My Faith Journey – My Call to Ministry – Danah-Lee Kreiger, June 11, 2023

My Faith Journey – My Call to Ministry
Danah-Lee Kreiger, June 11, 2023


My faith journey can be summed up by Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”.

Some translations even say, “He who began a good work in you, will be FAITHFUL to complete it”.  And that is exactly so, in my case, and all of our cases.  God ALWAYS finishes what he starts and never breaks a promise.  Even if it is not on our clock or timeline.  And as I trace the popcorn trail of events and circumstances of my life that has brought me to this very moment, I know it was all orchestrated by God.

Early Childhood

From a very a young age, I knew that God existed. I came from a very traditional/typical Ottawa Valley blue-collar family. My parents worked very hard to make ends meet and to ensure that we never missed opportunities.  They were married very young and started with basically nothing.  This forced them to work doubly hard to ensure that we never lacked. I will be forever grateful for their work ethic.  My dad was a self-employed long-haul trucker.  He was on the road a lot, and often away for long periods of time which required my mom to hold down the fort, all the while working full time and running us everywhere.  We didn’t live in “town”, so everywhere required a drive.  During the week, it was typically my brother, my mother and me.

My parents always wanted to ensure that we had a faith foundation.  I was introduced to the notion of God and faith by attending Sunday School and going to church on Sunday mornings.  On Sunday’s when we couldn’t make it to church, as a 4-year-old, I would call my grandma, sobbing on the phone and begging her to come and pick me up and bring me to her church.  Or I would set up “church” in the living room and watch it on TV.  I always knew from a very young age that I wanted to have a relationship with God.  We hopped around to different denominations.  My first memory of church was actually attending the United Church and we stopped attending when they started ordaining LGBTQ clergy. How is that for IRONY!?


When I was around 7 years old, our family searched around for another church.  We started attending a more charismatic/evangelical church.  I had such a thirst and hunger to learn more about God, even at a primary school age. I always knew God was there and I could feel God’s presence. I remember one Sunday morning after church we were all standing in what you would call the “narthex”.  It was not out of the ordinary for this specific denomination to openly speak prophecy.  Out of nowhere, a stranger approached me and my parents.  They laid their hands on my head, and spoke prophecy over me, and said “This child is going to do great things in the name of the Lord”. And they just kept repeating it.  I’ll never forget this moment. It wasn’t long after this happening that we left that denomination.

It was exactly around this age that I started playing music.  We were sitting around a campfire one night, and my neighbour pulled out an accordion.  I was fascinated.  She let me try and I was hooked!  It wasn’t long after this experience that my parents got an upright piano in our home and enrolled me in piano lessons.  I should preface this by saying that not even one person in my immediate family plays music.  And as I started maturing on my musical journey, I discovered that we artists are a completely different breed. We think and process through a totally different lens.  And although there was always ton of love in our home, I always felt misunderstood in this regard. As music is a language, no one spoke it in my family.

At around the age of 9 or 10, we started attending the Baptist church in town. It was here that I felt the true essence of what it was like to be part of a church family. I would attend Sunday School on Sunday mornings, youth group, midweek, and summer camp every summer, (eventually becoming a counsellor when I entered high school).  Through church, I met my best friend, Sara and we are still BFF’s to this day.  Our pastor and his wife were from Northern Michigan, and they had an amazing ministry.  Our church kept growing.  Cathy, pastor Jim’s wife, was a brilliant musician and lead the worship ministry. As an aspiring young 10-year-old musician, I looked up to Cathy so much.  I could see how God used her talents and abilities to change lives through song.  She was also a music teacher.  I wanted to do exactly that.  Lead worship and teach music.  I could feel it burning in me… even at 10!!  After church, the worship band would throw their music in the garbage, and I would sneak up to the platform and take it out of the garbage. I had memorized every note that Cathy would belt out during the service.  So, I would bring home the stolen lead sheets and teach myself by ear, the songs from the service.

When I was 11, I dedicated my heart to Jesus in a dusty cabin at Bonnechere Baptist Camp on Round Lake.  It was a clear Ottawa Valley July night, and I was on my knees with an open heart and prayed with my camp counselor after nightly devotions. I knew that I wanted to live for Jesus.  In Jr. High, I started becoming more involved in our church ministry.  I was also immersed in music lessons.  Afterschool everyday, I practiced 90 mins of piano and then in the evening there was always something going on at the church.  My life consisted of church and music. I would read my bible intently.  I had such a thirst for theology. I wanted to know about God so deeply.  I would ask my pastors questions, even stumping them sometimes, and they would tell me they would look into it and get back.  Which they always did, of course.

Jr. High and High School

In. Jr High, my faith continued to blossom.  I openly talked about God to my friends at school, which was not really cool when you’re 12 but it was such a pertinent part of my journey.  I was always spiritually mature, and I knew I was different from the other kids.  And as I grew older, and entered high school, things started to change.  I started reconciling within myself, something that I always knew, I was not like my friends at all.  They started dating and I did not. I discovered the word for what I am… gay. And sadly, my church did not see being gay as part of God’s plan.  It was considered a sin.  So, I continued to suppress and push my identify down.  It would be biggest secret within myself.  And I made a promise to myself, no matter what, I would tell not even one person.  It was around this time that Pastor Jim and Cathy resigned and moved to a church in Calgary.  This was a very sad moment for many of us, but it also provided an opportunity for me because I was asked to sit on the worship team.  It was a like a dream come true.  So, at the age of 15, I was leading Sunday morning worship with our contemporary worship team.  And I loved it.  I felt deeply that this was my calling.  As high school carried on, I really struggled with my identity and my faith.  I would ask God why he would create me this way.  It felt like a plague. I became recluse and absorbed myself into music. And despite everything, I still pursued ministry, because the call was burning inside of me so deeply.


In the year 2000, I graduated Gr. 12. and I was accepted to North American Baptist College and Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta – later to become Taylor University College and Seminary.  I studied music and eventually graduated with a degree. I played on the campus worship team called “sacrifice of praise”. We would play a worship concert every Thursday night.  We were considered the “heartbeat of the campus”. That same year, I traveled on a mission’s trip with five of my peers from school. We travel to the Philippines with International Bible Society and went to some of the most horrendous of places. We shared the gospel openly through music and drama skits with people living in garbage dumps, orphanages, jails and with women and children who had been trafficked. I returned home to Braeside for a short window of time that summer before heading back for my second year in Edmonton. I had a very hard time readjusting to Canada after experiencing what I did in the Philippines.

But my story still stayed the same, I continued to suppress my truest self. And it wasn’t getting any easier. After I graduated, I ended up staying in Edmonton and I worked. I slowly started distancing myself from music and the church, as I entered on a journey of self discovery and self destruction.  I started leading a double life, and eventually stopped playing music for a number of years because it was just too excruciating. I thought that God hated me. Hitting my own sort of rock-bottom, I decided it was time to move back to the Ottawa Valley.

Moving Back

When I returned to the Ottawa Valley, I started working in a high-tech firm. Music was not even in my vocabulary. I just needed stability. And so, for 10 years, I worked the night shift at Alcatel-Lucent in Kanata. I would work 12-hour shifts for four days, and then have four days off. On one of my four days off, I was at a gathering where someone had a guitar. And for some reason I started singing along, and I even strummed a few chords. Something inside of me said “you need to buy a guitar”. So that next day I went to Long and McQuade and I bought myself a guitar. And I decided I was going to take guitar lessons. I started taking guitar lessons at a local music school and the woman who owned the music school knew me from my high school days. When she found out that I had graduated from music, she asked if I would be interested in teaching at her school. At first, I was extremely reluctant. But then, with the encouragement of my brother and his wife, I decided to take the plunge and teach music. It was around this time that I became the busiest music teacher at the school. It was also around this time that my grandma got very sick after a surgery that went really wrong. You see, my grandma and I were extremely close, and she went in for a minor procedure there was complication after complication which snowballed into her death. The doctors had done everything for about two months to try to save her life. And I would visit her every single day at the heart institute and sit with her. I was there when she took her last breath, gathered around with my entire family.  Ironically, I had laryngitis so I couldn’t even utter the words goodbye, as I laid in the bed with her.  This was sort of the last nail in the coffin of my faith. When my grandma passed away, I was so mad at God. I could not believe that he could take someone so dear and special to me. My grandma knew everything about me. She was the first person that knew about my identity, and she supported me no matter what.  

More Than A Song

As the years tipped on, I was a workaholic. I would work 12-hour night shifts only to get up to teach music for 6 hours before going back in for my 12-hour shift.  I was the busiest teacher at the music school. It was at this point that I started writing and recording again. I would tour across Canada and the US. I was so busy with work and music. And after much deep consideration and planning, I decided that I would leave the local music school and start my own business. “More Than A Song Studios” was born out of an idea that anybody and everybody can play music.  But nothing had changed, I was still very much in the closet, angry at God and working so much that I was starting to burn out.  Metaphorically I was spinning out of control.  And as life goes, I was involved in a very serious car accident. My vehicle spun out of control on an icy road, and rolled three times and was basically concaved. I was taken to the hospital by ambulance with head injuries, and later discovered that I had a severe concussion.  It was only by the grace of God that I made it out of that car.  I could see this was God. Unfortunately, I had to make a really tough choice after being off for months.  I would see many practitioners and I slowly started to see daylight again.  I quit my job at Alcatel after 10 years and took the major leap into being a full time, self-employed musician. This was also the time when I came out to my family.  And much to amazement, I was accepted with open arms.  My only regret is that I did not do this sooner.

Returning to my Faith

As my business continued to grow and I continued to write and record, I developed deep and lasting friendships with my musician friends. These kinships supported me in dark times as my health took some weird turns.  I will not get into the minutia of that today, however these experiences only strengthened my faith.  At one of my hired gigs, we were slotted to play at a music festival in Ottawa.  The organizer and I became fast friends.  They were also a member of the LGBTQ community and NOT involved in a church in any way.  But it is funny because God uses anyone!  After many candid conversations, they asked me directly “why aren’t you playing music for God”?  And at this point, I wasn’t really sure why wasn’t.  I knew the church was becoming more progressive, but could there be a place in the Christian church for someone like me?  I could feel God pulling at my heartstrings.  I was ignited with so much passion for this intention.  They asked if they could mentor me as an artist in the industry because they saw potential for my music and faith to reach others.  And so, I agreed!  It was around this time that I decided to plant down some roots. And with the encouragement and support of my amazing family, I was able to obtain my first home here, in Renfrew.  As I continued to work with my mentor, I started working on album projects, and shows that candidly talked my faith journey and identity.  Even during Covid, this intention was still burning deeply inside of me. My health took a very drastic turn in the summer of 2021 after a rare vaccine injury.  I was so sick and not able to walk.  It was very dark.  But there was a voice inside of me that kept pushing me to keep going and to keep working on my music.  I had faith that God was still going to use me.  And God showed as faithful again.  I met the right practitioner who was able to get me mobile again!  A true miracle. As I continued to work on my music, I somehow became a spokes person for Gay Christians in music in Canada.  I was interviewed on national media, sharing my story and songs.  But it was very apparent to me that more needed be done, as I received much backlash from those within the “Church”. It is still not safe and equal to be a member of the LGBTQ community in the 2020’s.  So, as I released my album, “Made in the Image” during Covid, I had such a deep desire to belong to a church family again.  I had been attending different churches virtually.  And I knew in my heart I needed to be in ministry.  I wanted share that there is room for everyone in the kingdom of God. So, I prayed on it. And as stories go, I was in bed one night, and I received a text from my mom. My dad was leafing through the local paper and saw an ad. I will not tell you what my dad was doing while he was leafing through the local paper. But the ad was for a Music Director at a local church. The ad read:

“Trinity St. Andrew’s United Church in Renfrew, Ontario is hiring a Music Director. Trinity St. Andrew’s is a progressive Affirming church that values a wide variety of musical styles in our weekly worship.” I could feel in the pit of my stomach that I was meant to connect with TSA. And one year later, here I am in front of you. Sharing my faith and music. This has been a full circle journey. Thank you, TSA, for being a beacon of light and love in the community and for accepting me with open arms.  And I know that HE WHO BEGAN A GOOD WORK IN YOU WILL BE FAITHFUL TO COMPLETE IT.