Pastor Kevin Driver is a welcoming face at Banff’s Full Gospel Church. A vital link for newcomers to the area, he has played an integral role in integration and inclusion for immigrants by extending his congregation and a helping hand for all.
Before the valley had a formal Settlement Services, Driver was a key piece of an informal partnership that led to the Bow Valley Immigration Partnership, a collective of community groups, businesses, governments, and individuals working together to ensure integration into all aspects of community life for newcomers — socially, culturally, and economically.
“We realized that as temporary foreign workers wanted to stay, there was not enough support to make that happen, so we all began to work together and find ways to close those gaps,” Driver says. “Community collaboration is not always about reinventing. It’s about taking what is already there and making it work together.”
A Banff resident since 1999, Driver remains humble about his contributions: “I don’t think that what I do should be considered work. It’s the idea that you are called to serve, called to do what’s right of you. As your community flourishes, you flourish; as it thrives, you thrive. Giving back is investing.”
Driver is working towards a doctorate of ministry in rural community development with a thesis focused on welcoming and belonging. It’s a study on integration, social cohesion, and giving and is based on his work in the Bow Valley. He recently presented his findings to the Saskatoon Theological Union at the University of Saskatchewan in front of professors and an audience. His next step will be to present to other rural communities.
Originally from Edmonton, Driver’s father died when he was young and his mom raised four sons on her own, still finding time to contribute to homelessness initiatives in the city. Inspired by this commitment to community, Driver has also been an active leader in the Homelessness to Housing Initiative, Bow Valley Day Care, Bow Valley Victim Services, and volunteer chaplain at Banff Mineral Springs Hospital.
“I always tend to be where I am, 100 per cent where I am. I seek the prosperity and peace of place. As you build community, you are community,” he says. “Where I see I can be useful, I get involved. I can’t change the world, but I can look for small things to do that make a difference.”