ABBA MINISTRIES OF CANADA
OUR GUIDING VALUES:
Historic and Creedal:
We honour, embrace, and remain rooted to the historic Christian creeds as reflected in both the Nicene and Apostle's creeds.
Priestly and Prophetic:
We value the role of the prophet who engages in a perpetual and creative struggle with social constructs that marginalize and exclude, and the priest who engages in liturgy, the ministry of sacraments, along with leadership and administration.
Relevant and Mystical:
We value the tension between the mystical work of the Spirit, the transcendent source of God's Word and the relevant, imminent implications of this work and this Word in our lives, personally, and in our world.
Evangelical and Liberal:
We value the tension created between Liberal and Evangelical Christianity. We accept and engage without denunciation all forms of knowledge and scholarship with gracious and humble spirits, while maintaining clear convictions regarding the deity of Christ, the authority of scripture, and God's redemptive plan for humankind.
Grace and Truth:
Accepting that we all are prone to both error and sin, we seek to look directly and unflinchingly upon the human condition with grace, art, humour and truthfulness.
[Special thanks to Rev. Steve Yeo]
CORE COMPETENCIES FOR ABBA CLERGY
The general areas of core competencies for Abba clergy in meeting the needs of people we serve:
|Sense of Call and Motivation for Ministry;||Extending Christ's Call to Others;|
|Personal and Spiritual Maturity;||Social Concern and Social Justice;|
|Pastoral Care;||Celebrations of Sacraments and Worship;|
|Personal and Interpersonal Skills;||Leadership Skills;|
|Confidentiality, Reporting and Documentation Management.||Personal Code of Ethics|
Sense of Call and Motivation for Ministry
- Discern and respond to the call of the Holy Spirit to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Exhibit a spirit of discipleship in ministerial service;
- Have a commitment to Christ that is strong enough to withstand trials, obstacles, discouragement and disappointment;
- Possess the abilities, spiritual sensibilities and emotional stability necessary for some form of gospel ministry;
- Competent to carry out pastoral duties in a manner that will be pleasing to the Lord;
- Reflect commitment to the Gospel through regular prayer, ongoing study and theological reflection, action on behalf of justice, and fulfillment of ministerial responsibilities.
- Dedicated to serious study and reflection to support the practice and understanding of Christian principles that is held in good conscience;
- Knowledge of scripture and/or tradition as a resource for worship, social justice, evangelization, and theological reflection;
- Engage in personal, life-long faith formation and continuing education.
- Accept and articulate one's ministerial vocation as coming from God and confirmed by the ecclesial community;
- Discern and address current realities in the Church and the world in light of the Gospel.
Extending Christ's Call to Others
- Take seriously the role of extending Christ's call to others and bring others into the Christian faith: this could involve and one or more of the following forms of outreach: preaching, visitation, fellowship groups, distribution of literature, various forms of communications, the Internet, etcetera.
Personal and Spiritual Maturity
- Ability to draw from and reflect upon one's personal experience of faith, spirituality, theology and religion;
- Possess integrity and ethical principals, compassion and dedication;
- Aware of personal gifts and challenges through self-reflection and/or an exchange of observations with fellow Christians;
- Ability to lead personal, interpersonal and group prayer within various Christian faith traditions;
- Ability to develop and implement ritual/prayer/worship opportunities with individuals, in small group settings, and/or large crowds;
- Particular ministerial competencies;
- Willingness to care for and support individuals, families and Christ's flock;
- Conscious of fostering ministerial goals that are integrated with Gospel values;
- Exhibit personal maturity through a balanced lifestyle, a positive self-image, appropriate relationships, and working independently;
- Possess a spiritual maturity formed in theological reflection, based on Gospel values, and nurtured in prayer.
- View God, the community of Christian believers, and the world in a holistic manner and engage in worship and social justice.
- Set responsible boundaries and maintain a support system in order to balance ministry, community, family, and personal and pastoral relationships;
- Model ecclesial ministry and leadership on the example of Jesus
Social Concern and Social Justice
- Fostering the connection between spirituality and social action.
- Like the prophet Amos, Christians and Abba clergy need not shrink from matters of right and wrong in government or any other bureaucracy or institution, whether secular or religious. Without involving the church in politics, one can express one's individual convictions on public morality and ethics in the political arena, even if they do not agree with those of our brothers or sisters in Christ. In a democratic society, citizens have the responsibility of influencing public policy through federal, provincial, and municipal legislators they elect. Accordingly in a democracy, our various levels of government are not 'they'; our government is 'we'.
- Concern in building a community of disciples engaged in the transformation of society [by incorporating the dimensions of evangelization, faith formation, worship, community, justice, and service within pastoral activities].
- Be ready to respond in any area of life to provide spiritual guidance and pastoral care as well as offering Christian friendship and support, especially in case of sickness, family problems, death of loved ones, or times of special joy;
- Engage in pastoral activity that promotes evangelization, faith formation, community, and pastoral care with sensitivity to diverse situations.
- Be able to effectively communicate the importance of spirituality and the practice of faith in aspects of daily living, using the scripture, traditions, and rituals of the Christian faith community;
- Be able to communicate and sustain an appropriate level of concern, and messages of hope and caring;
- Listens with empathy and solidarity in the spirit of Gospel values;
- Be an effective listener who fosters respect and compassionate care within diverse family, community, and cultural settings in the spirit of Gospel values;
- Be able to care enough about other people to lay aside own concerns, when necessary, in order to deal with theirs;
- Be aware of appropriate pastoral interactions with individuals and Christ's flock;
- Understand that separation from God, immorality, and addiction erodes and blocks faith and spiritual development;
- Respond to persons-at-risk through pastoral care and prevention;
- Recognize the signs of need for professional help and intervention in an individual; be of knowledgeable available community resources that can provide assistance outside the spiritual and pastoral realm;
- Be aware of the importance of professional help and intervention for addicted persons, family violence (physical, emotional, and verbal), abuse (children, elders, spousal), marital conflict, deep grief, suicide, hospitalization, or encounters with the criminal justice system, etcetera;
- Know the signs of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse and adhering to civil and ecclesial procedures for reporting abuse;
- Develop ways to respond to community crises in collaboration with other ministers and community resources;
- Integrate a family perspective and greater understanding of the diversity of family structures in ministry.
Celebrations of Sacraments and Worship
- Be at ease in promoting celebrations of sacraments and all significant life-moments of individuals, groups, and cultures;
- Give witness to an integrated spirituality formed by scripture, theological refection, prayer, and worship; Nurture and build up the spiritual life of a community or communities of believers;
- Understand the core elements of a worship service, and an ability to plan in worship;
- Recognition of diversity within worship settings, and an ability to structure meaningful responses to diverse worship needs [e. g. dedication service, baptism, wedding ceremony, funeral service, children's time, use of silence, use of drama, etcetera].
- Understand and appreciate the gifts diverse cultures bring to the faith community;
- Promote opportunities for dialogue, prayer, and actions for justice with others in ecumenical contexts;
- Work toward inclusion of persons with disabilities.
Personal and Interpersonal Skills
- Relate respectfully with a diversity of persons, age groups, and cultures.
- Be able to utilize one's life story and personality in creative and meaningful ways in relationships with others;
- Be able to engage others in conversation about their faith and faith development including being able to share prayerfully together;
- Knowledge and skill in the areas of active listening, pastoral counselling, and conflict resolution;
- Be able to make one clearly understood when one speaks;
- Be able to speak publicly, teach and facilitate spiritual grow ministry;
- Awareness of and the ability to fulfill personal growth needs and care for self.
- Be able to take the initiative and a leadership role;
- Be able to effectively utilize one's personal and role authorities to enhance quality spiritual life for others;
- Utilize leadership skills in ministry, including visioning, planning, communication, decision-making, delegation, and conflict management;
- Empower others to develop and articulate their own personal faith in Christ and to identify and utilize their unique gifts;
- Be able to collaborate with others in ways that maximize and value each person's contributions.
Confidentiality, Reporting and Documentation Management
- Knowledge of appropriate and confidential documentation;
- Be ready to use reporting tools for accountability;
- Possess the acumen to evaluate personal practice and ministry effectiveness.
Personal Code of Ethics - food for thought
- Having accepted God's call to leadership in Christ's Church, I covent with God to serve Christ and the Church with God's help, to deepen my obedience to the two Great Commandments to love the Lord our God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love my neighbour as myself.
- I will show my personal love for God as revealed in Christ in my life and ministry.
- I will maintain a disciplined ministry in such ways as keeping hours of prayer and devotion, endeavouring to maintain wholesome family relationships, financial responsibility, regularly engaging in educational and recreational activities for professional and personal development.
- I will support individuals within the sphere of my ministry who experience discrimination on the basis of gender, race, age, marital status, national origin, physical impairment, or disability.
- I will hold in confidence any priviledged communication received by me during the conduct of my ministry. I will not disclose confidential communications in private or public except when in my practice of ministry I am convinced that the sanctity of confidentiality is outweighed by my well-founded belief that the parishioner or client will cause imminent, life-threatening, or substantial harm to self or others, or unless the privilege is waived by those giving the information.
[Special thanks to Rev. Josephine Egan]
JOIN ABBA MINISTRIES OF CANADA:
Women and men whom the Holy Spirit is calling to ordained ministry in Canada are encouraged to contact our national office for an application package.
Abba Ministries of Canada
2 Auburn Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3R 1K4, Canada
Email: ABBA MINISTRIES OF CANADA
A Brief History
Abba Ministries of Canada and its precedents have been in continuous existence since 1978. The formation of our denomination followed the traditional pattern of establishment: a pattern that is as old as Christianity itself, and well documented in St. Paul's letters.
In the beginning, a group of people came together to worship the Lord.
In February of 1978, a Mr. Donald Smiley sponsored a halfway house in St. Catherines, Ontario. The facility was designated for both male and female residents. Smiley prayed, and the Spirit offered guidance, and by early March of '78 the facility was thriving with 18 to 22 people in residence at any one time.
There were many miracles. The Lord provided food for the communal meal on one occasion after 18 people had concluded 'grace' while the cupboards and refrigerator were as bare as Mother Hubbard's. Transport was donated, heating bills paid. And there were many individual healings.
As time passed, folk would often us WHY? Why were necessities provided? Why did we do the work that we did? This presented the group with the opportunity to tell people about Jesus and His ministry; to share our faith in God, our love for our Saviour, and the knowledge that He loves us all. These times grew into impromptu bible studies and times of worship and praise.
More and more people came into contact with the St. Catherines core group and this led to the formation of other churches and various outreach ministries. Questions were asked about 'status' and 'tax receipts' for charitable donations and this led the founding members to explore the possibility of denominational status here in Canada.
The recognition of our Abba Ministries of Canada by the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency as a Federal charity led to its incorporation in 1998. Denominational status was granted to us by Ontario shortly thereafter. British Columbia followed in 2002, then Nova Scotia in 2003.
Those who have joined Abba Ministries of Canada come from diverse backgrounds but all share a common passion for the Lord. It is Abba's goal wherever possible to strive to work with other ministries and denominations, as a community of faith, to stand together in reaching out to all segments of the community to help serve those we can as best we can. For those of us within Abba, the critical word is 'service': just as our Lord served, so must we, and as Jesus reached out to all without exception with His teaching, healings and program of open commensality then so must we reach out.
At the beginning of 2005 Abba Ministries of Canada is Spirit led on a path that will lead us to become more professional, more inclusive and absolutely dedicated to the deceptively simple program of Jesus of Nazareth: love Almighty God with all your heart and love your neighbour as yourself. Please join us in prayer and meditation so that Abba Ministries of Canada can continue to grow from its humble beginnings, beyond the three provinces it touches today, to cover Canada countrywide from the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts and then beyond. Join us and become true disciples of Jesus of Nazareth.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This is my command: Love each other.
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues [or languages], and to still another the interpretation of tongues [or languages]. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love. I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
At a time when Silence is Unacceptable...
Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel says there is a time to take sides. "Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
[Contributed by Rev. Steve Yeo]
BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS;