Program of Formation I was a member of the Regional ’95 group, at the Centre for Christian Studies which started in Toronto, and then moved with CCS to Winnipeg. I took all of my external academic courses through St. Stephen’s college, accessing them through their intensive study courses, both at the Edmonton and Calgary campuses. (Calgary campus no longer exists).
What called you to Diaconal Ministry?
My! That answer is a long story in itself. My called evolved over a number of years, beginning with a strong sense of wanting to work with children. That led me to my first degree- in Early Childhood Education. I taught fulltime for a few years, two with a Hutterian Brethren School in southern Alberta, and one in a private Christian school in Calgary, administered by the Mennonite community there. Those two experiences affirmed for me how important it was for me to be able to integrate my faith into my vocational life. While studying for that first degree, and while teaching, I was involved in youth ministry as a volunteer. I left fulltime teaching to spend more time volunteering, which then led to a part-time paid youth ministry position in Calgary. Each piece of this journey served to affirm my sense of call. I entered discernment the same year I began studies at the Centre, when my children were 5 and 7 years old!
Describe some of your experiences of ministry
I stayed in my settlement charge in Hinton Alberta for 6 years. It was a challenging, and fulfilling ministry. I appreciated the opportunity to be active in the wider community as a representative of a very active, social justice-oriented ministerial group. One of the most fulfilling roles I served was as co-chair of the Hinton Drug Action Committee. At the end of 6 years, I responded to the all to move to Calgary, to serve in a team ministry at Parkdale United Church. I was at Parkdale for 5 years, where I enjoyed my first ever sabbatical! The focus of my ministry was in the realms of education for all ages, and outreach and justice – so my sabbatical focused primarily in looking at the latest literature on ministry with children and youth, with some time for spiritual renewal and rest. I am just leaving Parkdale for destinations not yet known.
In Calgary I have had the opportunity to serve on the Presbytery Education and Students Committee, and the Conference Internship and Educational Supervision Committee. I’ve also enjoyed acting as a diaconal mentor for a current CCS student.
How I explain Diaconal Ministry to others …
I try to explain it in terms of style, as opposed to function. Because I am in a ministry that is in terms of function, seen as a ministry of Word, Sacrament and Pastoral Care, most people need to hear the difference between ordained and diaconal ministry. I also explain some of the differences in our course of study – emphasizing that the two streams of ministry are different but equal.
What gives you the most satisfaction, reward, sense of fulfillment from the ministry you do?
What gives me satisfaction: the sense of community I feel in my work both with the local congregation and the wider church; watching someone’s self-esteem build as they discover their skills and gifts for ministry, either in the congregation or in encouraging someone to consider ministry as a vocation; knowing that there are people who share my love of the church, and having the privilege of serving with them; my own sense of spiritual development as I journey with the people I serve.