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)
One of our activities was to find the deeper part of ourselves. Whatever situation I have encountered till now, I always find myself in a quite place asking God to show me a way and also center myself deeply on scriptures. Yes, it can be very difficult at first but gradually the voice of God becomes very real and you cannot stray from it. Furthermore, we had a study on Basic Pastoral Care with Bryan Pearce and wow will I be forever grateful to him. His teachings on Empathy, unconditional position regards and communication lessons have helped me in many ways. The part of the lesson that resonates with me was the unconditional positive regard: As ambassadors of Jesus Christ we are called to accept everyone as they are. We are called to hate the sin but LOVE THE SINNER. While I mature in my Christian life over the years, I try to imitate such behavior. Also, I recognize that this is exactly what Jesus did during his life spent on earth.
For my parish internship, I was placed with Nick Brotherhood at Emerge. Emerge was a “Gathering Community” at the undercroft of the Cathedral. Their environment was completely different from my church. Nevertheless, at the end of each service the same message was delivered; to love God and make him know to those you encounter. Nick’s intention every Sunday was purposely design to stir up a discussion at the end of his sermon, and I watched him every Sunday accomplishing his goal while many of the members participate in lively and God filled discussions. I think this is why they called themselves “Gathering Community” instead of a church.
I enjoyed the activities which we were involved in, including serving meals at St. Michael’s Mission to the homeless, visiting the elderly at Fulford Residence, and spending time at the Seaffers at old port with different people who travel on seas to make a living and support their family in their country. I enjoyed listening to most of their life’s story, have services with them and off course enjoyed the numerous sets of games they had set up around us. I was thrilled to be part of a community who is making such a difference in so many peoples lives.
One activity that I continued to involve myself in after the program was Prison Ministry with Peter Huitsh. During the program, I was fascinated by the work Peter was doing. I learned from him the importance of building a broken community of faith. During most of our discussions with the inmates, his intention was to engage all of us around a Godly discussion.
In addition, I enjoyed our weekly reflection together. It was very refreshing hearing from everyone how their week was enfolding, and to discuss any difficulties we encountered during that week. Also, I liked that we were giving the opportunity to lead morning prayers and the Eucharist; this has allowed me to be of service to my own church from time to time.
Finally, nerves kicked in when I had to deliver my sermon to Emerge. I can vividly remember that day at the undercroft. My sermon was focused on prayer. I truly believe that a prayerful Christian is able to discern the directions of God more clearly. I noticed that wherever we went either with my group or with Nick; meeting some members for coffee we always began with a short prayer. Hence the reason I wanted to elaborate more on prayer. While writing my sermon I recalled many things that we were taught during the Ministry. I remember this: “If courage makes a preacher bold reverence will make them humble”. We should always allow God to speak to us while writing our sermons.
The goal of a sermon is to stir up some type of hunger for God on a daily basis. Up until today, you will never find me thinking of anything else when I’m alone but in constant prayer and listening for God to speak to me in anyway possible. With God’s help, I’m a Registered Medical technologist at the Jewish General Hospital in Microbiology. My contract at the JGH allows me to have Sundays off in order to attend my regular Sunday worship. I assist Reverend Cannon Ralph Leavitt with the Chalice some Sunday mornings. I find it a blessing most mornings when our Verger Paul hands
me the scripture to read. There is always something real and different in the scriptures, which I am very familiar with. Ralph always preachers that no matter how familiar you
are with the message; pray that the Lord will strengthen you in a different way with the same message.
I strongly believe the weeks I spent with at the Ministry Challenge really equipped me to be able to serve my church and the people I encounter everyday. The Ministry Challenge strengthened my faith and laid a strong foundation for my Christian journey which no storm can destroy. I know with God’s help I’m constantly being deeply rooted in my faith and will never stray away from God. I am certain about that now more than ever.