We’re now accepting applications until April 13. If you were too busy with work, midterms, or life in general, you still have time–start writing!
God calls. God calls each one of us to live with joy and compassion, in service to God and to God’s creation. God calls us to use the gifts we have been given – whether we are artists or activists, politicians or carpenters, doctors, nurses, cleaners, teachers, parents, engineers.
The world calls, too. It calls us to be successful or like our parents or helpful or, at the very least, busy. It can be difficult to pay attention to God’s call in the midst of all this competition.
The Montreal Ministry Internship, a project of the Anglican Diocese of Montreal, is an opportunity to spend three months paying careful attention to God’s call, exploring the possibility that God is calling you to a life of ministry in God’s church.
Nick Pang is a first year student at the Montreal Diocesan Theological College, and has been active in youth events in the Anglican Church of Canada and internationally for several years. We asked for his reflections on his discernment process that led him this point.
The priesthood is an inconceivable vocation for a lot of people. Just last week I was explaining to a classmate that I was studying to be ordained as an Anglican priest. The first words out of her mouth were: “okay, so… next question – why??” To be honest, I’m not always sure. I’m not sure I know how to answer that question, and I’m not even sure that it’s possible for me to answer it.
Thankfully, a vocation to ordained ministry really isn’t about following what would seem, in the moment, to be merely a fun or exciting job. Growing up I would change my dream job every few weeks, every time I came across a new book I liked, or a new subject in school – it ranged from a jockey to an RCMP officer to a chemist. My sense of my own vocation is something entirely different. It doesn’t feel like something I stumbled across one day or something that I’ll grow out of. It feels like something that’s been growing inside me over the years. I was five the first time I turned my eyes to the front of the church, leaned over to my mother and whispered, “One day, I want to be prime Minister, just like him!” I was sixteen when I realized that I would never feel at home in the sciences, looking to help the world through the pharmaceutical industry. I was nineteen when I headed off to Bible college in New Brunswick and it was in that year that I discovered the Anglican liturgy and the Anglican community. I was twenty-four when I entered into the seminary
I never had the chance to experience a program like the Montreal Ministry Internship, although it would have been a fantastic way to dip my toes in the waters of Anglicanism. I’ve been around the church enough at this point to know that ministry of any sort isn’t simple. There is much joy to be found in the church but there is also lots of hard work to be done ahead. One of the most encouraging aspects of seminary is the opportunity to do this planning and discerning as part of a group working together toward a common goal. That will be one of the greatest strengths of the Montreal Ministry Internship. That’s what I would have loved to have found a few years ago when my discernment process began. It’s an opportunity not to be passed up!
Nicole Uzans was a 2003 intern, and is now an MDiv student at the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax. She writes:
What an extraordinary summer!
I came to the Montreal Ministry Challenge (now Internship) feeling like somewhat of a misfit in the church. However, I was serious about my own faith, which I had explored through the arts, work & recreation in the wilds of northern Ontario, and various forms of church community across several denominations.
Perhaps coming from a clergy family (my mother was ordained to the Anglican priesthood in my early teens) had given me the deep roots that held me as I explored faith, justice, religion, and myself in a wide (and sometimes unsavoury) variety of contexts throughout my 20’s. Whatever the case, when I first heard about the summer Ministry program in Montreal, I was both excited and reluctant – excited because it looked like an opportunity to really experience “church work” from the inside, and reluctant because I wasn’t sure how loyal I was to any one form of institutional religion. Could I imagine myself as an Anglican priest or deacon?! And would I be accepted as I was as I continued to ask that question?
Finally, I decided to go for it. The summer proved to be a wonderful experience, during which I turned my hand to all sorts of ministries across the city. I was encouraged to wrestle with my own faith questions by a thoughtful and welcoming group of fellow seekers. I discovered that the church is far more varied, transformative, and flexible than I had ever imagined. I have stayed in touch with several of the people I met that summer and I am constantly impressed by how they continue to re-imagine – and enact – ministry within the church.
After the summer of 2003, I completed a theology degree at St. Paul University in Ottawa, then moved to a Christian ‘intentional community’ in southern England, where I lived for two years. Some time after my return to Canada, I picked up the thread of discernment of priestly call again and last autumn, began Masters studies at the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I entered the formal process of discernment towards ordination with this diocese and I continue to be surprised by the richness and variety of ministry possible within the Anglican church.
As I think over all these years of spiritual seeking, my summer of Montreal Ministry stands out as one of the experiences where I was most fully welcomed and most wonderfully challenged to take God’s call to heart.
Rhonda Waters was a 2003 intern; she’s now a postulant for the Diocese of Montreal in her last year of seminary. She is also on the planning team for the 2011 internship.
I was an intern in 2003, the first year of the Montreal Ministry Internship. The possibility that I might be called to ordained ministry had been on my mind and in my heart for quite a few years but I was absorbed in other pursuits. Besides, I was nervous about committing myself to so human an institution as the church which has been a source of deep sadness as well as great joy in my life. The Montreal Ministry Internship presented itself as the perfect opportunity to sort out my feelings about the church and my possible vocation to ordained ministry – and to return to Montreal for a summer. So my husband and I sublet our apartment in New York, where we were attending grad school, and headed north.
That summer proved to be rich with blessings. I formed some very important relationships which continue to enrich my life and my understanding of ministry. I was stretched by my parish placement, my supervisor, and my fellow interns to examine the church, the work of ministry, the role of ordained people, and my personal faith commitments. By the end of the summer, I was quite sure I was called to be a deacon.
But my discernment was not yet finished. Fortunately, the Internship had equipped me with valuable tools for continuing the work of theological reflection on my own and with the church community I eventually found in New York. I came to see that God was indeed calling me to ordination but to the priesthood and I am now in my final year of the M.Div. program at the Montreal Diocesan Theological College. It’s been a somewhat winding path and I am deeply grateful for the grounding provided by my experience in the Montreal Ministry Internship.
Gloria Oppong was an intern in 2005. She is now a Registered Medical Technologist at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal and an active member of St. George’s Anglican Church.
We live in a society where the majority does not find the need to serve God. This concerns me greatly and I had wondered many times when will I stray away from God. I know many people who were brought up in the church while growing up. They enjoyed their first communion, and then had their confirmation. Unfortunately, a few years after confirmation life kicks in, which leads most young people to seek pleasure in other places instead of the church. School, work and the world around us get a hold of most young adults. They become extremely occupied during the week so when Sunday
morning comes around, they are too tired to wake up for church. These are the kind of stories most of my Christians friends illustrates to me.
It makes me wonder, why do I still have such solid foundation in my Christian life? How have I been able for the past 10 years, to work part-time, attend school and wake up every Sunday morning to attend the 9am services as well as the Wednesday services at St. Georges Anglican Church? The answer is simple. My faith and desire for God were directed during my weeks with the Montreal Ministry Challenge. Hence, my heart always longs to get to know God constantly.
A parishioner at St. George’s informed me about the Ministry in 2005. I read the pamphlet and pondered on it for a while before applying. ( Not anticipating how wonderful and beneficial it was going to be of service in my life)
Jen Bourque was a 2003 intern; she’s now chaplain at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, and on the planning committee for this year’s internship. She writes:
“I applied for the 2003 internship in the middle of the third year of my BA. I had started my degree in International Development, with a few courses in religious studies (mostly because I was interested in studying Hinduism!). As I continued, my degree came to include more and more religious studies, particularly in theology and biblical studies. I knew that I wanted to continue studying, but I also knew that somehow, my life was going to include work somewhere close to that area. By the end of my third year, I had applied for some internships with church-based development agencies, but couldn’t get any of them to work out. I was starting to think that I might look into the priesthood, but didn’t really know where to start–it seemed really frightening to look into a formal discernment process when I wasn’t really sure. Besides, I didn’t even know if the church was still ordaining young adults!
Tim Smart, one of the faculty members for the Montreal Ministry Internship has designed a poster. Feel free to post it in your church basement, dorm room door, office…
Jonathan Crane was a 2005 intern, and is now serving as a curate in the diocese of Edmonton. He writes:
“The Montreal Ministry Challenge came at an apt time in my life. I was just beginning to consider ministry as a possibility in my life, but not ready to pursue an official discernment process through the diocese I was with (I was living in Montreal for school, but still considered myself a member of the diocese of Edmonton). It was one of those occurrences where I was ready to start exploring ministry and a local priest said “Oh, well there is a summer program this year geared towards just that.” The circumstances of the event seemed too well suited for my situation to let pass by.
“It proved to be a chance for me to “try ministry on for size.” The placement in a local parish allowed me to do just that. As it was for me, ministry felt more “right” than expected and several years later (enough time for seminary, etc.) I’m serving as a curate back in Edmonton. The freedom of the Ministry Challenge was that I could explore ministry and begin a process of discernment apart from anything official. My sense all along has been that ministry ought not to be entered lightly (this has only been strengthened!), and these chances for discernment and testing are key.”
You can now “like” the Montreal Ministry Internship on Facebook. Look it up at Montreal Ministry Internship, or simply “click through” our page badge in the sidebar. Our facebook page will be updated with stories from participants in previous years and breaking news and information – check it out!
Welcome! We have now posted the application form for the 2011 Montreal Ministry Internship. Check it out here!