Ministry Quest, In Review: students and leaders reflect on biennial vocation discernment retreat
"I was grateful to spend time with a group of young adults who care so deeply about the church; it was a great encouragement to me!" – Kathy McCamis
Late last month, 12 students joined five leaders from CMU and the wider church for a weekend apart from daily routines. They gathered at St. Benedict's Monastery near Winnipeg to share stories, seek God's voice, and encourage one another in a time of focussed vocational discernment.
CMU hosts this overnight retreat, called Ministry Quest, once every two years, offering students the chance to find a little stillness in solidarity with others walking a similar path. The retreat is open to undergrads and graduates alike who are curious about, or feel they may already be experiencing, a call to formal Christian ministry. Many students come seeking clarity about "call"—what it is, what it feels like, how to know if it is happening to them—or further spiritual growth as they work out their way.
Justin Eisinga is a Master of Divinity student in the CMU Graduate School of Theology and Ministry:
"This retreat served to affirm what I already knew about my calling and questions regarding Christian ministry but had forgotten along the way of life. This wasn't frustrating for me, but actually refreshing. I am particularly grateful for the leaders and facilitators who were present with us throughout the weekend and reminded us that a calling to ministry may meander. It may look different for each of us. We need these opportunities to hear our story and remember who we are. It was so good to be with other people who are asking similar questions! There's a restful safety in gatherings like this."
Ministry Quest 2020 was hosted by Dr. Andrew Dyck, Assistant Professor of Christian Spirituality and Pastoral Ministry at CMU, with added leadership from four community partners. Cameron Priebe is Provincial Director of Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba, and formerly served eight years as program director of CMU's Outtatown Discipleship School. Judith Friesen Epp is co-pastor of Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg and Dr. Christine Kampen Robinson is Assistant Professor of Practicum and of Social Science at CMU.
Kathy McCamis, Associate Pastor of Bethel Mennonite Church, joined this year's retreat for the first time and says she was moved by students' openness and sincerity:
"To be invited to sit with others as they consider the ways they have encountered God, as they try to discern God's leading, is to be invited into a wonderful and sacred place. It's always a gift. My hopes going in were that we could create a safe space for discernment and sharing, and that I would be able to share my story in a way that would be both helpful to the students and true to how I've encountered God. Hearing a variety of people's call stories was instrumental for me as I was discerning, so I prayed that I would be vulnerable about the journey I've been on, while also clear that God's call is as unique as the individuals God calls."
Ministry Quest, an initiative of CMU's Office of Ministry Inquiry, is a manifestation of CMU's identity as a university of the church for the world, committed to resourcing people and congregations across Canada.