‘I’m looking forward to hearing people’s stories,’ Lethbridge pastor says
Ryan Dueck, pastor at Lethbridge Mennonite Church in Lethbridge, AB, will visit Canadian Mennonite University as Pastor-in-Residence from Monday, November 3 to Friday, November 7.
Dueck is eager to connect with CMU students.
“Young adulthood is a really… interesting phase of life where so much is up for grabs,” he says. “It’s pretty cool to have even a small window into people’s lives.”
Now in its fifth year, CMU’s Pastor-in-Residence program is designed to encourage out-of-province pastors to live in residence, participate in the life of the CMU community, and share their faith experiences in a variety of settings including CMU chapel sessions.
“The goal has always been to have the pastor come and serve in our community so that our students, staff, and faculty are cared for by an outside person,” says Melanie Unger, Spiritual Life Facilitator at CMU, adding that hopefully, the week is refreshing for the visiting pastor as well. “It’s about building relationships with our church constituency.”
Dueck has been the pastor at Lethbridge Mennonite Church since 2011. Prior to that, he served for three years as associate pastor at Neighbourhood Church, a Mennonite Brethren congregation in Nanaimo, BC.
Dueck grew up on a farm in southern Alberta and says he never imagined that he would become a pastor. After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Philosophy at the University of Lethbridge and then a Master of Christian Studies from Regent College in Vancouver, he thought he might pursue further studies.
A handful of people close to Dueck encouraged him to work in the church. Dueck recalls a conversation with his thesis advisor at Regent during which he shared that he wasn’t impressed with some of the pastors he had encountered growing up.
“Maybe your job is to be the pastor you wish you had,” Dueck’s thesis advisor suggested.
Afterward, Dueck decided to pursue ministry. Given his passion for academia, he says he is naturally drawn to the cerebral aspects of being a minister, such as researching, writing, and preparing sermons.
Over the past six years, however, he has come to appreciate simply being able to hear and be a part of people’s stories.
“As a pastor, you’re invited into some of the most frightening and most holy moments of people’s lives, and that’s an honour I didn’t fully appreciate until I became a pastor,” he says.
Since 2007, Dueck has maintained a blog called “Rumblings.” The blog includes reflection and conversation about various topics related to the intersection of faith and culture.
Dueck is married to Naomi, and the couple has 13-year-old twins. When he isn’t working or spending time with his family, Dueck enjoys playing soccer, hockey, and riding his motorcycle in the mountains.
He is anticipating meaningful conversations during his week at CMU.
“As human beings, we learn and grow when we have an opportunity to have our stories rub off on each other a little bit,” Dueck says. “I’m looking forward to hearing people’s stories.”
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences and social sciences, and graduate degrees in Theology and Ministry. CMU has over 1,600 students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury Campus and in its Menno Simons College and Outtatown programs.
For information about CMU, visit: www.cmu.ca.
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