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New Denominational Minister announced

   
 


Karen Martens Zimmerly

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April 11, 2008
-Deborah Froese

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Karen Martens Zimmerly has been appointed to the position of Denominational Minister with Mennonite Church Canada.  She brings to this role the wisdom and experience of over 20 years of ministry.

A Saskatchewan native, Martens Zimmerly grew up in what she describes as the active, vibrant congregation of Fiske Mennonite where everyone was encouraged to play a role in church life.  “I was always involved.  I preached my first sermon at 17.”  Still, she says that entering ministry was not a conscious goal at the time.  She received her Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan and taught middle grades for three years before entering theological studies at  Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. 

Throughout her ministry, Martens Zimmerly has co-pastored with her husband, Terry, spending five years at West Abbotsford Mennonite Church and almost 16 years with their current congregation, Grace Mennonite Church in Regina.  Sharing a ministry allowed them to respond to their calling and to care for their growing sons, now aged 16, 18, and 20.  “It was wonderful for family life,” she says.

Walking with families or individuals through both celebration and challenge, mentoring individuals and working with church leaders at every level to realize the mission of God's church bring her personal satisfaction. “The most rewarding aspect of ministry for me is relationships with people and seeing God at work.”

Although Martens Zimmerly is looking forward to her new role, leaving Grace Mennonite Church won’t be easy.   She and her husband will be saying farewell to a congregation they dearly love.  Although she says sharing the news of her appointment with them was an emotional experience, she received strong affirmation for her decision.

Peter Neufeldt is congregational chair at Grace Mennonite Church. “We’re pleased for Karen and for Mennonite Church Canada. Karen has some real gifts. She and Terry [also] have very complementary gifts and it has been a real treat to have them as spiritual leaders in our congregation for 16 years. We’re sad to lose them, but at the same time pleased for them and this opportunity for their careers and for MC Canada. We wish everyone involved God’s blessings.”

Dave Bergen, Executive Secretary of Christian Formation agrees.  “[Karen] brings a churchly wisdom gained through significant participation in area church re-visioning processes and a passion for growing a church whose leaders are attuned to and prepared for leadership in the challenging cultural environment of the 21st century.” Bergen added that he is grateful to Grace Mennonite Church for releasing and blessing Martens Zimmerly for her new role.