Since January 2017, four members of the Martin Luther Church congregation are being trained as lay preachers:
Friedrich Brunzema, Tanya Zielke, Iris Schweiger and Katja Brittain, whose interview follows below.
1) How long have you been coming to the MLC?
Katja: Since Sept. 2015; as long as I’ve been living in Toronto.
2) What do you like best about the MLC?
Katja: The sense of community in being able to worship together with other German people; the Sermon and its part in the worship service.
3) What prompted you to become a lay preacher and how long did it take to make up your mind?
Katja: There actually were multiple catalysts: for one Pastor Ceconi asked me; then the opportunity to lend my skills to the MLC; moreover, I believe that Luther’s “priesthood of all believers “ can be lived in this way.
I see it as my way of giving of myself to our Church Family.
4) What was the biggest challenge (what was most difficult to cope with) during the training seminar?
Katja: Sermon writing in particular is not an activity that I can simply do from the top of my head. I need some time to get acquainted with the Bible texts and then bit by bit, I write the sermon text in several versions. Moreover, I often spend some hours, at the library of the University of Toronto searching for answers to some contextual questions that I myself may have…
5) Ten years ago, could you have imagined yourself today standing in front of a congregation as a lay preacher?
Katja: Yes. Quite
6) What was the hardest part of your first sermon?
Katja: Taking the necessary time to prepare it.
7) What abilities do you value most in your three colleagues?
Katja: All four of us are so different and have come together from very divergent backgrounds and life experiences. Learning the theological content while also experiencing how we approach these processes so differently is lots of fun. Just this experience alone makes it all worthwhileThis is the only reason why the effort is worthwhile.
8) What is your favourite Bible verse and why?
Katja: May I quote two?
But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, to tell of all your works. Psalm 73:28 (NRSV)
(We once had a pastor in our parish, who used this verse all the time, and before we knew it, it had become a stock-in-trade saying in our family.
And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.
1.Corinthians 3:1 (NRSV).
(This happened to be my parents’ wedding verse, and my mother once suggested it when I desperately needed a verse for an ad hoc blessing at a baptism where I was a godmother. Since, then it has guided me).
9) What is your greatest wish for the MLC community in this 500th anniversary year of the Reformation?
Sorry, but I really don’t know what to make of this anniversary. It is astonishing how much it is being commercially exploited in Germany. In some ways, I am shocked. For example, I even heard, of some socks that were labeled with the famous Luther quote: here I stand I cannot do otherwise! Furthermore, this presumably “Made in China” product was totally overpriced…
To read about Iris Schweiger, in part one of the series ( MLC interviews: (1) Lay Preacher Iris Schweiger) click here.
To read about Friedrich Brunzema, in part two of the series (MLC interview: (2) Lay Preacher Friedrich Brunzema) click here.