As I wrapped up my time in 2018, I realized that I had always seen the correspondent’s job as an extension of my calling as a pastor, a calling I’ve now been following for more than 40 years. I can’t reduce it to one article, but there are groups of articles that I enjoyed very much.
I enjoyed the yearly task of visiting congregations and their leaders new to Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. Going to events or a regular service, eating food with folks, and interviewing leaders with some very specific questions allowed me to try to help congregations grow and mature.
I would meet with both administrative leaders, like council and committee chairs, and spiritual leaders, like deacons, elders and spiritual caregivers. I hoped that both paid and volunteer leaders would take part in these conversations that could last up to an hour.
Questions I came with included: What are things that you as a congregation can celebrate? What are things that give you hope for the future? What are concerns you have for the future of your congregation? Why have you joined MC Eastern Canada? What do you bring to regional church?
Because of language differences, sometimes the only thing I could understand in the service was the passing of the peace at the end. But later conversations with leaders were a joy to take part in.
I also enjoyed visiting congregations that were celebrating anniversaries. There would be three to five congregations to visit each year. I would ask similar questions of the congregational leaders there, excepting the second to last. Some congregational leaders said that they had never thought about these things. Some congregations were filled with joy and hope, while others wondered about the future.
I have never counted the congregations I visited, but each had riches of story, experience and examples of God at work in the world, which inspired and encouraged me.
Other correspondents from Eastern Canada: Ferne Burkhardt, Maurice Martin, Janet Bauman.
Read more stories from CM's 25th anniversary issue:
Donita Wiebe-Neufeld: Still happening
Evelyn Rempel Petkau: Tragic story ends in reconciliation
Donna Schulz: Inspired by The Land and its caretakers
Ferne Burkhardt: Wonderful gifts
Aiden Enns: Fanning Anabaptist fame