Ministry and Research

By Jessica Gauthier

What a year this has been! Wrapping up the In-Ministry-Year (IMY) during Holy Week means there is one final assignment after another to submit and evaluations to undergo, but there’s truth to the maxim I’ve heard that “nothing should be a surprise” at this time of year for those of us training to be leaders in the church. The IMY consists of a year-long ministry placement. It is the culmination of the Master of Divinity, preparing graduates for a life as practical theologians who can offer solid pastoral leadership. My placement is at l’Église unie de Sainte-Adèle, a growing francophone community of faith in the group of nine congregations that compose the Laurentian Area Ministry. It allows me to preach almost weekly in French or English, offer some pastoral care, and analyse the allocation of resources in a rural context. As I have journeyed through the year with my colleagues, I have seen us grow as leaders, as evangelists, as listeners, as preachers, as individuals. This is Good News!

Before I began the IMY, I had just completed all the academic work and most of the research for my MA in patristic theology. I’m writing about Radegund of Poitiers, arguing that her anthropology of womanhood was grounded in a considerable theological education. In May I participated in the college’s French for Ministry Intensive and United Church Learning Circle. Looking forward, I am thinking about my Supervised Ministry Education placement and a Clinical Pastoral Education unit here in Québec. For the summer I’ll be doing weekly pulpit supply and writing the second half of my thesis, which is meant to be submitted by mid-August. For me, ministry in the changing Church will be synonymous with flexibility, perhaps bi-vocational. It must be nurtured through lifelong learning and appropriate seasons of rest.