Interview with Cullen Morton
February 2, 2018
Cullen Morton is retiring as First Met's Building Supervisor, effective Feb. 28, after 34 years on the church's custodial staff. Council Secretary Larry Scott interviewed Cullen in January.
When did you make your decision to retire?
I have been thinking about it since I turned 60. It was more a decision not to retire early and was dependent on health and fitness. Once past 64, I knew that “freedom 65” was my goal.
Do you have any special plans for retirement?
Hobbies or interests that would like to give more time to? Travel? I currently have a woodworking project in the design stage. I’ll be travelling back to New Brunswick this fall for Thanksgiving with the family. Although I’m the middle child, I am the last to retire! My sister and I are planning a trip to Scotland to see the relatives in 2019.
In the last several years you have been Building Supervisor at First Met. How has the position evolved over the three-and-a-half decades from your starting job to the present?
When I started the job was fairly simple – myself & an assistant custodian. Between us we shared the work, sometimes having to work seven days a week. At amalgamation we added casuals to the department to do weekend and vacation coverage. This reduced the workload and allowed for seven-day coverage for the church without burning out staff. Taking on the cleaning contract for ICA added more staff. This resulted in increased managing of staff and payroll responsibilities. I’ve also been required to attend more meetings on a regular basis and to assume a significant role in assisting in capital projects.
What have been the greatest challenges along the way? As with any organization comprised of volunteers, there have been times when I felt the church failed in its handling of issues with staff. I’m not sure whether it was the push to adopt a corporate business model, but I think at times the church lost sight of how a church should operate as a caring employer. I consider the revamping of the custodial staffing model in 2012 to have been a traumatic experience, as was the firing of the office staff in 1999.
What have been the things you have enjoyed most in your work? One thing about the job is the variety of things that you need to do during the day. No shift is the same. That means you get to work with a number of people on all sorts of projects. The people of the church are one of its treasures.
What changes in congregational life have been most noticeable in your time here? As the economy has changed so, too, has the makeup of the congregation. There are fewer people now who are available to volunteer in the life of the church. We had a larger group of members to draw upon for programming and events in the “old days.” Participation in the couples clubs and the UCW has dropped.
What parting message would you like to leave with the congregation?
I have enjoyed working with the people of the congregation on their journey over the last 30 years and wish them well as they move the church forward in the coming years.
The congregation is marking Cullen’s years of service Feb. 18 with a celebration potluck luncheon after the 11 a.m. service. You can make a contribution to Cullen’s farewell gift - cash only - by dropping it off with Katya in the church's finance office.