Dear friends in Christ,
My name is Sarah Magie, and I am going to be working as an intern supply minister at St. Paul’s for the next two years as part of my training to become a chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces. Allow me to tell you a little bit about myself. The youngest daughter of two United Church ministers (one diaconal, one ordained), I began my church life at an unusually young age. It wasn’t far for me to go to begin my Pathway to Discernment, which I began in October of 2011. While completing my BA in Philosophy from Queen’s University at Kingston, ON, I did occasional pulpit supply for churches in the Kingston and surrounding areas to gain as much preaching experience as I could, while being involved in evangelical work through the Campus for Christ organization (now called “Power to Change”). Eventually, one of the churches I did pulpit supply for wanted to appoint me as a student minister, and so, I started working in a ministry role at Centenary Pastoral Charge, just North of Kingston, ON.
While at Centenary I had the privilege of ministering to a wide variety of age-ranges and demographics within the church, leading several Bible study/discussion groups, and doing regular visits at local hospitals and senior’s homes. In addition to my responsibilities at Centenary, I volunteered regularly at the Chaplain’s Office of Kingston General Hospital, working with a multiplicity of ethnic and religious backgrounds, and I also worked actively with our local ministerial (comprised of representatives from the local Anglican, Catholic, Free Methodist, Pentecostal and United churches). Having taken courses at the master’s level in both Canadian Pluralism and Evangelism, I have worked extensively at the Presbytery and other levels of the church in areas of intercultural and ecumenical education, as well as spreading the Good News (and educating others in how to do so).
While I do seek to honour—and to actively participate in— such ventures beyond the local congregation, there is no disguising the fact that my passion for ministry tends to be vested in visioning at the local level; I believe that the congregations of the United Church of Canada are our denomination’s heart and soul. My time at Centenary Pastoral Charge was filled with a wide range of joys and challenges; and I continue to find the varied challenges of ministry within the military context to be more than invigorating.
Today I can say with confidence as a Candidate for the Order of Ministry in the United Church of Canada that I believe it is my responsibility to prayerfully discern God’s will for my life and to answer that call with all the integrity that is humanly possible. It is my understanding of God’s will for me that I should dedicate my life to meeting the religious and spiritual needs of His people both as individuals and as a corporate body, and I am seeking to fulfill this call by pursuing military chaplaincy. In order to live this vision, I have committed myself to life-long learning; I will remain dedicated to my covenant of confirmation and membership in the United Church of Canada; and I will seek the covenant of ordination. Within my ministry competencies, I strive to be transparent, compassionate, consultative and accountable to my pastoral charge and the wider church. I seek to act on the teachings of Jesus in all aspects of my life. I uphold the values of fellowship, trust, and support. And I reclaim the term “Evangelism” by seeking ways to share my faith in Jesus Christ that are congruent with who I am as an apprentice of Christ. In giving life to the mission to which I am called I believe that I have been given certain gifts and abilities to be used in serving God and God’s people.
Pulpit Presence: Over the past several years, I have won several awards at the regional and provincial level for public speaking. During the summer of 2010, I was a keynote speaker for several events hosted by the Ottawa Family Services. Throughout the summer of 2011, I was given several opportunities to practice preaching and writing liturgy, doing pulpit supply for several churches in the Kingston, ON and surrounding area. It was from this pulpit supply work that I was invited to apply for the vacancy at the pastoral charge I went on to serve for nearly three years, getting to preach the Word of God at three different churches on a weekly basis.
Pastoral Care: While living in Ottawa, ON, I volunteered doing prison outreach with Aboriginal inmates, and participated in running a domestic violence prevention program. I also volunteered doing visits at a local long-term care facility with my dog, Jake, whom I was training as a therapy dog. I’m not a sit-in-the-office-and-wait-for-folks-to-come-to-me sort of person, rather I am happiest when I’m out in the community, visiting with folks. This is evidenced by my extensive pastoral care work in my last pastoral charge.
Administrative Ability: In addition to serving on various committees within the church, as well as polity courses at the master’s level, my professional experience in business and the financial industry and my training in the Canadian Armed Forces have helped me develop excellent communication, time management and organizational skills.
Leadership Style: The ability to be a team player, to respect points of view that do not reflect my own experience, and the willingness to compromise appropriately, have been skills that I have developed over time. When each player knows what position they play on the team and everyone understands the importance of that position to the whole, then there is a feeling that everyone’s contribution matters. As Paul reminds us in his letters to the Romans and Corinthians, we are all members of the body of Christ, and uniquely important to the whole of the church. When people are given the freedom to do what they are called to do, we all become partners in the task of addressing the religious and spiritual needs of the world. The two most important characteristics I bring to these encounters would be a self-differentiated non-anxious presence and (I hope!) a sense of humour.