As my grandmother lay dying two years ago, I told her secretly that I suspected God would call me to be some kind missionary. Little did I know that my suspicion would come to fruition so quickly! As you know, I now find myself working half time as the chaplain at St. John’s College at the University of Manitoba, quarter time doing outreach with refugee youth and new Canadians in a downtown parish, and the rest of the time writing, networking, and dreaming with the Church at large. As you’ll note, each of these pieces is a new and exploratory ministry, working primarily with people who aren’t regular church attenders (either “unchurched” or “dechurched”). This came as a complete surprise to me (ie, not my plan!) but I have peace about God sticking me in this time and place for a reason. Too many remarkable encounters and opportunities have fallen into place for this to be a chance happening.
As two wise friends have reminded me, however, this is not a journey I can walk alone. I’m excited to be here, but some days I don’t have a blessed clue what I’m doing. I’m working in uncharted territory, in a sense, among a number of people that would clearly prefer I wasn’t here. Many of my colleagues, in other words, do not see my role as a pioneering, be-Jesus-to-everyone kind of vocation. They are wonderful people, but we have different visions for this campus and this city.
I am writing you, therefore, to ask if you would join me in prayer and discernment over the next two years. If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that I can only enter the role God’s calling me into through prayer, patience, and careful attention. How can I be available and sensitive to students of all backgrounds and yet remain faithful to my call as a minister of the Gospel? Where and how is God asking me to spend my time in each of these jobs? How will God provide a team for me to work with?
If you’re interested in joining me in prayer on this journey, please do let me know! You can just contact saint ben’s, and your messages will be forwarded along.
Thanks all- and God bless and encourage you in all that God is up to in your own lives.