David and April McNeilly Pastors / Corps Officers
David and April love being officers in The Salvation Army. They both received a clear calling from God in their teen years, not knowing then the many adventures awaiting them. Raised by godly Salvation Army officer parents, David has had the privilege of travelling for much of his early life. As a child, David lived in France for four years, nearly losing his ability to speak English! As a teen, he graduated from high school in Kinshasa, The Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire). April was introduced to The Salvation Army as a child in rural Newfoundland when a neighbour began taking her to church.
David and April were married in London, Ontario. Prior to their officership, David worked as Key Accounts Manager for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and April worked at Mission Services London at their Women’s Emergency Shelter.
In addition to their studies from The Salvation Army College for Officer Training, David has an undergraduate degree from Concordia University in Commerce, while April holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Western University. Currently, both David and April are completing their Master’s Degrees in Theological Studies, David from Tyndale and April from the University of Toronto (Wycliffe). David is a graduate of the Arrow Leadership Program, and April is a Certified Enneagram Instructor.
Looking back over their 20+ years of life as Salvation Army officers, David and April see God’s hand at work in wonderful ways. While ministering for seven years in Montreal, Quebec, David and April added to their family: Four beautiful daughters continue to be God’s precious gift to them. Taking these girls from Quebec to New Brunswick, then all the way to France, has been both rewarding and challenging.
Life in the stunning city of Paris, France, is among the most exciting of the McNeilly family adventures. “The six of us were like deer caught in headlights! We went from a city with a population of 120,000 to Greater Paris, a city of 11 million,” said April. “No one spoke English. All the chatter around us was French, Arabic or Mandarin.” (The McNeillys lived in the Chinese Quarter). The congregation was multicultural, with all socio-economic brackets present, from business men to homeless people. Going from a white, middle-class church in New Brunswick to a church with lots of Africans, Haitians, and other cultures was a powerful experience for the whole family. “The older Africans would greet us on Sunday morning with a kiss and a ‘Bonjour Mama (or Papa) Capitaine!’ which we learned was a wonderful sign of love and respect.”
David and April returned to Canada with their family in 2011 and ministered as Corps Officers/ Pastors of Kingston Citadel for seven years. David and April come to Oshawa Temple having completed their Territorial Headquarters appointments, where David served as Corps Ministries Secretary, and April as Territorial Secretary for Spiritual Life Development.
David and April are both passionate about teaching God’s Word, seeing followers of Jesus become fully formed disciples, and seeing our neighbourhoods transformed by God’s love.
Shona Burditt has been in full-time youth and children’s ministry for 18 years and has been the director for Youth and Young Adult Ministries at our church since 2007. Shona grew up in Scotland and was an active member of The Salvation Army in Edinburgh up until she married Andrew and moved to Canada in 2000. They have two boys, Euan and Wilson, who keep them really busy! Shona’s calling to youth and children’s ministries started when she was a young teenager in Scotland and has grown through many different ministry opportunities over the years. She loves working with children and youth, and their families, it is a privilege not taken for granted. -She feels blessed to call our church her family and looks forward to many more years of ministry here.