We all model our lives on stories we’ve heard and the people who exist in those stories. There are, of course, the biblical accounts of God’s people and Jesus. But there are also stories closer to home. The stories of our parents, grandparents, or people we hear about often make a profound impact on who we are and what we work at becoming.
This series looks at some of those stories as told by people within out Canadian Mennonite Brethren church family.
Lorraine loves the church. The Mennonite Brethren church. This love was discovered on a mission assignment shortly after graduation from Bible school.
Born in Chilliwack, B.C., to Helen and Abe Dick, Lorraine’s roots are deep within that community. Her grandfather Jacob Bergen was one of the first lay ministers of the Chilliwack Mennonite Brethren Church (now Broadway MB).
Lorraine received her initial theological training at Prairie Bible Institute in Alberta, where she says she realized she was truly Mennonite Brethren, not Baptist. In her fourth year she wrote a paper on Mennonite Brethren mission. During the writing of that paper she began to develop a deep respect and appreciation for missions, in particular the Board of Missions and Services, as it was then called. At the urging of her pastor, she applied to serve with Mennonite Brethren Missions and spent three years in Brazil with a short-term mission program, The Good News Corps.
In Brazil, Lorraine worked with an indigenous Mennonite Brethren church in the Urano district of Curitiba. As she says, “I did everything in that church except preach.” She loved it.
Two things happened to Lorraine in Brazil that shaped the rest of her life. The first occurred one day as she was walking in a very poor district of the city. Walking amid the squalor, she realized she was happy. She realized she could be content wherever she was in life – even there.
The second thing that happened was she fell in love with the Mennonite Brethren church, its people, and its programs. She knew she wanted to continue working with the church the rest of her life. “I realized I was a Mennonite Brethren. It is who I am. I wanted to continue to work in the church and the conference.”
Upon returning from Brazil, she surprised even herself when she accepted the position of church secretary at Broadway MB Church in Chilliwack. Lorraine enjoyed the seven years she spent in a role she had never considered she might like.
During this time, pastor Bob Friesen encouraged her to consider further training at seminary. She moved to Fresno, California and in 1988 graduated from Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary with a master of divinity degree.
Following graduation she moved to Waterloo, Ont. to work in the church there. Then it was back to B.C., where she spent 12 years as pastor of Christian education at South Langley MB Church. There, she began to preach in addition to her many other duties. They were wonderful years and Lorraine especially appreciated the support and great working relationship with pastor Wes Dahl.
Her most recent position is interim pastor at Lendrum MB Church in Edmonton. Her term ends December 2008, and at this writing she has no clear leading for her next posting.
Lorraine’s ministry has been to serve within the church. However it was a mission assignment in Brazil that confirmed her love for the Mennonite Brethren church, both in North America and beyond.