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Rooted Growing Branching

Margaret Nally is licensed

Margaret Nally was licensed on Jan 15, 2017 by Mennonite Church Eastern Canada for Community Ministry .  Below are photos and many of the things that were said during the service. Happily, Dave Rogalsky from the Canadian Mennonite was present to record the event and shared these first photos with us.   Click on any photo for a larger version.


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Children’s time.


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Special music.


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Song Leading.


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The scripture reading.


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Stephanie and Joe Mancini giving the message.


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A poem written for the event, based on the Beatitudes, by Ruthi Knight.

A Blessing for the Streets
we send and
we are sent,
outside these walls
where so many walk,
alone, together
on this holy unholy ground.
where there is so much to
learn outside of books
and so much to respect
beyond these titles.
outside these walls
where so many gather
to share stories and laughter
and a bottle or two
where who you know and
who’s your brother
creates bonds beyond blood,
a network not online.
outside these walls
where shelter is scarce and
souls hunger for more than
bread alone.
where line-ups and checkboxes
fill the empty spaces
from pay cheque to yet
another waiting room.
outside these walls
in the spaces between what
is known and seen, there is a
deeper knowing,
another face to these streets.
this is holy unholy ground,
some remove their shoes,
others utter divine speech
kneeling by the way to pray
their words unintelligible
on the sidewalks edge
as many pass on by.
blessed are the ones who walk,
who walk this road
alone, together,
with the many
silent voices.
blessed are the ones who
dance in traffic,
the drummers
with their primal beat,
the tired weary wanderers.
blessed are the mothers
scraping dollars,
mourning yet another little one in
a home away from home.  
blessed are those who mourn,
who pour one out for a fallen
brother as tears mingle
with memories shared.
blessed are those who hunger and thirst,
for justice,
for bread,
for a place at the table.
blessed are the peacemakers,
the wayfarers,
the left behind,
out of line,
those lost in these changing times.
blessed are the children,
the sons and daughters,
fathers, mothers,
those outside these gendered lines.
blessed are the first nations,
the ones who’ve fled,
the ones who’ve been taken.
bless the healing of the
seven generations.
blessed are the street corners,
with their preachers and sex workers,
those with hands held out
for just a little more.
blessed are the wild ones,
the sad-eyed,
the vacant ones.
the ones with beds
and those with nowhere
to lay their head.
blessed are the fragrant,
the terrified,
the institutionalized.
the beautiful ones,
the creative
and the dreamy-eyed.
blessed are those who nod,
who beg for more,
whose bags are full and always packed,
those who search for dimes in cracks.
blessed are the comforters,
the accompaniers,
the daily walking side by side,
the holy loiterers.
blessed are the friendship circles,
the new homes,
the centres working for change,
choosing hope instead of fear.
blessed are the survivors,
the strong ones,
those who brave each day,
fleeing trauma’s haunting ghosts.
blessed are the safe spaces,
community places,
the lives remembered,
the meals shared,
blessed are those who reach out.
blessed are the cries in the night,
the whispered smoky prayers,
the needle’s piercing search
for hope
this is holy unholy ground
that we walk together,
side by side,
knowing that we do not
walk alone.
knowing that the One who
walks before us,
walks beside us on these
cracked sidewalk stones.
the body and bread, shared and broken
at St. John’s Kitchen,
the blood and wine poured out
on city streets
the hands held in silent vigil
at Mary’s Place,
the doors opened in welcome
at the many Menno Homes.
outside these walls,
we all are walking
this holy unholy ground,
we all are sent, to love,
beyond this shelter.
beautiful are the feet of those
who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who walk together on these city streets.


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Jim speaking on behalf of the congregation.


Introduction by Jim Erb, Chair of Church Ministry Council at Erb Street.

Over the past number of years, members of K-W House Church, Erb Street Mennonite Church and Mennonite Church Eastern Canada have been in conversation with Margaret about the ministry she has so generously shared with the Kitchener Waterloo community for over 20 years, and how we might affirm her work so she would sense our prayerful support for her continuing presence in settings where love, respect and support are needed for those who live on the margins in our community.  These conversations have brought us here today. As members of the various communities where she ministers, we gather to more formally affirm Margaret’s ministry. In addition to Henry Paetkau representing Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, we welcome Stephanie and Joe Mancini from The Working Centre, Barbara Hankins of KW House Church and Cathy Middleton who is director of Women’s Services for the YWCA.

In the process leading up to licensing, I would like to share with you some of Margaret’s thoughts that were part of the conversation with the credentialing committee of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada where I was present to represent Erb Street congregation.   In Margaret’s words, “I have always been deeply connected to the gospel of peace and justice and have acted out of that conviction. I believe it is an imperative of our baptism that we engage with those who are experiencing loss, injustice and war, and thereby to be agents of hope, healing and restoration. I believe our youth and young adults look to us to model a life lived on the principles that Jesus lived and died for. It is important to have an attitude of non-judgment, inclusion and hospitality to those who are questioning, challenging or fearful.”

It is with these words and convictions shared by Margaret, that we as a congregation have encouraged and supported her desire for licensing that will eventually lead to ordination. Margaret’s experiences in community ministry and her presence in this congregation will permit her to be a voice to us by sharing what she sees and bears witness to, so we too are committed to the gospel of peace and justice that is lived out in our daily lives and becomes part of our ministry here as a congregation.


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Barbara Hankins speaking on behalf of the House Church.


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Margaret addressing the assembly.


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The commissioning by Henry.


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The crowd of witnesses and supporters.



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Margaret’s daughter Aoife sang Be Thou My Vision…


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…with her dad Bob on the tin flute.


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Marion captured a number of photos of our traditional Welcoming Line after the service.