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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.
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!