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Wondering About the “Why’s” and “What Fors” of Two Rivers Ministry Area?

Two Rivers Ministry Area: Why? And What For?

Those of us living in the Waterloo region, and who’ve stayed with the church over the past twenty years or more, will no doubt affirm the seismic changes – technologically, institutionally, socially, religiously – not only in Canadian society generally, but also within our church culture in the “old” KW Conference of the Eastern Synod-ELCIC. The Church has been marginalized, moved from a previous, more established and dominant position in society, at its peak in the 1950s-1970s, to a more diminished, lean, and peripheral entity.
In order to adjust to these shifting realities, about four years ago our Synod undertook the task of reorganizing its “Conference” boundaries, to better balance the number of congregations into more natural and obvious geographical settings within the territory of the Eastern Synod. What resulted were “Ministry Areas” (MA). Ours is the “Two Rivers” MA, as it reflects the constellation of congregations in proximity to each other near the confluence of the Conestoga and Grand Rivers. We number eleven churches, from St. Peter’s Linwood to the west, and Faith Fergus to the northeast, to St. John’s Waterloo at its most southern point. Two Rivers MA includes “Thirdspace,” an emergent outreach congregation operating out of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary.
Each MA has a Dean and leadership team appointed by the Bishop, which are three-year term, voluntary positions. In addition to myself as Dean, Barbara Finn (St. James Elmira), Robyn Gromeder (St. Matthews Conestogo), Mary Thompson (Mt. Zion Waterloo) and Deacon Scott Knarr (Mt. Zion Waterloo) serve generously and effectively on the team. Heartfelt thanks to all of them who serve so enthusiastically and wisely.
A major purpose of the work of the team, and by extension, our collective MA, is to help excite the imaginations of all of our members for mission and ministry work that is happening, and can happen, beyond the walls of our own local congregations. The Ministry Area is by no means the only vehicle for such a purpose. Our personal involvements – church and otherwise – which help do this for us, are many. But it is one such vehicle.
The boundaries of the Ministry Area are not meant to be fixed in a way that prohibits churches working with other churches or associations in other Ministry Areas. Indeed, we’re aware of churches within Two Rivers MA which are deeply involved with other Eastern Synod churches in the Grand River and Nith Valley Ministry Areas nearby. That’s perfectly alright! And to be encouraged! The more partnerships between churches and colleagues that can happen, in a natural and organic way, the better! The MA is meant to help encourage such partner-making endeavours, wherever and whenever!
The Ministry Team is constantly updated and building upon a contact list (phone and email), so as many key members and Pastors are able to get the monthly “Wading in the Water” TRMA newsletter, as well as other notifications and reminders as they come up. Please contact me if you have an update with your email or phone number.
It’s good to gather regularly with other Lutherans in our Ministry Area churches, to share information, support each other, and learn about interesting and meaningful issues and ministry opportunities happening in the area, and beyond. In the past year, we’ve learned more about First Nations peoples, Roman Catholics on the occasion of the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation, and the challenges to peace-making in Jerusalem. The Two Rivers MA has been a major sponsor and supporter (through the receiving of Synod Mission Grants) of the work of Deacon Scott Knarr with the Six Nations, and as he’s endeavoured to build bridges of understanding and relationship between members of Two Rivers, the wider Eastern Synod, and indigenous peoples. Upcoming in April, we will have an opportunity to learn more about Islam, it’s people and faith, with a visit to the Waterloo Masjid on Erb Street.
These Two Rivers gatherings help us see a large world God loves. In my view, anything we can do to expand our hearts, minds and worldviews, and prompt us to mission and ministry, both within and beyond our local congregations, is worthwhile work.
As Dean, I also operate as an extension of the Bishop’s office, performing installations and exit interviews at times of congregational and pastoral transitions. In this way, my presence is a visual reminder of the wider church of the Eastern Synod – ELCIC. We do not live and worship in private bubbles, but are part of a wider network of people of faith, seeking to follow the way of Jesus, and supporting each other along the way.

Please call or email me anytime if you want to talk further.
Pr. David Malina
519-885-4050
dmalinachurch@gmail.com

Blessings on your continued ministry!

Music this Lent at St John’s Waterloo

A Lenten Organ Recital Series

Learning about First Nations’ & Christian Spirituality this Lent 2018

Lent.poster. 2018with special guests National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald, Deacon Tom Patterson, Rev. Ros Elm and Deacon Scott Knarr.

Looking for a Vacation Bible School this Summer for your Child or Children?

Area Wide Vacation Bible School July 9-13, 2018

Bridges VBS
Coming July 9 to 13, 2018
9 am to 4 pm
Mount Zion Lutheran Church, Waterloo
Our theme, Rolling River Rampage, invites us to
“Experience the Ride of a Lifetime with God!”

Congratulations Rev. Karen Kuhnert on Your Installation Jan 13, 2018!!

Rev. Peter Kuhnert, Federal M.P. Bardish Chagger, and Rev. Karen Kuhnert pictured here at the installation service. Blessings to you and the people of St. James, St. Jacobs!

Honour & Renew Our Relationship with Water on Saturday September 30

…. at Five Oaks, in Paris, ON. Give thanks for, and renew your appreciation of, water, God’s gift to us for life, for all people….

click here for details…WaterCeremony[1286]

Spend an Evening with Michael Coren at LutherFest on Saturday October 14

Meet Michael Coren, broadcaster celebrity, who has a story to tell!! A story of personal transformation, spiritual awakening, a “change-of-mind”, and renewed energy for mission and ministry….

click on the link below for more details….

Lutherfest 2017[1287]

Saying Farewell to Camp Edgewood on Sunday October 1

Come in the afternoon of Sunday Oct 1 to say one final “goodbye” to a Camp which has meant so much to so many people for a very long time. Give thanks to God for past blessings! And let’s be open to, and discerning of, the “new thing” God is doing in our midst!

Camp Edgewood Farewell Celebration 2017[1288]

Two Rivers Lutherans Gather for Potluck Feast Wednesday Sept 20 in Conestogo

POTLUCK SUPPER Ministry Area Gathering Wednesday, September 20 – 6pm St. Matthews, Conestogo
Pulled pork on a bun will be provided. Please bring a salad or dessert. An opportunity for food and fellowship!

All Welcome!