Update on the 2016 Grads

Lori Stewart checked in with our 2016 graduates to find out what they’re up to these days…

Upon commissioning, Hubert Den Draak was called to the Pinegrove United Church just outside of Thunder Bay, where he is now serving half time.

While a student, Hubert worked with the congregation to start a revitalization project in response to concerns about their sustainability.  One of the needs they identified is the large number of isolated people living in the rural area.  Many have no transportation and little money, so they do not have access to a community of friendship and support.  The church decided to launch Café del Soul which brings people together for lunch and a social afternoon once a month.  Transportation is available and local artisans are recruited to offer a program.

Hubert learned this summer that he also received a grant from the United Church’s EDGE for a new ministry in the Thunder Bay area focusing on Generation X (those born between 1964 and 1980) and their children.  He’s looking for people in this group who are interested in experiencing God in a spiritual community that is different from the traditional church setting.  Together they will figure out what that will look like.

Both of these projects are in their infancy but Hubert is excited about the possibilities for faithful community.

Jackie Van’t Voort is on the move.  After being in a half time ministry position in Omemee, Ontario, she was offered full time work back in Saskatchewan where she filled an appointment as a student.  When we spoke she was packing a 6 X 12 foot U-Haul trailer to head to Almeda and Oxbow where she will work half-time in each.

Over the last two years, Jackie feels she has been able to make an impact working with the Omemee congregation.  They are in a place to take on some new challenges; they are ready and can do it.

Jackie says, “My life is in boxes, but I think I’m on the right track.”  She’s looking forward to heading out west once again where she feels God is calling her.

Life has taken on a certain rhythm as Lynn Smith puts together the various pieces of work and study she’s involved in this year.  She’s enjoying the small group that gathers one day a week for a Supervised Pastoral Education unit geared to pastoral ministry.  It supports her work with the good people of the Bethany-Pontypool Pastoral Charge where she is in ministry three days a week.  The rest of her time is devoted to developing Bedford House Community Ministry in Peterborough, along with her partner Allan.

Bedford House is a sacred space, inspiring faith-based social action.  Storytelling is a focus of their work.  Lynn and Allan host Subversive Faith conversations with activists who share how spirituality and activism intersect and the new series, Migizi, with Indigenous activists.  They are also involved in other reconciliation work, offer workshops, and lunchtime book studies.

Lynn is excited about working with a program called “Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World” where she has the opportunity to use her own experience of moving out of poverty to help others. The Bridges Out of Poverty work brings people from all areas of the community together to understand systems, build resources, improve outcomes, and support impoverished folks moving to a more stable lifestyle.

The best thing, Lynn reports, is that her son and his family have moved to Wooler, which is where her SPE course is offered.  The benefit is more grandma time.