Giving and Sharing Thanks
For years I have been talking about shared ministry in the Nith Valley. Some of you have been to meetings and have been part of the conversation about how we can do ministry together in the Nith Valley.
In some ways St. James is engaged in shared ministry already. We are in a relationship with The Westmount LTC and we work with our other church neighbours all year long. We have a history of working with Mannheim as well that is a model of shared ministry.
Shared Ministry can be lived out in many different ways. In the Nith Valley, the trend is that congregations that are in close proximity work together to make ministry stronger. Right now, in the Nith Valley there are four congregations that are in a time of transition. Milverton has been without even an interim pastor for several months, Moserville’s (near Milverton) pastor is retiring at the end of 2018 and Pastor Joanna Miller is moving from Philipsburg/Baden to Conestoga which leaves those two congregations open at this point. This is a great opportunity for those four churches, or some formation of this group could join into shared ministry together.
Right now however, Baden and Philipsburg are without a pastor so the synod has asked Rick and I to do a short term interim position at these churches.
Your council has approved a 3 month trial of helping our neighbours with me as an interim at St. James, Baden. This will include me stopping by St. James in Baden every Sunday morning to start their 9:00 am service and connecting with the congregation before the service. I will leave Baden in time to get to New Dundee around 9:30 so that I give 100% to you on Sunday mornings. A couple of times in our three month trial my duties to St. James Baden will include serving communion. On those few days I will need a bit more time but still expect to be at service in New Dundee early enough to start worship.
Along with Sunday mornings I will attend their council meetings every six weeks and do any emergency visitation they may need as well as a few communion visits at Christmas time.
This is a new model for us and it is symptomatic of another new trend of many vacancies in local churches and not very many interim pastors. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about this interim ministry. It is a good way for us to help out our neighbours.
What’s your role in this interim ministry - I ask for a little grace from you and your prayers for this interim relationship, for your pastor, and for St. James Baden, that they find their way to calling a new pastor in an expedient way.
Ministry is every evolving and St. James has always been ready to adapt. Our Thanksgiving service is seeing a few exciting changes this year and we always seem to be open to trying new things. Thanks to church council for stepping out in faith to try this new thing called short term interim and helping our neighbours.
During this season of Thanksgiving, I continue to give thanks for the amazing people that make up St. James Lutheran Church in New Dundee. When I look ahead to the harvest dinner, I trust that we will have enough cupcakes, roast beef, and corn. I know that all the dishes will get done and all the chairs put away. I absolutely recognize that if I need to give away a few tickets to someone who can’t afford to buy them, that you all will say “absolutely”. I have faith in you, to carry out God’s work and will in New Dundee and beyond.
God’s peace and grace be with you all this Thanksgiving Season!!
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Bonnie Schelter-Brown is the pastor of St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church.