May 16, 2004

Hildegarde Lemke - “My Lessons from Away”

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Hildegard Lemke spoke on "Lessons from away". (To Newfoundlanders, anyone who is not from "the Island" is from 'away'). For Hildegard, 'away' meant being away from organized church for about two decades. Her traditional Mennonite upbringing included flight from a destroyed German city, immigration to America, and marriage to Helmut. She discovered that she was considered an outsider by the congregation they joined both genealogically and spiritually. Her search into the baptism of the Spirit made the mother church fearful of that expression of spirituality, and they were asked to leave. The open and non-denominational congregation they then joined served them well until a hierarchical minister began to dominate in paternalistic and legalistic ways, and again she felt 'away'. At 49, Hildegard left church, being alone. She embarked on a spiritual quest which included much reading, thinking deeply and questioning everything, yet guided by 1 John 2:27, John 14, and parts of the Gospel of St. Thomas. As friends and husband supported her, she came to understand that her image of God was just that--her image of what God is. She realized she needed to explore God from within, that she was never leaving God because God is within her. This transformation of her prayer life meant traditional prayers such as "Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest", had no meaning, and she was led to preternatural, personal forms, such as ‘praying a protective hedge’ which surrounds loved ones, or blessing food through asking protection from its adulterants. Hildegard sees no distinction between ora and labora (prayer and work), seeing work becoming prayer and prayer being a form of life's work. Experiencing congregational separateness or exclusion, she seeks churches to become lovingly inclusive (something she practices beautifully), comprised of people who exclude nobody (a topic of confrontative debate these days), helping church to be a safe place for all who are seeking. [JEK]


Passage: Psalm 139:1-18; 23-24
Communion: No
Ecumenical or Event:
Potluck Lunch: No
Congregational Meeting: No


Speaker: Hildegarde Lemke
Worship Leader: Janet Boldt
Song Leader: Eric Hannan
Pianist: Ruth Enns
Zoom Coordinator:
Children's Feature Leader:


Bring Flowers:
Coffee Helper:
Sound Helper:


Child Care Volunteer: Brandon Thiessen

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