As some may know, The United Church of Canada’s General Council Office has undergone a great move. We haven’t moved far (condensing three floors into one in the same building where we have been for over 20 years) but we have reinvented our office space to be open and (more) paper free.
In the Ministry and Employment unit, we have many, many files. I was given the task of going through all the files related to students. Although I have worked with student and ministry files in my position as Program Coordinator for Ministry Recruitment, this focused task brought the work of leadership formation in The United Church of Canada to life in a new way.
I was overwhelmed by the evidence our files contained of how many people have dedicated time and energy into supporting those considering ministry and those in the process of becoming ministers. Files were filled with forms submitted by congregations, discernment committees, presbyteries, and Conferences. Each form contained signatures of witnesses and workers who had invested themselves, often many times over, in the lives and vocations of their fellow disciples.
Buried in our filing cabinets were decades’ worth of evidence of the incredible dedication of all believers, engaging in the process of noticing, naming, and nurturing ministers and lay leaders. This filing project came to life for me as a project of the work of God’s church that dedicated members of The United Church of Canada have been busy with for generations.
There are some changes coming to the process of how ministers and lay leaders will discern and pursue their vocations in The United Church of Canada. Although the committees will have new names and configurations in a new system, it is obvious from what I’ve seen how many faithful people it takes to raise up a faithful minister. The church’s need for dedicated believers to discern, walk with, support, and challenge those who are considering ministry will continue, and there will still be forms to be filled out!
Thank you to all of those dedicated believers for all of the meetings, motions and interviews, not to mention all those forms! Your work does make a difference and is greatly appreciated.