When I first entered the Artizo program, I had three primary goals in mind: to gain experience in preaching, to become more familiar with the duties and dynamics of Church ministry, and to discern
whether entry into the Anglican clergy would be an appropriate response to God’s call over my life.
After a year and a half in Artizo, I can, praise God, look back and see that those goals have in large measure borne fruit.

With respect to preaching: I have grown in my confidence to proclaim the gospel of Christ to his people as I encounter him in Scripture, such that I look forward to the times when I have the privilege to do so. It has been a tremendous blessing to see that the disciplined theological study which I undertook at Regent can be used to glorify God, and to edify his Church. This came about not only through the opportunities afforded me by Artizo at various preaching engagements in the Lower Mainland, but also through the helpful critiques of parishioners, various clergy, and Aaron Roberts in particular. Regent honed my ability to read Scripture, Artizo honed my ability to publicly exposit it (with much work still to go!). With respect to the broader duties of ministry: I have been blessed by a variety of occasions to serve others, whether through the aforementioned preaching, through Sunday school with children, cooking and coordinating meals for the young adults at St. John’s Vancouver, leading worship services, or visiting and assisting infirm members of the congregation. A central concern which I had, as my wife and I began to consider ordination, was that I was not “pastoral” enough in my temperament and affections, particularly after so much time spent in the academy. While I must confess that I still see a great need for growth in this area, I have learned that God can use me in my weakness, and that his Holy Spirit can transform me and strengthen me in the inner man. Looking back on even the last five years of my life, it is remarkable to see the ways in which I am developing social tact and awareness, but above all the ways in which I am growing in a love for people which is grounded in Christ’s love for people. Christ called me to follow him, and Artizo has given me a context in which that is increasingly becoming a reality. With respect to ordination: my time in Artizo has demonstrated to me that there are ways in which I have been given gifts suited to formal ordained ministry, and has helped to serve as a component of my ongoing discernment process. Based upon this realization, along with an awareness of the need for the next generation in the Church to begin faithfully passing on the Gospel which it has received, this year I formally entered into ordination discernment with ANiC. Given the financial insecurity of the positions available within ANiC, my wife and I are also in the process of starting a
small bakery, as something of a “tent-making” endeavour, should the situation require it. Within all of this, despite the uncertainty, my wife and I look forward to seeing where God might ask us to serve him. For his goodness, his faithfulness, and his steadfast love are always with us.

Joel Strecker