Summer: a time to challenge and ask questions

We asked a number of students what will keep them busy through the summer months. Laura Carr-Pries, who is spending her summer in Toronto, shared the following reflection on how connections between her studies and “the real world” are coming into focus. 

When I tell people that I am spending my summer interning at a church, I often get puzzled looks. The question quickly follows: What does that mean? What do you actually do? Even though there are some days I’m unsure of how to answer that question, my summer has been a time of learning, personal growth and new experiences.

Laura Carr-Pries

Laura Carr-Pries

I have the privilege of spending my summer working at Toronto United Mennonite Church (TUMC), where I have been exploring various aspect of being in a Church Ministry position. This involves worship leading and preaching, planning a church retreat, going to meetings, and building relationships with people in the church.

This past February, I went on CMU’s Ministry Quest retreat, that was organized by Irma Fast-Dueck and Andrew Dyck. This retreat was a time where I had the opportunity to explore questions about ministry and the church. To be honest, I didn’t leave with some clear calling that I should go into ministry. Instead, I came out thinking that church work was something I wanted to explore a little more, and something I thought I would enjoy. So, I began a conversation with Irma, who referenced me to Mennonite Church Canada, who suggested that TUMC would be a good option. Suddenly, my summer was set into motion!

One of the many things that I’ve come to realize during my time at TUMC is that what I am studying at CMU has real life, practical applications. I admit that sometimes I get frustrated with school when I feel like I put a lot of work into a course, and it all stops at the end of the semester. Through my time at TUMC, I’m seeing that what I am learning in my classes is a part of my everyday interactions. There are many times this summer where I’ve found myself reviewing course notes or papers because what I’m studying has a direct application to my life and work. I’m so grateful that CMU has taught me how to think outside the classroom.

My time at TUMC has also been an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the inner workings of a church, with all the joys and struggles that come along with it.

I am consistently rediscovering that church is relationship; relationships between individuals and between people and God.

This is what makes the church such a unique place to be. I have been meeting people from different places, each with a different story, who all teach me to encounter God in a new way.

This summer experience hasn’t just been an opportunity to gain a new skill set or to add something to my resume. It has been a time to challenge myself and ask questions about God and the Church. I look forward to seeing how this experience will continue to inform my studies, relationships, and faith journey!

Laura Carr-Pries is a #myCMUlife guest blogger

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