Building blocks to Christian fellowship

 — Dec. 24, 201024 déc. 2010

Building blocks to Christian fellowship;
Fostering a spirit of unity among Christian ministers

According to Pastor Harry Strauss, the Saskatoon Evangelical Ministers Fellowship (SEMF) intention is to build up fellowship among its members and within the wider community.

Strauss is an associate pastor at Forest Grove Community Church and chair of SEMF which is an association and fellowship of pastors and leaders from about 40 evangelical churches in the city. It also includes representatives from a dozen or so para-church organizations like Youth for Christ, Power to Change, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Christian Counselling Services.

SEMF has been operating for many years as an organization that sees its membership constantly changing.

“The heart of our mission is to foster a spirit of unity among Christian ministers and ministries in the city,” Strauss says.

The group meets monthly, and in recent years has become involved in a number of interesting initiatives.

One is the annual Bus Prayer Tour.

“This year, 30 of us got on a city bus and for three and a half hours, toured the North Saskatoon Business District. We stopped at 10 businesses to pray. The business leaders came out, got on the bus, told us about their operation, and shared their prayer requests. We prayed with them and blessed them,” Strauss says. “It was pre-arranged. They knew we were coming, and we were very well-received.”

An interesting dynamic to this event was that Lorna Dueck from Listen-Up TV had heard about the initiative and sent a reporter and cameraperson along to document the tour. Dueck plans to use footage from the tour on an upcoming show on Saskatchewan and the province’s current prosperity.

Strauss says the reasoning behind the prayer tour to north-end businesses was to encourage and bless Christ-centred people there. “There are 3,000 businesses in that area. That represents 30,000 jobs and a market place that is full of outstanding leaders who have gifts to contribute to the Kingdom of God in our community. We wanted to pray for that area and bless the leaders who really are providing the economic engine for Saskatoon.”

Last year, SEMF’s Bus Prayer Tour went to the University of Saskatchewan campus.

“We spent three hours on the bus and were joined by university personnel, Christian ministry leaders, U of S administration representatives, and students. We listened to their concerns and prayed for the U of S.”

Two years ago, SEMF members did a ‘Light on 20th Street’ tour.

“For many of us, that was a ‘revival-type’ experience,” Strauss says. “We stopped at various places on 20th Street, prayed for the ministries there, and celebrated the work being done. It was a very positive experience from all perspectives. We ended up at The Bridge where we had lunch. For many ministers, it was their first time to be there and see the work being done.

“SEMF is primarily a fellowship, but as a group, we are dedicated to reaching out,” he goes on. “The heartbeat of the people in SEMF is asking: What can we do to support existing programs like the Friendship Inn? the Bridge? the City Centre initiative? We have put our name to the Station 20 West project because really positive things are happening there.”

Another area of SEMF’s outreach has been inviting business people and marketplace leaders to specific SEMF events to affirm and bless the leaders.

“We have done and will continue to focus on civic leaders,” Strauss says. “We try to get the mayor to come in at least once a year. Last year we invited all the city councillors to a luncheon. We had the tables set up so that each councillor was seated with ministers from their ward.

“Our purpose is to try and bridge who we are spiritually with our city leaders.”

Strauss believes SEMF plays a crucial role in the life of the community.

“We feel we provide a collective witness to the city,” he says. “We don’t want to have a competitive spirit. We want to be a complement, where we can join hands wherever there is a ministry and witness to Jesus Christ.”

This past October, SEMF invited the new Catholic Bishop, Rev. Don Bolen, to come and speak.

“Don comes from a background of serving on an ecumenical team in Rome for several years,” Strauss says. “He is very open and receptive to connecting with evangelicals, and he was extremely well received by SEMF members.”

Posted: Dec. 24, 2010 • Permanent link:
Categories: Evangelical-Roman Catholic Dialogue, NewsIn this article: Christian unity, ecumenism, Evangelicals, Saskatoon
Transmis : 24 déc. 2010 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : Evangelical-Roman Catholic Dialogue, NewsDans cet article : Christian unity, ecumenism, Evangelicals, Saskatoon

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