Becoming an Ecumenical Shared Ministry
On Thursday, September 24, 2015, members of the Church of St Paul, Clearwater United Church, and the local community as well as representatives from the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior, BC Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and Kamloops-Okanagan Presbytery of the United Church of Canada gathered for worship and to sign the Ecumenical Shared Ministry Agreement. This service was the culmination of almost two years of work. Research, meetings, writing drafts, getting approvals, editing, proofreading, and setting a date led to a momentous day.
Actually, the journey to becoming an ecumenical shared ministry began many years earlier. Seeds were planted, but germination and growth really began when the Rev. Keith Petersen retired from full-time ministry and approached the Rev. Ivy Thomas, the minister at Barriere United Church, to see if a relationship could develop with the Lutherans living in the Barriere area. In 2010, the Church of the Redeemer and Barriere United Church congregations and those connected to ELCIC formed the Church of St Paul.
That decision became the impetus for the Clearwater United congregation to start wondering if it should do the same. A committee was formed. Its report to the North Thompson Pastoral Charge Board recommended that having the entire Pastoral Charge becoming an ecumenical shared ministry should be considered. Another committee was formed. The rest is now history!
The Thanksgiving for Baptism which began the service represented our region as waters from the Clearwater River, the Barriere River, and the North Thompson River were poured into the font. Bishop Barbara Andrews preached.
Prior to the signing of the Ecumenical Shared Ministry Agreement, the following affirmations were made.
- Those of you from the Lutheran Church tradition, who are seeking a worshipping community that will acknowledge and respect your traditions and nurture your faith, I ask you:
- Those of you from the Anglican Church tradition, who have had a historical presence in this area and have hoped and prayed for a renewed presence, I ask you:
- Those of you from the United Church tradition, who have faithfully served her in Christ’s name for many years and have welcomed and embraced the Anglican and Lutheran churches and traditions, I ask you:
Will you commit yourselves to supporting and participating in the mission and ministry of Trinity Shared Ministry and the North Thompson Ecumenical Shared Ministry?
The response was “We will, with God’s help.”
Then, the representatives took their turn at signing copies of the Ecumenical Shared Ministry Agreement:
Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior of the Anglican Church of Canada:
Rt. Rev. Barbara Andrews, Bishop
British Columbia Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada:
Rev. Dr. Gregory Mohr, Bishop
Kamloops-Okanagan Presbytery of the United Church of Canada:
Rev. Ivy Thomas, Conference Minister
Church of St. Paul, Barriere: Mr. Glenn Andrews, Chair of the Board
Clearwater United Church: Mrs. Susan Murray, Chair of the Board
North Thompson Pastoral Charge: Ms Sandra Holmes, Chair of the Board
Pastor / Priest / Minister of the North Thompson Pastoral Charge (Barriere and Clearwater):
Rev. Brian Krushel
As Bishop Barbara took her place at the table to sign the Agreement and the other judicatory representatives gathered around her, she commented that she felt that she was at a wedding. Applause broke out once the final signature was written. The signed agreement declared that
- Clearwater United Church ceases to exist, and its
ministry and that of the Anglican and Lutheran traditions in the Clearwater area is now entrusted to Trinity Shared Ministry, Clearwater;
- this Agreement supersedes the Memorandum of Understanding of Barriere Shared Ministry dated May 23, 2010; and
- the North Thompson Pastoral Charge of the United Church of Canada ceases to exist, and its ministry is now entrusted to the North Thompson Ecumenical Shared Ministry.
The service concluded with communion and the hymn, Sent Forth by God’s Blessing.
The Celebratory Dinner
Following the service, we moved downstairs to the Activity Room and celebrated with a feast of lasagna, breads, salads, and fruit crisps.