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The Board of First Metropolitan United Church has approved the appointment of Rev. Dr. Allan Saunders and Megumi Matsuo Saunders as Ministers Emeriti of First Met in recognition of their long service to the congregation. Allan and Megumi came to First Met in 1999, shortly after amalgamation of the two founding churches, and retired in 2016 - Allan as Lead Minister and Megumi as Minister of Children, Youth, Young Adults and Families.

Board Chair Edeana Malcolm says: “We are absolutely delighted that we can honour Allan and Megumi in this way, and that they have accepted.” A recognition ceremony is scheduled for Sept. 22.

Yes, Virginia, there is life after retirement! Allan and Megumi have been enjoying the gift of time for family and friends, exploring the arts, travel and worshipping at various churches on the island and beyond (Orthodox in Greece, RC in Portugal, etc). Such fascinating cultural and spiritual expressions make their travels feel like a pilgrimage.

Their most recent travel was to Japan to see Megumi's 92-year-old mother and family and two weeks exploring Vietnam. A fascinating visit to Haida Gwaai has led to having a new Haida friend stay as a houseguest when she is down for a visit.

Last summer, their two grandsons stayed with them for a week - on three separate occasions! A great way to keep young at heart.

Currently, Megumi is on the John Albert Hall Steering Committee for UVic's Centre for Studies in Religion and Society. Allan was appointed to the Board of Our Place Society. While he joins in singing with the Open Doors at Our Place, Megumi enjoys being a member of the Arbutus Singers. May marks the beginning of a three-month bridging ministry at Central Saanich United Church, while the congregation awaits a new minister.

Allan and Megumi say they are very honoured to be named "Ministers Emeriti."

 (Photo: Allan and Megumi on their travels)