A day in the life of a pastor in exile

What does a typical day look like for you? The question I get asked most frequently these days  is some variation of “what do you actually do in a day?”. Excellent question!

You probably won’t be surprised to read that this is also a dificult question.

This thing called PiE is still brand new in many ways and each day is full of newness. Also, while Chris and I are partners in PiE, we often work on different projects, and so his days look nothing like mine. That being said, while there is no typical day for me, there are patterns of things I do often. Here’s a Thursday that is as typical as they come for me. I’ve changed some names and details to protect people’s privacy. Enjoy!

A Typical(ish) Thursday

7:20 I get myself out of bed and spend some time journalling (that’s how I pray) as I eat breakfast. Right now my journalling is inspired by reading through Acts as well as Joyce Rupp’s wonderful book The Cup of Our Life. 
8:25 I walk over to the Queen St. Commons to have a cup of tea with Josh before he heads to work. Josh expresses how discouraged he gets because he’s the only person under 30 in his church. At the same time, he finds it beautiful to be part of an older church-he has so many adopted grandparents! I listen to his story. That’s all he needs from me today.
9:15 I hop on a bus and head to Conrad Grebel. PiE has a desk there as a participant in the Centre for Peace Advancement’s Incubator program. The Incubator is filled with other folks who are running start-ups that are loosely connected to peacebuilding. Theatre of the Beat, Food Not Waste and Peace Camp are here, just to name a few. After checking in with my fellow incubatees, it’s time for some email. Yes even pastors in exile can’t get away from screens. I respond to some emails including one from Silver Lake Mennonite Camp. We’re planning an awesome retreat together called “Winter Camp for Grown-ups” (mark your calendars for March 4-6!).
Michelle P. and Jessie

Introducing PiE’s new volunteer Michelle Poon!

10:00 I spend some time checking in with Michelle, PiE’s wonderful new volunteer.
10:30 I go to the weekly coffee break with all the organizations that work out of the Centre for Peace Advancement. A conversation with Selda from the Intercultural Dialogue Institute leads to a plan to organize an event that will bring together local Mennonite and Muslim young adults.
CPA Friends

Coffee break with friends at the Centre for Peace Advancement

11:05 A Grebel student stops by my office. I’m helping her write her first sermon. She’ll preach in her congregation this Sunday. When she leaves I spend a few minutes finding a prayer for tonight’s bible study, then following up on some emails from our board of directors about a new opportunity PiE is exploring.
12:30 I start the long, snowy trek back to downtown kitchener for some downtime since I will be back at work in the evening. As I’m walking I run into one of the participants from Yella (the trip to Palestine/Israel that I helped to lead last spring) and we chat about how that experience continues to impact each of us.
5:15 Steve comes home and we make an early supper together.
6:00 I pull together tea, mugs, candles and extra bibles in a great big wicker basket and head to Uptown Waterloo, picking up two young adults on the way. It’s Feminist Bible Study time!
FBS Jan. 2016

Some wonderful folks from Feminist Bible Study

7:00 Participants start to trickle in. They make cups of tea and chat as they find their way into the circle of comfy chairs. There are women of all ages here, some who are active members of their churches, others who left their churches long ago, and others who have never been a part of a church. We share our names (the group is different every week) and then read a prayer together that uses female images and pronouns for God.  Next we open up the book of Luke and the leader for the evening tells us which story she would like us to explore. As we read together we ask questions about power and privilege and gender roles in the bible and in our world.
9:00 Bible study is over but participants stay to check in with each other and provide support. As 10 PM approaches the remaining bible studiers help me clean up, and we head home.
There you have it folks, a day in the life of a pastor in exile!
Laughter at FBS

By this point in the evening the conversation had digressed to a brief exploration of whether or not Jesus would have worn boxers.



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