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Peter Trueman: journalist and churchman; leaving his post at Global Television and moving to a simple island life enabled Peter Trueman to renew his life and faith. (Lives Lived).

Peter Trueman continues to be one of Canada's best-known broadcasters and journalists even though he has been away from the post that brought him fame and recognition for 14 years. He had been the anchor for Global Television news from 1973 to 1988. His tall frame and deep voice made him a household friend to many Canadians.

Peter defied common wisdom by appending a short commentary of his own insights and thoughts to his report of the news. Canadians applauded him for his ability to analyse issues in the news that interested and bothered them. Although he was concerned to report the news objectively, he also wanted to provoke people to think about what was happening in the world.

Peter was influenced by his parents, both of whom he admired. From his father, an English professor who grappled with the deep questions of life and who thought the church was the best organization despite all its faults to confront evil, Peter gained an inquiring and analytical mind. From his mother, an artist, he received the gift of sensitivity to beauty, passion and love. He grew up in The United Church of Canada -- his father had been a Methodist, but his mother never gave up her membership in the Presbyterian Church.

Peter's hectic life, filled with challenges and many moves across Canada in the field of journalism, led to his drift away from the church. Like his father, he valued good preaching and cherished good music, but the pressures of his work made it difficult for him to participate regularly in a congregation. Work became his master.

His spiritual life was at a standstill until he was provoked to reassess his priorities. He hearkened to a friend who suggested he could live comfortably on one-third of his income. Peter found this to be true. He decided the crush of his job was not worth the sacrifices he was having to make within himself and with his family. He curtailed his workload and moved to Amherst Island, not far from Kingston on Lake Ontario. There, with his wife, Eleanor, he built a house, took some time to think and went back to church at St. Paul's Presbyterian Church. It became, he says, a cornerstone in his life.

Peter credits Lyndsay McIntyre, the minister of St. Paul's when he moved to the Island, with causing him to begin the journey of faith again. After McIntyre died, Peter benefited from the leadership of Bill Duffy and Barry Forsythe who shared the ministry for three years

Above all others, Peter values his wife who is so much a part of his life that he would be incomplete without her. Eleanor shares Peter's faith journey, both inside and outside the church. Peter also appreciates the members of the congregation who, like him, are struggling to find their way and to grow in their relationship to God.

The Truemans take an active part in congregational life. They attend worship every Sunday. Peter is chair of the board of managers and produces the weekly worship bulletins. The church, the good land of the island, the slower pace of life and the time to think -- all have granted Peter and Eleanor a new beginning.

Although Peter is officially retired, he has undertaken several special projects. From 1995 to 2000, he was the host and managing editor for Discovery Channel's Great Canadian Parks series. Recently, he did voice-overs on 10 programs for The Travel Channel. He writes for various journals and is open to short-term projects. He has, however, made it clear he is at home on Amherst Island and will not move.

Peter's work on the national parks series alerted him to the complexities of nature and the importance of good stewardship. For example, Fundy National Park is in danger of losing its flying squirrels because it is almost surrounded by clear-cut logging operations. As flying squirrels cannot cross clear-cuts, they receive no genetic reinforcement from the outside and the population will begin to weaken because of a shrinking gene pool. The squirrels area key factor in the health of the park's Acadian forest. They feed on a fungus that attaches itself to the tiny ends of tree roots, dramatically extending the tree's ability to draw nourishment. The little rodents spread the fungus to other trees through their stool. So the failure of the flying squirrel population could ultimately mean the end of Fundy's forests.

Amherst Island provides all the resources Peter needs to enjoy his hobbies, all of which keep him close to God -- walking, gardening, biking, cross-country skiing, boating and photography. He has produced many good pictures of the island, which he frames and sells at The Weasel and Easel, the local craft shop. Eleanor offers some of her beautiful paintings of the island scenery for sale at the same shop.

Peter's interest in Amherst Island led him to deal with a need he became aware of among the men of the island. He felt they lacked an organization for fellowship and service. So he canvassed most of the island men and drew together about 40 who meet once a month as the Amherst Island Men's Society (AIMS).

Peter and Eleanor are much more than retired hobbyists who welcome their children and grandchildren home on holidays. They are thoughtful, questioning people seeking to discern how God is speaking to them and to the church, and how they can contribute to the good of the community.

Zander Dunn, in retirement, ministers part time at St. Paul's Church, Amherst Island, Ont. Photo by Z. Dunn.
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Author:Dunn, Zander
Publication:Presbyterian Record
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2002
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