May, 2019

In the letters of Paul to the Corinthians, it says that the church is the body of Christ and we, as the different parts of this body, all have our distinctive role to play. Some people know what their part is early in life and they follow a very straight path. Others feel a little lost, wandering around for a while looking for their way. Still others, and this is the category I feel best describes my journey, take the scenic route. There have been many stops along the way, detours and changes in directions and the many stories created make me who I am today.

I feel called to ordained ministry. It took much prayerful discernment for me to accept this call. I understand it as a new way to try to fulfill my role as one of the diverse parts of the body of Christ. It isn’t my first time I felt called by God, and I don’t believe it is actually more important than any of my other calls … it is just different. To hear the rest of my call stories, you will need to join me for worship on May 5th when I will preach on this.

Accepting God’s call was a huge step, but it was only the first one in what became a very long journey. Over the next 7 years I took courses from the Atlantic School of Theology (AST) towards my Masters of Divinity (MDiv). I finished the last of my 30 courses in mid-April and will receive my MDiv on May 4th. While I will not deny doing the happy-dance when I finished my studies, I have enjoyed almost every moment of it. I loved learning about the bible, pastoral ministry, theology and worship leadership. I felt privileged to be attending such a great theology school under the tutelage of so many amazing professors. The goal of that time was not to teach me everything I needed to know, but give me the tools to be able to minister in a new way and a thirst for life-long learning. AST strives to “serve Christ's mission by shaping effective and faithful ordained and lay leaders.” My hope is to live into this mission.

So, with the MDiv completed, I am done with my work for AST. However, before ordination, I must complete the requirements of the General Council of the United Church of Canada. This includes doing an Internship (now officially called Supervised Ministry Education or SME). As such, I will be filling in for Rev. Phillip while he is on Sabbatical and vacation from May 1st – August 31st. During this time Woodlawn will not have a Youth Minister but I will do my very best and work hard to make sure the ministries for children and youth do not suffer too much. Kelly MacNeil and Grace Bowen-MacLean will be taking over the facilitating of Sunday AM Youth Group for May. Thanks Kelly and Grace.

Sept 1st I will be back in the role of Youth Minister full time but will still be working on my learning goals for ordination (so you may see me doing some extra things above and beyond my normal responsibilities). Then, all going well, I will be recommended for ordination in May 2020 and become (the Reverend) Shannon MacLean.

I cannot imagine being where I am today without the support of the Woodlawn Congregation. You have walked with me every step of this journey. Thank you. Shelley, Ruth, Mary Lynne, Phillip and Bob have been patient and have all challenged and supported me through this process. Thank you.

And to the children, youth, young adults of Woodlawn… it is because of you that I felt brave enough to answer this call at this time in my life. Thank you.

I would like to invite you to come to my graduation. It is being held on May 4th at 11 AM in All Saint’s Anglican 1330 Cathedral Ln, Halifax, NS B3H 2Z1. Please know, I do not expect you to come, but if you happened to be free that day, I would be delighted to see you.

Blessings, Shannon