Friday, June 23, 2017

June 2017 Life Update

A lot of people have been asking me, "So, what is it that you and your wife are doing now?"

It's a good question with a complicated answer.  And, depending on when you've asked me about it, the answer may have changed.

As of today, here's where things are at:

If you've been following my blog then you'll know I officially concluding my pastoral ministry at Hanover Missionary Church in early June.  Since then I've been telling people, "I'm retired".  That statement has fetched a fair share of strange looks and only one person (an elderly woman I met while my vehicle was being serviced at Walkerton Toyota) took it in stride.

My "retirement" will be short lived since I'll be heading back to school in September.  I'll be enrolled as a PhD student at the Toronto School of Theology in St. Michaels University College, Faculty of Theology, on the campus of U of T.  It's a four year funded program with a two year residency (that means I have to be within commuting distance of the university for coursework and other 'in-person' requirements for the first two years of the program).  After that, I should be at the research and writing stage--working with a supervisory committee to compose and defend an original, 80,000 word, contribution to academia.

In a February blog post, I uploaded the Statement of Intent I submitted that offered a glimpse into my research interests.  To summarize my research focus in a sentence: I'm interested in exploring the intersection of educational philosophy and spiritual theology in pastoral formation.

So, until September, I'm spending a lot of time reflecting on my pastoral experience, walking our Golden Retriever, Maple, and looking after neglected household duties and chores.

Erika, on the other hand, spends her days practicing theology and pastoral responsibility and writing the last couple of assignments for the reading course that completes her Master of Theological Studies degree. She's also serving as the interim pastor at Blue Mountain Community Church in Thornbury, ON and as a part-time chaplain at a long-term care home in Owen Sound.  


Monday, June 19, 2017

New Friends in Transitional Ministry

I've had some great opportunities to get to know some new friends in transitional ministry.  One of those friends invited me to join a network of Southern and Southwestern Ontario Christian and Missionary Alliance Church pastors.  Since the EMCC and C&MA have a Memorandum of Understanding--allowing pastors from both denominations to move easily between the two--it has been a smooth entry into this great group of intentional ministry specialists.

I'm so grateful for these new friends in ministry.  We've met a couple of times on Zoom (a Skype-like video chat app) and we've been together for a face-to-face training.  Beyond that a few of us just completed Transitional Leadership Ministry training with Outreach Canada.

One of my favourite moments from that training was when the course instructor asked us to get into pairs.  That's not of of my favourite things to do.  Actually, it's one of my least favourite things because it's uncomfortable.  However, one of the guys from the network jumped up from the other side of the room and made a beeline to where I was seated.  Because we already knew each other a bit I seemed safe to him.  That felt good.  We shared our challenges with each other then prayed together.  It was a beautiful moment of connection.

I'm not exactly sure how I'll be using the training I received and connections I'm making in the future but I know God has a plan.  And that's all I need to know right now.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Final Sunday @ HMC

My epic journey at Hanover Missionary Church has finally come to an end.

What started out as a temporary, part-time, position as Director of Worship and Creative Arts in 2006 morphed into the full-time Chief Servant role.  Standing on the shoulders of giants I've been

Thinking back just over a week ago to my final Sunday, there were so many people I wanted to thank.  Unfortunately, time and energy didn't permit.  To each of you that offered words of support, grace and truth along the way, thank you.  To each of you that stood by me when I struggled to step forward, thank you.  To each of you that served and continue to serve in kingdom work, thank you.  You have been an inspiration to me and my family.

Thank you for such a wonderful and meaningful celebration on June 4th.  Our family felt overwhelmingly loved.  That outpouring of love led me to reflect.  I've been reflecting on the importance of celebrating endings.  It's a crucial step in moving forward and preparing the way for a healthy beginning.

So, here's to sad and joy-filled conclusion to ministry at HMC and an wonderful new beginning for my family as well as HMC.

Here's a picture of the beautiful quilt, gifted to us by HMC.

And here are some pics from our farewell celebration.

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