An exciting milestone was reached on Sunday, February 9, 2020, when the fledgling Interlake Regional Shared Ministry celebrated the installation and commissioning of Rev. John Dut and Rev. Theo Robinson to serve the six-member congregations in four widespread communities.
Presiding ministers were Jason Zinko, Bishop of the MNO Synod, and Geoffrey Woodcroft, Bishop of Rupert’s Land, Anglican Church of Canada.
More than a hundred members of the six congregations gathered for the occasion in Good Shepherd Lutheran, Selkirk. They came from the member churches – Ardal-Geysir in Arborg, Lundar Lutheran in Lundar, St. Peter Lutheran and St. Cyprian Anglican in Teulon, Evangelical Lutheran in Selkirk, and the host church, Good Shepherd, Selkirk.
Special music enriched the service presented by Good Shepherd’s Senior Choir, which sang a choral benediction. A group of musicians and singers from the South Sudan Community in Winnipeg – compatriots of Rev. John Dut – also shared their faith and support in a spirited song, Sudanese style.
This milestone was achieved through efforts that began in 2016 to explore a regional approach to maintaining ministry in Interlake Lutheran churches. Dedicated lay members met about 10 times each year, guided and assisted initially by Pastor Gary Schenk, then later by Pastors Stan Richards, Erik Parker, Courtenay Reedman Parker, and Mark Koenker. The work was supported in leadership by former Bishop Elaine Sauer and most recently by Bishop Jason Zinko.
In the new ministry team arrangement, Rev. John (who came to MNO from the Saskatchewan Synod) will be serving full-time. Rev. Theo, a resident of Winnipeg, is half-time serving the IRSM and halftime serving the St. Michael’s Anglican Church in Victoria Beach. Both have braved winter driving conditions as the initial three-month worship schedule introduced them to the welcoming members of the Interlake congregations.
The Interlake experiment is evidence of the new paths of ministry, which are appearing Canada-wide, and even world-wide, as the shape of Christian living evolves. Trail-blazing is both exciting and challenging, as these Interlakers are discovering and sharing with Pastors John and Theo. – Faye Goranson, Lundar Lutheran