Faith News Niagara presents another installment of "5 Questions", the continuing segment where readers can get to know the local ministers of the region a little better.
What is your name, the name of your church or ministry, and the length of time you’ve been at that ministry.
Louise Wideman, Lead Pastor, Vineland United Mennonite Church. I've been there for 13 months (as of the interview date, Nov. 2015).
What is your favourite pastime: reading, sports, outdoors, etc.
I love to sing. I actually sing with Chorus Niagara right now. I love to entertain. I love people at my house, I like to play games, and I love to cook.
What is your favourite all-time or current Bible book, story, passage, scripture; or extra-Biblical book.
I really like Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. That is an incredible book. I also enjoy Anne Lamott’s Travelling Mercies. Or Barbara Brown Taylor. She has many wonderful books.
Ann is a sister in law to my best friend. Ann married a guy just down the road from where I grew up on a farm near Atwood, Ontario! Her ability to craft images and thoughts, and be real, that's what I really like about her... she's real. I really like Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. That is an incredible book. I also enjoy Anne Lamott and Barbara Brown Taylor. They take the ordinary and make it extraordinary.
Briefly describe the series of events that brought you to your church, your current role, and ministry in general.
As a girl, I never imagined myself being a pastor. But, my high school principal said that I should think about going to seminary or college. The Dean of students said also said so. But I said, no way. Anyway, I ended up going to seminary and it wasn't without lots of fear about swimming upstream. There weren't many women in leadership. However, I felt God was really calling me to pursue pastoral ministry.
When I graduated from seminary in Indiana, I wanted to come to Ontario, but there weren't any Mennonite Churches available. I ended up going somewhere far. It was a 21 hour drive. I didn't know anybody! It was a leap of faith.
Then when it felt like it was time to move, there weren’t churches in Ontario again. I ended up in Ohio. I was there for 12 years. And then this church in Vineland open up. I was ready to the border, to come back after 28 years. They never had a woman named Pastor before, and I had never been in that role before. but it felt right to them and it felt right to me. So I came. And it's been a good experience.
Briefly describe how you met Jesus.
I went to church all my life. My parents were Christians. They happened to be an evangelist that came to our church. I made of faith commitment along with others on Saturday evening, and was baptized. That was my initial faith commitment, but I feel that through life, it's not just a one time deal. One is meeting Jesus all through life. And if your relationship changes and grows deeper. And so I need to Jesus in different ways every week.
In some ways, when you grow up in the church, they can almost be an inherited thing. But I feel like the older I get, and the more encounters I have with people, and other life situations, the more I continue to own my faith, and the more I continue in my understanding of who Jesus is in my life Yeah, it's not just a one time ‘okay, once saved always saved’. It's a growing relationship.