CMU is ‘a place where I was formed significantly,’ says Kevin Derksen
A Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) alumnus is preparing to return to campus as Pastor-in-Residence.
Kevin Derksen, a 2007 graduate who currently serves as pastor at St. Jacobs Mennonite Church (SJMC) in St. Jacobs, ON, will be on campus Monday, November 2 until Friday, November 6.
“CMU was a really good place for me. It was a perfect fit in terms of where I was at and what I needed,” Derksen says of his time as a student. “There’s something kind of novel about being able to bring what I do now to a place where I was formed significantly.”
Now in its sixth year, CMU’s Pastor-in-Residence program is designed to encourage out-of-province pastors to live in residence and participate in the life of the CMU community.
The Pastor-in-Residence provides spiritual care in various ways, including speaking in chapel sessions, visiting classrooms, participating in lunch-hour discussions for students interested in vocational ministry, and informal conversations throughout the week.
“It’s an exciting partnership between CMU and our supporting churches,” says Melanie Unger, Spiritual Life Facilitator on campus. “We’re looking forward to the many ways Kevin will speak into our life at CMU!”
Derksen, who graduated with an Honours BA in Biblical and Theological Studies, says he didn’t know he was going to be a pastor while studying at CMU.
At the same time, it was during the practicum each CMU student must complete that Derksen realized he had pastoral gifts.
In consultation with Director of Practica Werner Kliewer, Derksen chose to spend the summer of 2007 in Toronto doing an internship at Toronto United Mennonite Church.
“It was a good experience—tough in some ways, but good,” Derksen says. “It was there that I realized pastoral work is something I could do reasonably well.”
While finishing his Master of Arts in Western Religious Thought at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON in 2009, Derksen and his wife, Pam, decided he should get a job so that she could pursue some of her vocational interests.
Derksen came across the posting at SJMC and applied.
“It was a bit of a ‘follow your nose’ situation,” he says. “It wasn’t me deciding to be a pastor and then looking for a job. It was certainly that particular church and that particular job that appealed to me.”
Today, Derksen is part of a three-person pastoral team at SJMC, where he enjoys preaching, worship planning, and “negotiating the ongoing challenges of Christian community.”
In addition to his work at the church, Derksen chairs the Congregational Ministries Council for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada and sits on the editorial council of Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology.
Derksen and his wife both grew up in Winnipeg in the Mennonite Brethren church. They currently live in the village of St. Jacobs with their three young children.
When he isn’t supervising the craft-corner and walking to the playground, Derksen enjoys softball, gardening, and reading.
He looks forward to his visit as Pastor-in-Residence.
“It will be nice to come around full circle to CMU with this life we’ve been living elsewhere,” he says.
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.
For information about CMU visit cmu.ca.
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Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB R3P 2N2