Sue Nelson is proof that the passion of one person can change the world. Known as the Mission & Service champion at Pembina Parish, Nelson uplifts
the Mission & Service component of the thriving stewardship program at the two-point charge in southern Manitoba.
“There is a strong tradition of Mission & Service giving here
and it is largely due to this one person,” says the Rev. Cathie
Waldie. She notes that Nelson “never misses an opportunity
to speak about Mission & Service,” whether it’s at church
meetings, or in conversations with others.
Despite Nelson’s dedication, Pem-
bina Parish has confronted its share
of challenges. Its two congregations
in Darlington and Morden, Man.
have struggled to balance address-
ing the needs of the local community
and the needs of the wider church
at the national level. “There has
been some resistance in our giving
team because the materials from the
wider church stress Mission & Ser-
vice,” admits Waldie. “Our giving
team has said, ‘no, we need to look
after ourselves first.’”
It’s an old argument but Pembina
Parish shows that it is possible to
make room for both kinds of giving.
“We know we can continue to sup-
port Mission & Service while also
acknowledging the many things
that the church is doing locally,”
While one individual plays a big role in this success, so do
the congregational giving programs of the national church.
The “Why I Give” presentations—simple testimonies where
members of the church speak about their commitment to
giving to Mission & Service—have also been essential in
boosting Pembina Parish’s Mission & Service givings. “Last
year, the Sunday school kids got up and said why they give.”
For Sue Nelson, that sentiment applies to the broader com-
munity as well. “Seeing how we are doing something locally
helps people see how Mission & Service impacts the wider
community, nationally and globally.”
Julie McGonegal is a freelance writer in Barrie, Ont., where
she attends Burton Avenue United Church.
PEMBINA PARISH, MANITOBA
• St. Paul’s United Church in Morden,
Manitoba, and Zion-Calvin United Church in
Darlingford, Man.; urban and rural
• 300 supporting households for St. Paul’s and
100 supporting households for Zion-Calvin.
• The people of Pembina Parish gave $37,000
for Mission & Service in 2016.
Stewardship thrives in the
face of challenges
Thinking local and global By Julie McGonegal