The chair of Steinbach Mennonite Church says they are excited to have hired a new pastor and are in the process of making a fresh start. Karen Peters says Lee Hiebert started as pastor on August 1st. He is a recent graduate of the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana with previous experience as an Associate Pastor at Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. Peters says this marks the start of a new chapter for the church after losing a number of members over the past year and seeing their pastors resign over theological differences.
"It's been a challenging year. We did go through some changes and we went through a real discernment process to determine who this church is, what we believe, what we confess and how we want to move forward. The discernment process itself was difficult but very valuable and I feel that the congregation has grown and we are very much looking forward to the future."
Peters says the church currently has an average of about 120 worshippers each Sunday and the board feels it is an excellent core of people who are united in their desire to move forward as a congregation. She adds they have changed their structure in terms of the committees and councils and so on and look forward, positively, to beginning with this new structure September 1st.
Peters says they believe Hiebert is the right person to lead Steinbach Mennonite Church forward, having endured some struggles of his own during his younger years.
"He experienced many things as a teenager and in his twenties and I think that all those things help him to understand what others are experiencing. We feel that he brings a lot of passion, a lot of energy. He's in his thirties so he brings that youthfulness along with life experience."
Peters says Hiebert and his wife Rachel have moved to Steinbach and are looking forward to meeting people here.
Steinbach Mennonite Church will mark its 75th anniversary September 30th and October 1st.