FAITHS EMBRACED  Students from the University of Saskatchewan visited Christ Church Trinity on April 19th to learn about the realities of running a shared ministry. Photo by Breanne Massey

FAITHS EMBRACED Students from the University of Saskatchewan visited Christ Church Trinity on April 19th to learn about the realities of running a shared ministry. Photo by Breanne Massey

By Breanne Massey, Pioneer Staff

Master of Divinity student Matteo Carboni was impressed with the harmonious relationship of the Windermere Valley Shared Ministry.

Seven students from St. Andrews College at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) visited the Christ Church Trinity on Sunday, April 19th to experience an ecumenical shared ministry, which consists of devotees from the Christ Anglican and United Church communities.

Shared ministry is becoming more common in both the United Church and Anglican Church, said Matteo, who is Anglican. In a class situation, you learn a lot of theory from books, but coming into a situation like this one where youre meeting real people (practising), all of a sudden, it becomes very real. We learned about the struggles and the joys of doing this what Ive gained from coming out here is that I want to participate in something like this.

United Church minister, Sandra Beardsall, who teaches church history and ecumenics at St. Andrews College at the U of S, wanted her students to participate in a shared ministry experience.

Weve talked about these shared ministry congregations, how theyre formed and what some of the challenges are in abstract, but I thought it would be good for (my students) to see people who live their lives in this way, said Mrs. Beardsall, for some real world experience.

The Christ Church Anglican and the United Church came together to create an interfaith community known as the Christ Church Trinity in 1998, but it still thrives in the community, according to Rev. Laura Hermakin.

We have this incredible gift of having this class, said Ms. Hermakin about the visiting Saskatchewan ecumenical studies class. Sandra might not put it this way and would probably blush, but shes the international guru as it were on shared ministries, which means churches that have come together from different denominations to worship together rather than continue to be separate its a big deal.

Mrs. Beardsall and her husband, Bill Richards an Anglican priest and a professor of New Testament language and literature from the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad at the U of S practise what

they preach.

Even in their marriage; they live this ecumenical shared ministry, explained Ms. Hermakin, which is neat.

But the spirit of unity spanned more than the couples interfaith relationship and the ecumenical class that brought students into the heart of the Columbia Valley.

Master of Divinity student Eva Biederman, 30, who is a United Church follower, was pleased to gain a broader sense of the interfaith community at the Windermere Valley Shared Ministry by participating on this trip and seeing theory put into practice.

Weve been learning about numbers going down in congregations and (its) a great idea to have different traditions join one another for worship, Eva explained. I was speaking to someone (at lunch) about how, economically, its better to share the cost of one building together and youre also learning about the so-called other.

She noted the challenges of a shared ministry were worth the effort of helping religious followers break down antiquated belief systems.

I think (religion) is fairly emotionally charged, she added. People have a lot of memories and traditions that people hold really dear to their hearts; and sometimes those (beliefs) are challenged by somebody who worships in a different way so that can make it difficult to agree on things, but I think we have to keep talking to people, learning about them and become friends. It creates more understanding and (this) has been an awesome experience.