Spirit of Life Trailblazers

by Bonnie Coss, Council Chair, Prince of Peace, Winnipeg

Abundant Life and Prince of Peace have recently cemented their relationship by formally signing an agreement December 2021 to become the Synod’s first two-point parish in Metro Winnipeg. Through guidance from Bishop Jason Zinko, Deacon Michelle Collins, Pastor Jeremy Langner, the Shared Ministry committee (Kim Scherger, Chair ALL, Bonnie Coss, Chair POP, Kyle Kushnier, Chair Shared Ministry, Donna Mauthe, Secretary, Wayne Nyysola, Amber Ens), and Kendra Jacob-Azevedo, we have a formal agreement to hold equal rights, and responsibilities around our pastoral leadership and a parish name: Spirit of Life Ministry. The name of the parish embodies the energy we feel through the way the Spirit connects our communities. While we remain two separate congregations, we are excited to introduce our new identity to the Synod.

On July 1, 2017, Abundant Life and Prince of Peace made a decision to enter into a Shared Ministry life that instantly injected life and security into both congregations. Thank you to Pastor Annemarie MacIntosh, the full- time pastor at Abundant Life agreed to provide pastoral leadership to Prince of Peace and in return pay half of the pastoral budget to Abundant Life. Abundant Life Lutheran had the finances now for new programming and Prince of Peace got the pastoral stability that nurtured their spirits during Sunday worship and allowed the lay leaders to focus on the many projects they had going on outside of worship. 

Two similar congregations with common issues, faith, coming together in partnership with Christ. The Shared Ministry Committee had a vision that with time spent with Pastor Annemarie, this would allow each congregation an opportunity to get to know each other, listen, accommodate, help each other and worship together. This 2 year journey together prepared both congregations for the future. When Pastor Annemarie felt it was time to retire, both congregations knew they wanted to continue the relationship and worked together to put out a call for a pastor that would continue to bring spiritual leadership to both congregations. To our delight Pastor Jeremy Langner answered our prayers and became our pastor. 

Thank you to Pastor Jeremy for accepting this Call. The relationship has grown and the pandemic has challenged us but that has just strengthened the relationship. The Shared Ministry team and leadership has worked more closely together when making difficult decisions especially when a new Health Order is announced. We have been sharing worship services, and have had collaboration with resources especially with our Worship committees. 

We hope that this new expression of the partnership will allow our congregations to continue to thrive for many more years. We also hope that this partnership inspires other congregations to reach out to each other to share resources and ideas as the one body of Christ. 

We are stronger together!