On Sunday morning, April 28, there was not a dry eye in the house as Crossroads bade farewell to our Student Minister, Lydia Ruenzel.
Lydia first joined us as Crossroads‘ worship leader from mid-May to mid-August 2018, while Rev. Cari was on sabbatical. Having made such a warm connection with the congregation, it only felt natural to return to Crossroads in September to complete her third year of Field Education for the Vancouver School of Theology.
Lydia grew by leaps and bounds in her time with Crossroads. Her learning goals all related to the overall theme of deepening her pastoral identity, so whether related to administration and leadership, setting and holding healthy boundaries, providing pastoral care, being present with children and youth, or leading worship, Lydia’s aim was to explore ministry in all its depth. She was responsive to the nudges of the Holy Spirit (and her supervisor) and really took some risks in her final term, trying new things beyond her comfort zone. She utilized the people of her Lay Support team well, seeking feedback and building on their observations and input.
She writes: “Crossroads is the first church that I’ve been at where I’ve developed a pastoral relationship with the parishioners. It’s such a special relationship and an honour to be trusted enough to be let into people’s lives in such an intimate and unique way. I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to “love” a congregation and how the word in English doesn’t fully explain the pastoral relationship. It finally occurred to me this week that it is an “Agape” love that is between minister and parishioner, a love that is unconditional. A love that is apparent in both the joyous times and times of grief.”
As we release Lydia into the next phase of her preparation for ministry, we rejoice that her gifts will be offered within the United Church of Canada – some blessed congregation in the Lower Mainland is going to partner with her for her Supervised Ministry Experience – and we pray for God’s grace to attend her and her partner Derek in this next part of their adventure! We send her with our love and gratitude.