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.