• Where: Bridging Waters Pastoral Charge, Nipawin, Saskatchewan
  • Current ministry: Team ministry with an ordained minister in a four-point pastoral charge
  • Years in ministry: 23 years of pastoral ministry, 6 years as Staff Associate 

How and when did you know you were called to ministry?

I experienced a clear moment of call while at a Conference annual meeting—long conversations with an ordinand and the experience of his ordination service. But mostly I felt my call through the nudging of people around me who have encouraged me to share my gifts for ministry—join this committee, apply for this Christian education worker position, have you thought about being a lay pastoral minister (which is what we were called way back then!)

Why did you pursue ministry in The United Church of Canada?

I pursued ministry because it wouldn’t let me go. And I’m in ministry in The United Church of Canada because this has been my church home since I was three years old, and because this, rather than another denomination, is the church in which I am at home—our inclusion and welcome, our encouragement to a questioning faith, our call to social justice, our outreach in Canada and across the world that works with partner agencies to ensure we are meeting the needs of others.

What has been the greatest part of entering ministry?

It is always a surprising gift and blessing to be welcomed into the depths of a family’s life—the joys of a wedding or a baptism, the roller coaster ride of hospital stays, the sacred ground of celebrating a life well-lived, the sorrow of a sudden death. Our role as ministers can be the passport that gives us entry into a family’s life with a trust and a deep intimacy that in other relationships usually comes only after long years of friendship. Always it feels like walking on sacred ground.

What has been your biggest challenge in ministry?

As a strong introvert and a minister with some workaholic tendencies, my biggest challenge has been to create a life outside of my role of minister. I love ministering in small communities, but when everyone knows you as the minister, it’s hard to just be Lorna. I managed it best when I was half an hour from a city, where I could have activities and a social network where I wasn’t their minister or their auntie’s minister.

If someone said they wanted to be a minister, what would you tell them?

Get comfortable in your skin, be sure of who you are, be open to learning and growing in your faith.

Any other comments about ministry and vocation?

As I was discerning my call, it was difficult to justify enrolling in university for undergrad and then theological college when we didn’t have money to pay tuition for our oldest who was just beginning university. I also knew that my love for book learning and for the intricacies of “words” would be multiplied by years at university and I recognized that was not always of critical importance in ministering to others. I valued the adult-learning model, and opportunity to tailor my educational experiences to develop areas where I needed to grow. So I chose to prepare for ministry through the program for lay pastoral ministers in training (now called designated lay ministry.) My love of books and learning has continued throughout my ministry and I feel that I am continuing to grow and develop my gifts for ministry. As I have served in pastoral ministry in four different pastoral charges, two of them in team ministry, I have experienced congregations who valued each of us in ministry, who shared their appreciation for the different gifts that we brought, and who welcomed both of us into their church family. I feel so blessed to be receiving salary for work that I love so deeply.