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It was interesting that as the daughter of a pastor, church work was not really on the list of things I wanted to do when I grew up. I was pretty single-minded about wanting to be a social worker, and I was privileged to work in that vocation for nearly 20 years. I had the blessing of being raised by faithful Christian parents who brought me to worship and Sunday School, taught me to love God’s Word and my catechism, and modeled to me service in Christ’s Church. I was able to be active in whatever congregation I was a part of – serving as organist, Sunday School teacher, choir director, board member and chair – and in every role there was someone, whether it was pastor or lay person, to offer encouragement and training. I learned early on about some of the joys and struggles of serving in the church.
In 1999 I accepted a full-time position at Prince of Peace Village, but it wasn’t until the principal of the school, and later my pastor, spoke with me about the possibility of training to become a deaconess that the idea of full-time church work became real to me (up to then I had only ever thought of Lutheran teacher as an option, and somehow that idea never took hold). Even then, the application for colloquy sat on my dresser for about 2 years before it was submitted. Was I too old? How would I manage the course work if I couldn’t be on campus? What about my family (my husband owns a small business and my three children were still in school)? Could we afford the tuition?
Even with all the questions, the desire to pursue church work did not abate, and my husband and children were supportive. I tested the waters by doing the first course (Old Testament) by correspondence with Concordia University River Forest in 2002-2003. New Testament followed, and I could see God at work making a way for this to be done. I submitted the colloquy application while I was completing my third correspondence course, was accepted, worked out with Dr. Paul Schoepp what courses had yet to be completed, and over the next 4 years, took one course a semester. All but one could be done through Concordia University College Alberta in hybrid delivery (that meant that I could do them from Calgary). I commuted to Edmonton weekly for one course. During this time, I was able to work as Secretary and Music Assistant at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, where I was now a member. The congregation and its pastors supported my studies, and encouraged me on this path.
The next hurdle was internship. I was anxious about the possibility of being separated from my family during that year, but blessedly, I was placed at Foothills Lutheran in Calgary. There was the same anxiety about my first assignment, but I was privileged to be able to continue to serve at Foothills. In the end, my Lord graciously answered every question and concern for both myself and my family.
It has been three years since I was placed as DPS at Foothills. My primary role is in the area of Children and Family Ministry. What a privilege it is to encourage parents in their God-given role of nurturing the faith planted in their children in Holy Baptism, and what a joy it is to see those children grow in Christ. How wonderful to work with committed volunteers in our Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, and to see them grow right alongside of their young students. Our God is gracious and merciful, and in spite of my failings, sees that His work is accomplished for the sake of His beloved. I give thanks every day that He has made me part of that work.
My Amazing Journey as a Lutheran School Teacher
Whether I knew it or not, my life’s journey was totally directed and under God’s control. I was born into a Christian family. My father was a Lutheran pastor and I attended a Lutheran Elementary School until high school. During my high school years there were two main streams of career opportunities. One stream was to go to university to become a teacher or a nurse, the other was to go into the business field. Nursing was my career choice right up to the time of my high school graduation. During the summer I changed my mind about nursing and chose instead to become a teacher cialis online apotheke. I registered (rather late, I might add) at Concordia College at Edmonton, Alberta and miraculously I was accepted. I don’t remember that I had thought about being a teacher before that at all.
I also do not recall any one really encouraging me to become a teacher, but looking back I see how God and the people around me certainly provided many opportunities for me to appreciate learning and engage in teaching experiences. I learned a lot from my father, a Lutheran pastor and teacher. He was my grade school teacher from grade one – to grade three. He taught students from grade one to eight in a one room school (the church on Sunday) at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Brightview, (Usona) Alberta. I saw how he cared deeply for each child and their families always demonstrating the love of God, I saw him engage students of different ages and interests with many creative teaching techniques such as open-ended learning, story-telling, hands on experiences (which I remember to this day) etc. Two years before I had to take confirmation class I sat in on his confirmation lessons because I loved the way he told stories, the way he used illustrations to help kids understand the Word of God and the way he encouraged his students to get excited about learning. After I was confirmed I taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, helped with Christmas Eve Sunday School programs, attended youth group, played the piano and organ for church services etc. I was a sponge taking in God’s greatness daily. At the time I didn’t know and I didn’t appreciate the many ways I was being prepared for my life as God’s servant.
Once I was accepted into Concordia College, Edmonton, Alberta my studies and path changed to becoming a Lutheran School teacher. I attended Concordia College one year (1960-61) and then transferred to Concordia Teachers College, Seward, Nebraska, from which I graduated in 1964. I found the college in Nebraska to be an excellent school of learning. Besides helping me gain both spiritual and earthly knowledge I also learned many practical teaching techniques and had an excellent practicum experience in Salem Lutheran School, Saint Louis, Missouri.
Most of my experiences and memories of schooling before receiving my degree from Seward are wonderful to recall. Yes, I was far away from home, and yes I was living in a foreign country, and yes the Canadian dollar was not highly valued, schooling was expensive and my parents and family gave up a lot for me to attend school but God walked with us and provided. The pros out weighed the cons. I gained so much insight into the American way of life. I have friends throughout the US, and had many positive learning experiences from the conferences and conventions of the Lutheran Education Association in the USA, (an older and more established organization).
After graduation in 1964 I taught grade one in Holy Cross Lutheran School, Collinsville, Illinois for three years. Wages were not that great – about $325.00 a month so during the summer months I went home to work at the Dominion Glass Company, Redcliff, Alberta. In 1966 I married Ron Towriss who at the time was attending Concordia Lutheran Seminary, St. Louis. During the summer months Ron worked to help us make ends meet. We spent two more years in the US so Ron could finish his schooling to become a pastor and I taught in the public school system. In the summer of 1969 we were called to serve the Swift Current Area Parish, Swift Current, and Saskatchewan. While in Swift Current I continued serving the Lord in the church but not in the classroom. In 1986 we moved to Port Coquitlam, BC where I began taking correspondence courses in Early Childhood Education so I could perhaps? someday? open a Lutheran preschool.
My life changed dramatically, however, after I received a call in 1989 to teach kindergarten at Zion Lutheran School, Cloverdale, BC. It was a “God Thing” that took me back to teaching. I had other plans for my life at that time and this was not part of them. I had a lot of reasons why I couldn’t accept the call. I didn’t want to drive so far in the winter, I hadn’t taught for twenty years etc. etc. but after much time in prayer and discussion with others I finally accepted the call to Zion where I taught for seven years. The years I taught at Zion were amazing and very fulfilling. I was back where I belonged. I was in the classroom being challenged and spiritually refreshed daily by the lives of His little children. Still to this day I recall little Russell bouncing into the classroom on a cold rainy morning telling me that it was pretty cold and wet outside, but “Oh well.” He said, “It’s just God, changing the seasons.” How nice to be reminded of that!
God continued preparing me for another step in my journey. In 1996 I was called to be principal and teacher of Hope Lutheran School, Port Coquitlam, BC. Of course this was not in my life plan. Why would I want to accept such a big challenge? I was not experienced in administration, yada, yada, yada! Nevertheless, under God’s gentle persuasion I accepted the call to do the Lord’s work in Port Coquitlam BC. The school began with eight students in 1995, and in 2010 when I retired we had 190 students. Today with the high school the student enrolment is approaching 300. God is still at work.
Most certainly there were many challenges, frustrations and difficult times as I worked in God’s harvest field, but the joys of working with God’s children are quickly forgotten when one sees and hears the unbelievable witness and expressions of faith in Jesus that comes from the mouths of babes and children.
“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked Him. “Yes”, replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘from the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?” Matt. 21:16
There are so many experiences and stories I could tell about the wonders of being about the Lord’s business, but one thing I know is that God chooses and uses us to fulfil His purposes, in spite of our self- centered ways, our weaknesses and failings. He enables our walk with Him to be joyful and refreshed daily as He strengthens us with His miracles of love and grace along the way.
In June 2013, I’ll have completed twenty years of fulltime church work. I’m grateful to God for the opportunity to serve in the church and in the world. God has helped me, guided me, strengthened me and forgiven me on so many occasions. What a good God we serve!
As I look back on my life, I see God at work, gifting me with faith and helping me to know His love. I was baptized as a baby at Valhalla Lutheran Church in Valhalla Centre, Alberta. My parents and grandparents took me to worship regularly. When I was old enough, I attended Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and Bible camp. I remember receiving my first Bible when I was in grade 3. I loved to read it and to look at the wonderful pictures of Bible events painted by the artist Richard Hook. When I think about Jesus, I think about Richard Hook’s inspiring paintings cialis generika 10mg. My family was very involved in church and we were often personal friends with our pastors and their families. This helped me to realize that pastors are people, too, who live normal lives with all the challenges and blessings of family life. I very much admired my pastors.
In grade 7, I started Confirmation classes. We studied the Bible narrative in our first year and the catechism in our second year. Our pastor had been a professor at a Bible school so his classes were very instructive and demanding. I remember learning a lot. Confirmation Sunday was a special day for me as I declared my faith in God and promised to love and serve Him all my life. I continued to attend worship and was very involved in youth group. My pastor knew that I played guitar and he asked me to help with music in church from time to time. As I grew older, my pastor encouraged me to consider fulltime church work. I really started to consider the possibilities.
After high school, I toured Canada and parts of the United States with a Christian music ministry team called Morning Star. I learned a lot about the church, about ministry and about serving God as I sang, played guitar and helped with different presentations and events. I also met my wife on the tour. Lynne is a faith-filled Christian woman who has been such an encouragement and support to me. After tour, I went to Concordia College (now Concordia University College) in Edmonton. I started a degree in Psychology with plans to attend seminary. Lynne and I married and we started a family as I worked my way through my degree. When I graduated, I asked about studies at the seminary. At the same time, I was offered a job working with youth ministry, music ministry and young adult ministry at Hope Lutheran Church (now Hope Lutheran Church and School) in Port Coquitlam, BC. I prayed about it and decided to take the job at Hope. I had a wonderful time learning and growing as a church worker while I worked with Pastor Ron Towriss and the good people in the congregation there. I served at Hope for four years. I then moved to Rocky Mountain House, Alberta to serve with youth ministry, music ministry and young adult ministry at Immanuel Lutheran Church. I continued learning and growing as a church worker while I worked with Pastor Tim Richholt and the good people in the congregation there. During my time in Rocky Mountain House, I completed the colloquy requirements for certification as a Director of Parish Services in Lutheran Church – Canada. In 2004, I began work as Director of Youth Ministry at Bethel Lutheran Church in Sherwood Park. I’ve appreciated the chance to work closely with Pastor Marv Ziprick and the other staff and members of Bethel as I serve in youth ministry. I’ve been encouraged to grow as a person of faith, as a leader and as a member of my local community in my time at Bethel. As I reflect on my life as a church worker, I’m so thankful for my family, my pastors, and my brothers and sisters in Christ who have encouraged, supported and guided me along this path. I truly feel blessed to serve and to share God’s love in so many different ways with so many different people.