist practitioner, and as a community celebrant he is in demand to officiate at many funerals around the north east – and further afield. As a minister he also officiates at a number of funerals, marriages and baptisms. Similarly, George is often invited to lead worship and preach at Free Churches in the north. In the field of bereavement ministry, George has also been a frequent contributor to radio, tv and print media.
However, it is as a Chaplain that Rev. George Callander is perhaps best known. He has for some years served as Chaplain/Padre of Operation Veteran, which is a ‘not for profit’ organisation established to support ex-service personnel during their return and reintegration to ‘civvy street’ whether recently or in the past. OV currently provides free breakfast clubs, resource hubs and support groups, free events and activities for Armed Forces Veterans and their families throughout the North East of England. OV’s aims are to support veterans with issues including (but not limited to) health and wellbeing, social isolation, housing, substance misuse, training, volunteering and employment. George attends to provide a friendly face and a non-judgemental listening ear.
In addition to working with Operation Veteran, George was honoured to be appointed by the Royal British Legion in 2019 to serve as County Chaplain for Northumbria where he leads all RBL County acts of worship or religious ceremonial and acts as religious advisor. George is especially proud of this honour as the British Legion has played an important part in his ministry over the years.