Northern Spirit will be holding a second Celebration of Ministries service this year! Join us:
October 21, 2023, 4 p.m., at Kirk United Church Community Centre, 13535 122 Ave, Edmonton AB and via livestream on the Regional Council YouTube channel.
Myeongnam Park and Sungsoon Park will be ordained, and Linda Roberts will be recognized; we will also covenant with Regional staff member Adam Hall, Pastoral Relations minister. Regional Council chairperson Rev Helen Reed will offer the reflection, and we will share in communion together. Treats and coffee to follow the service.
Please note that the members of the former Affirming Task Group have decided to postpone the Affirming Celebration that was to have taken place at the same service until there is more capacity for planning a celebration that can include as many people in the Regional Council as possible.
Come celebrate with us!
Meet those we will be celebrating….
Linda Roberts, for Recognition as a Designated Lay Minister
for Recognition as a Designated Lay Minister
Hillcrest United Church, Fort Nelson, BC
Region: Northern Spirit Region
I was baptized, raised and confirmed in the United Church of Canada. My mother sent my brother and I to Sunday school at Westminster United in downtown Montreal where we lived. My parents did not attend church for personal reasons but my maternal grandmother, Alice Simon, in Gaspe, Quebec would turn out to be the first major influence on my faith journey. She would ask me to join her in the parlor where the pump organ was and to learn and sing hymns with her. My favorites were “What A Friend We Have in Jesus” and “Jesus Loves Me”. I was the only grandchild to be invited to do so. Every summer when we arrived in the Gaspe from Montreal, my grandmother would register me for Vacation Bible School. I had my first preaching experience at the age of 10 upon the completion of VBS as I had the loudest voice!
The church was my place of sanctuary, a place where I was wanted and loved. I always felt out of place in my life but not when I was in the loving embrace of God. I discovered later that God is everywhere but every Sunday I knew I would meet Jesus there and he would cradle me in his arms without asking anything of me. A love of give and take. My promise was to love as he loved me.
I pride myself on being honest, open, transparent and have a generosity of spirit, what you see is what you get. I know that people are attracted to me as they can easily speak to me and ask for guidance on their life situations. I speak with truth from the heart with the love of Christ guiding my answers. I believe everyone wants to be loved and heard.
I have had many mentors in my life that recognized my gifts before I did, Rev. Sharon Moon, Rev. Laurie McKnight-Walker, Rev. Marilyn Carroll and family members. I had originally discerned my call with Queen Street UC in Kingston, ON in 2007 in the previous process of discernment over 10 months choosing the Designated Lay Ministry path. I decided not to pursue the interview with the Bay of Quinte Presbytery as my daughter was entering university and needed my financial support. Being a single parent, I realized that I could not afford her education and mine at the same time.
So, fast forward to the inaugural Annual Meeting of the Northern Spirit Regional Council in Valleyview, Alberta in May 2019. I had completed the first three modules of the Licensed Lay Worship Leader and would be starting the fourth and final module. At break time, I had exited from the chapel and Rev. Marilyn looked at me and said “When are you going to stop running away from God?” I stopped in my tracks and she could tell from the look on my face that I knew exactly what she was talking about. She recommended I speak with Karen Medland, Office of Vocation Minister, who was in attendance and let me know what I would need to do to enter into the ministry program. The rest is history as I will be recognized as Designated Lay Minister in Edmonton on Oct. 21, 2023.
I am a proud mother of two amazing people, Jason & Samantha, who have been along for this journey with me. I could not have done this without their unwavering support. I honoured and proud to now be able to call myself a Minister – as a testament to my faith journey, my trust in God and in myself leading my congregation. I leave you with a piece of my writing:
A beacon coming down effervescent from God reminding us that we are not alone,
having insight just knowing that I believe in God, the Holy Spirit and Christ Jesus,
love is near to us and is to be shared with all of God’s creation.
More often we forget to live in respect with others and to serve while being
present and questioning the relevance of God in our lives,
remembering the church is the people of God.
Saving judgment to be decided by the Holy One,
allowing the Spirit to flow through our hearts, minds and souls.
Trust the feeling in your hearts and become united in your wisdom and
expressing Hope with your zeal by lifting our voices in praise
We are not alone.
Thanks be to God!
Myeongnam Park, for Ordination to the Ministry of Word, Sacrament, and Pastoral Care
for Ordination to the Ministry of Word, Sacrament, and Pastoral Care
Master of Theological Studies – Pastoral Studies for International Partners (St. Andrew’s College, 2020-2023)
Master of Divinity (Korea The Graduate School of Theology Hanshin University, 2015-2018)
Bachelor of Engineering (National Institute for Lifelong Education, Korea, 2012-2014)
Certification of the Information Processing Course (KwangWoon University Institute of Information Technology, Korea, 1991)
“the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.” – Genesis 2:7
This scripture is my confession of faith, my reason for living. I realize that everything I breathe and live for is by the grace of God, that this grace flows from my union with God, and that only in union with God can I truly breathe as a living person.
When I was afraid and hiding and avoiding God’s calling, God kept calling me with a soft but strong voice, and it was in obedience to that call that I began my path into theology.
Abraham, the father of the faith, who left his homeland, relatives, and father’s house to obey God’s leading, seems to describe me best as I leave South Korea for immigrant ministry and start a ministry here in Canada. Looking back, it seems like such a reckless endeavor, but it was an act of obedience than a challenge. In my last semester of seminary in Korea, I took a class on the missiology, and when the professor told me not only to stay in Korea, but to expand my ministry to other countries with a shortage of pastors, I began to pray, and here I am. And the United Church of Canada’s theology of inclusion and diversity has shaped my identity as a pastor. It is truly a blessing from God to have the opportunity to start a ministry in another country, another language, and another culture.
I’ve been using a quote I read as a tool to reflect on my identity as a pastor: ” The value of a pastor is the trust of his congregation, and their trust is demonstrated by the life of the pastor”. I try to be as close to the lives of my congregation as possible, so that we can have many opportunities to think about living the gospel together and encourage each other by sharing our lives.
Living in the love of God, following the Holy Spirit, and living out the compassion of Jesus Christ with our neighbors is the gospel life I dream of.
Sungsoon Park, for Ordination to the Ministry of Word, Sacrament, and Pastoral Care
for Ordination to the Ministry of Word, Sacrament, and Pastoral Care
I was born in a small town near Seoul, the capital of South Korea, and I spent my childhood growing up in Seoul. I received baptism during my junior high years. From that point on, I rarely missed a Sunday service. My college years marked a significant turning point in my faith journey as I became more aware of the oppression and injustice present in South Korea under the military government. The period when I was a college student, particularly in 1987, modern South Korea held immense historical importance. I became interested in practical faith.
I came to Canada in 2004 and, after a year, became a member of the Edmonton Korean United Church. During these, I actively participated in various roles within the church community. I served as the office secretary, the chair and secretary of the board. This experience allowed me to become familiar with the operations and governance of the United Church.
Between 2009 and 2018, I bought and managed a small convenience store in Willingdon, Alberta. Initially, I faced challenges due to my limited English proficiency and the differences in people’s thinking and lifestyles. However, as time passed, I gradually acclimated to their way of life and thought and became a part of the Canadian community.
My interest in teaching and working with youth has been a long-standing passion of mine. While I was involved in guiding youth worship and teaching the Bible, I became aware of my limited knowledge of the Bible. The more I delved into Bible study, the more captivated I became. I recognized a calling to share my mission and to pray with those who wished to understand Christianity, which led me to enter St. Andrews College in Saskatoon, where I pursued studies in Christian theology and engaged in the candidacy process within the United Church of Canada. I completed my studies and received my degree in May 2023. Throughout my academic journey, I was a student minister at First United Church in Fort McMurray as part of the Supervised Ministry Education (SME) program until April 2023.
Now, I am so glad to be ordained.
– Master of Divinity, St. Andrew College, Saskatoon, 2017- 2023
– Bachelor of Science, Electronics, Sogang University, Seoul, Korea 1986-1990