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To live and pray in Pembina Hills

Members of St. Luke’s, Pembina Crossing repair a fence. Photo: Chris Lea

Members of St. Luke’s, Pembina Crossing repair a fence.
Photo: Chris Lea

Yes, it has been six years since our group of five churches – Clearwater, Pilot Mound, Manitou, Kaleida, and Altamont – which initially made up the parishes of Pembina Hills,have been commissioned as Local Collaborative Ministry (LCM), a form of ministry that involves members of congregations volunteering their time and talents to provide the services normally performed by paid clergy.

There was a total of 15 members who were first commissioned in March 2010 and since then a number of team members have either retired or moved away. In 2015, we had a re-commissioning and many new faces joined. There are currently 16 members that make up the team: five ordained priests, one ordained deacon, eight worship leaders, two pastoral care coordinators, and one administrator.

We no longer have a stipendiary priest, but currently have a part-time mentor, Norm Collier. Norm helps us with our business meetings, which are held on a monthly basis to go over administrative items and a learning point. This is also the time we schedule upcoming services and who is to conduct those services.

Norm also initiates our monthly education workshops. The current theme is “the sharing of our individual spiritual journey.” These personal life experiences have generated much discussion.

Initially, there was a sense of resignation from the Parish when we finally decided that we couldn’t afford a stipend priest anymore and the LCM model was the only alternative available to keep our doors open.

However, after the initial start-up phase of doubt, there has been a sense of optimism from everyone. It has been humbling to see how we have been accepted and encouraged by the congregation. The LCM model within our church has truly positively affected our local Anglican members and the greater community.

As Roxy Barret, a current member of our team, put it, “I was invited at the first commissioning and declined. Then I realized what a wonderful job everyone was doing and thought I could help with something and it just mushroomed from there. Calling has a whole different meaning to me since then. I can’t explain the feeling of fulfillment given my life. I feel like our team is like a family and it’s just such a wonderful connection to God.”

Now, if there is something that needs attention, everyone just pitches in.

Chris Lea is a priest on the Pembina Hills LCM team and a farmer.

Chris Lea is a priest on the Pembina Hills LCM team and a farmer.

In fact, not much has changed since the inception except our enthusiasm has increased tenfold; some of the churches still have Sunday school for the children, confirmation classes, weddings, and baptisms.

Do we still have hurdles to overcome? You bet we do! But with the excellent training we have received from the Diocese right from the start of this journey, we are now equipped to handle anything that comes our way.

Praise be to God.

LCM reflects an understanding of Christian vocation as being entrusted to all the baptized. Read more about LCM in Rupert’s Land.