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Mark Lewis appointed to Kitchener church.

Former moderator Rev. Mark Lewis has been appointed to one of the denomination's largest congregations, St. Andrew's, Kitchener, Ont. He will be inducted on May 7, and will 511 the gap left after a three-member ministerial team had its pastoral ties severed by a presbytery-appointed committee in September 2004.

"I'm tremendously excited," Lewis told the Record. "I'm looking forward to their commitment to justice ministries, to PWS&D and Presbyterians Sharing and to fair trade. And through my personal meetings with them, I sense they are a warm and loving community with a genuine desire to serve Christ."

Lewis stressed that this was "a tremendously difficult decision," as he has a deep love for MacNab Street Church in Hamilton, where he has served as senior minister for nine years. "I've experienced wonderful joy and fulfillment there, and the people have been loving, gracious and supportive of me, making this a positive experience even though the transition can be stressful." Lewis will replace interim minister Vernon Tozer, who has been providing leadership to a congregation stunned by its loss since the fall of 2004.

Ties were severed following several unsuccessful attempts to reconcile differences among the team members, leaving much of the congregation in shock.

Despite the pain and disruption the congregation has endured during this transition, there are positive outcomes. "They did some strategic planning and learned where they need to do some work," said Rev. Aubrey Botha, the interim moderator, "and it increased their sense of belonging, brought them closer together and showed them how to be the Lord's congregation in Kitchener. I think it will be a good match."

Botha said once Lewis settles into his new post and determines the needs of the congregation, a new search team will be created and the search for a second minister will begin. Although Botha's term as interim moderator will end in May, he will act as a mentor to Lewis for one year.--AM
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Title Annotation:SPOTLIGHT
Publication:Presbyterian Record
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:May 1, 2006
Previous Article:Funding increase for PWS&D.
Next Article:Walking together: council announces healing and reconciliation initiative.

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