In Good Company

On Sunday I was reminded that 52 years ago on the day of Epiphany I was confirmed by an Anglican bishop. At the time our rector (pastor) asked the bishop to also pray for me setting me aside for ministry in the Church. It was this moment, more than the confirmation itself, that I remember. While I was not a stellar student in school, I excelled in Sunday School! I seemed to have an aptitude for it and Bible knowledge stuck like Velcro to my mind. I remember frustrating others in my classes. The teacher would have what he called “Sword Drill”. He would name a Scripture reference and students would race to be the first to find it and quote it out loud. Without even cracking my book I would spout out the desired text. An assistant minister gave me a copy of “Principles of Theology” when I was 12 and I devoured it.

It was apparent then to my home church that God was calling me. We all assumed that this calling would be to ordained ministry, but such was not the case. The route to my commissioning as an Evangelist was a long and winding one. Many of my fellow Evangelists have wrestled with the question of ordination but for me it has been a long-settled question. There is no doubt in my mind that I would be an unhappy priest and that I would lead an equally unhappy congregation. I delight rather in the mission field as an Evangelist.

I am grateful for the mentoring I received from Threshold Ministries (then called Church Army) and for the companionship of my fellow Evangelists. The word companion holds the image of ‘eating bread together along the way’ and so is a fitting word for this company of Evangelists.

I was reminded of the wonderful nature of this ‘company’ as I called some of our Evangelists this week. I am helping with the Threshold Prayer Calendar and have been speaking to our folks to catch up on their lives and ministries.

It was a joy to hear of the ‘Back Pack Ministry’ Erin is involved with as she leads the Inner-city Youth Ministry in Saint John. The idea is that each week the ministry will fill a back pack for over 30 families in the South End of the city. Each pack will contain reading for parents and children to share as well as ingredients, a recipe for a simple nutritious home cooked meal, and some tasty healthy snacks. She is also planning to take children to Christian Camp this summer.

Eden shared about the folks he serves in Moncton. He opines that up to 80% of those getting out of prison are suffering from mental health issues and or addictions. These are the areas that he and Carolyn are vitally concerned with.

Darren celebrates 30 years of ministry with undiminished joy. He loves to see people come to faith. He shared a concerned for those who leave the correctional setting, in poor health. He spoke passionately about a few examples. It was great to share with him and to hear his infectious laugh.

Winnie is praying over some new opportunities that have been recently presented to her. The conversation was full of scripture references, the chief one being Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” It was great to chat with someone who was so trusting and open to God’s leadership.

Rob is preparing to begin a new ministry at St. Margaret’s in Fredericton. It was good to hear his confident faith as he looks forward to all God has for him and this parish in the days ahead.

It is humbling to be in such company! It is a joy! I thought that taking on this extra responsibility might be taxing (I really don’t usually enjoy talking on the phone), but it has been an energizing and inspiring task. I look for to sharing more on this adventure in future blogs.