Two Lutheran church buildings and congregations share the same pastor and have found a stronger sense of community through their collaboration.
Spirit of Life Ministry is a shared ministry of Abundant Life Lutheran Church and Prince of Peace Lutheran Church.
"So this partnership has been in the works for several years, five or six in fact," says Pastor Jeremy Langner. "It started out with a need that both congregations recognized to join in partnership with someone else. They were hoping to share a pastor and resources together."
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada had a regional gathering and that's where the two churches met and started talking about this shared ministry.
"They called me at the end of 2019 and we began working on a new arrangement that's more formal to be in partnership with one another. In that, we started dreaming about a new vision of who we are together. That's when we came up with the name Spirit of Life Ministry to describe who we are together."
The two congregations still meet separately in their own buildings with one in East St. Paul and the other in Winnipeg.
"We are collaborating and doing more things together. Especially during this pandemic we've made decisions together, done alternating worship services, and it's been awesome to have a partner in these challenging times."
Since March 2020 the services have been online and live-streamed. Pastor Langner says he hopes to have in-person services soon.
"The pandemic has brought us together in a new way because all of a sudden location didn't matter as much. It didn't matter where you were because anyone could join. The congregations got to know each other a little better and it's built a stronger sense of community."