Pastoral Internship Report by Valariia Alipova

This summer I participated in a pastoral internship program at Bethel. The purpose of the assignment was to integrate me into already existing programs and initiatives at Bethel Mennonite Church, giving me the opportunity to practice and develop leadership skills through a full-time experience in the congregation. Some of my involvements were with the worshipping and community life of the church, as well as connecting with people and giving social support to others. I was closely connected with the congregation, mostly through building relationships, and receiving support and advice. I did many visitations that helped me to connect with individuals in the congregation and get a sense of how ministry looks like from the inside. I really enjoyed being a part of the pastoral team. They made me feel valuable, appreciated and heard. It was a great experience to grow spiritually and mentally. Darrel, Phil and Cathy helped me to remember what is important and what is not as important, and reminded me that true believers share the same end goal: to honour God and further his kingdom in whatever we do. I felt amazingly loved and supported. Many people invited me to their homes and shared their food and their stories with me.

These few months were busy and productive for me. The Summerbridge program fulfilled the practicum requirement of my degree and gave me a chance to put the studies into practice. I was practicing the tools I learned in school. It is impressive how much these things are connected – Biblical and theological studies, psychology, peacebuilding and ministry. So many pieces of my puzzle are coming together and creating a beautiful picture.

Cross Lake Staff 2018 – I am in the front row 4th from the left.

Pastoral internship gave me a deeper understanding of what happens in the church during the week day. This assignment helped me to understand my passion and gifts that I can share with my congregation after this program. This meaningful work is a chance for me to create opportunity for the love of God to manifest itself in the world.