(Above) Participants in the ministry placement program serve in a variety of settings to experience life in full-time vocational ministry with The Salvation Army. From left, Lucas Pardy, Megan Diamond, Jennifer Chappell, Zion Court and AlbertoTheola
The Canada and Bermuda Territory’s ministry placement program gives participants the opportunity to see what life is like in full-time vocational ministry with The Salvation Army. As they work closely with officers in the field, in corps and social services, participants grow in their careers and in their relationship with God.
“This program is an opportunity for people to experience what life would be like as an officer,” says Shona Burditt, candidates project co-ordinator. “We are so grateful for the placement officers who nurture, support and encourage those exploring God’s call in their lives.”
During their placement, participants are supported by their placement officers, divisional candidates secretaries and the territorial candidates department. They follow a learning plan that includes readings, individual retreats and monthly meetings to learn together, reflect on their experiences and discern God’s call with those on the same journey.
Meet this year’s participants:
Zion Court, British Columbia Division
My placement at New Westminster Citadel, B.C., has been an amazing experience thus far, and I’m looking forward to continuing it. The community is kind and welcoming, and meeting others my age in the program has been steadying. The placement is fantastic; the corps officers, Captains Alfred and Cathy Esdaille, both have a mentor’s heart, and the congregation is overwhelmingly supportive of my inclusion.
I’ve been learning a lot about the way a corps is run and the trials and tribulations (and joys!) of leadership. I’ve been kindly pushed outside my comfort zone, to help me grow on my spiritual journey.
I’m learning the nitty-gritty realities of administration— statistics and insurance—and the necessity and difficulty of delegation.
The program has been valuable for me in my journey to figure out where God wants me. I would absolutely recommend that any young adult who is confused about God’s plans for them give it a shot—it’s a great way to get ministry and hands-on experience, as well as theological and discipleship training.
Jennifer Chappell, Ontario Division
The ministry placement program is allowing me to experience what officership is like and is giving me time to discern my call to officership. It’s also allowing me to build new relationships with so many different people and to walk with them on their journeys.
My placement at Owen Sound Community Church, Ont., with Lieutenants Jory and Rebecca Hewson, has opened my eyes to the needs in such a small community, including food, clothing and even housing. There are not enough affordable places for each person to call home, feel safe and get off the street or out of their vehicles. I had never worked with a food bank through community and family services before, and I can see how much this community relies on The Salvation Army and other amazing programs, such as OSHaRE (Owen Sound Hunger and Relief Effort).
Last October, we held a food drive, and I was part of the group of volunteers who came together to glue posters on paper bags and fold them to get ready for the mailout to the community. We sent out 12,500 bags, and 11,340 kilograms of food was donated to help the community in just the first week. Wow! To see the heart and love of God in all the people giving of their time to help just fills my heart with so much joy.
Megan Diamond, Atlantic Division
My placement is at Mount Pearl Citadel, N.L., a corps I hadn’t previously attended, despite living closer to it than the corps I have attended for the past nine years. My week consists of shadowing Majors Lisa and Morgan Hillier in all the programs at the corps, attending any meetings I can learn from, getting some outside experience at the Ches Penney Centre of Hope and the Glenbrook Lodge for Senior Citizens in St. John’s, and helping wherever I’m needed. This could look like leading the beginner band or a teen Bible study, attending the home league and Grow With Me programs, or helping at the food bank.
In the short months I have been at Mount Pearl Citadel, the corps members have made their way into my heart very quickly. On my first Sunday, I estimate that most of the congregation came up and introduced themselves to me, eager to make me feel welcome, and they continue to make me feel loved and supported in everything I do. Getting to be a helping presence in my community and exploring full-time ministry with these leaders has been an absolute joy. I have no doubt that the remaining months in this program will be joyful, filled with learning experiences, and that God is going to do amazing things.
Lucas Pardy, Atlantic Division
In my placement at Crossroads Community Church in Clarenville, N.L., which has been my home church for the past three years, I have been able to engage in many different ministries and meet people of all ages and circumstances.
Each day looks different than the one before, and it’s hard to predict where I may end up—but I love that! I’ve had opportunities to preach, lead men’s ministries, and start up a Sunday school program for the children in our community. One thing I feel passionate about is community outreach—building relationships and reaching the unreachable for Jesus. Throughout my time at Crossroads, I’ve had so many opportunities to do just that: helping at the school breakfast program, handing out chocolate bars and winter hats to college students, visiting seniors’ homes, and visiting the women’s prison in Clarenville. I see God at work, and people’s eyes being opened to the truth. Crossroads also runs a food bank and thrift store, and my heart has been burdened by the great need in our communities, especially with the rising cost of living. But I am glad to play a small part in meeting some of these needs.
I am thankful that God has allowed me to be in Clarenville for such a time as this. I am thankful for the love, support and encouragement that Crossroads has shown me through the corps officers, Majors Cecil and Tina Mitchell, ministry staff, volunteers and church members. God is so good!
Alberto Theola, Ontario Division
I am currently serving at York Community Church in Toronto, where the ministry placement program has allowed me to learn and discover the realities in the ministry of the Salvation Army officers within the community. And during my journey in the ministry placement program, I continue learning more about the importance and value of working within and for the community. In my daily schedule, I can maintain a constant contact with the events and occurrences within the corps and in the community. It is a benefit to be part of the activities and programs, as well as serving actively in community and family services, preparing myself for full-time ministry.
Our communities need people prepared to compassionately serve souls and help many others to recognize God’s love through The Salvation Army’s services and programs. The ministry placement program is a great benefit to me, allowing me to work directly alongside officers who patiently teach and spiritually mentor me with their knowledge, guidance and assistance. I will proudly recommend this program to anyone who aspires to explore officership in The Salvation Army.
For more information about this program, please contact your divisional candidates secretary or visit salvationist.ca/candidates/explore-ministry.
Photos: Shona Burditt