What Calls You To Watershed?

Members of Watershed Community were invited to reflect on what draws them to Watershed.

Picture by Setev

Bev: I have always been drawn to being a part of groups. Throughout my life there have been various manifestations of this longing: church youth group, Capernwray and bible college. When I discovered Cornerstone (Watershed's precursor) what really clinched it for me was its focus on both the communal/social world and the world of ideas. Just before I came to Winnipeg I remember asking someone who had been to Mennonite Brethren Bible College whether it would be a place open to dialogue and questions that would challenge me. Little did I know that I would find all of this and more in a little inner-city church. Over twenty five years later, I am still here. The place has changed a bit, along with those who have been part of Cornerstone-Watershed. But it's a place that still challenges us, makes us think, and isn't afraid to bring dialogue together with worship. But even more invaluable to me is that it is the place I have discovered the presence of Christ through communal study and a desire to enter discipleship together.

Joel: Watershed gives me a unique perspective on life that seems to strike a deeper chord on big themes such as community, suffering, and purpose than most of the narratives I see being peddled in culture. The countercultural ethos of Christianity is one I would like to see become synonymous with my direction in life; its focus on love, forgiveness, and compassion is one that appeals to me. I also feel incredibly fortunate to be able to be around the people in Watershed who have been formed by the narrative within Christianity in addition to other wisdom sources. They are simply nice people and a lot of fun to be around.

Lydia: When I first joined Cornerstone Christian Fellowship back in '83, I was immediately drawn by something new, a relevant sounding gospel. I just knew in my heart that this was my next step. Something in Paul's leadership called to me and drew me away from the church of my youth. I knew that Paul loved God and had a gift of teaching that I wanted to be around. What draws me to stay in Watershed is twofold: 

  1. I don't know where else I would be encouraged to go deeper than the superficial, materialistic bent to which I seem predisposed. My flaws of superficiality, depression and despair, which I have always been aware of, have been met with an answer at Watershed -- a relationship with Christ in community. Because of Watershed, I have a touchstone which always guides me to a better way, and guides me out of the dark wood of my sin. There is a depth here that is incredibly life-giving, and I see it as the greatest blessing of my life that I am part of this community.
  2. I find myself loved, in all my foibles, at Watershed. Who else could laugh at and with me, then remind me of something beyond myself? Collectively, we have our sights set not on our human failings, but on Christ. He is the source of a lot of laughter and a lot of meaning-making.
The story of the Prodigal Son captures these reasons. The Father loves the son unconditionally and dearly, and because of that love the son is brought back to true life. This story is enacted in our humble little community. 

Marilyn: I am here because of the times when our words and actions are not our own, but Christ's. Being able to witness the interior of discipleship in people is crucial. At times I experience the strengthening of Christ's influence in my life. I have a sense of being directed.

Paul: I have been associated with Watershed or one of its early embryonic antecedents for over 32 years now. Initially I came to the group as its founder-minister. It is here that I got my legs as a pastor. In the early days I believed that it was my calling to create a context in which people, who were not amenable to worship and study in the institutional church, could find a home. At first the people who were drawn to this vision were primarily street people, often post-psychiatric patients. I created an informal setting in which these people could discuss and grow in their spiritual lives. As the years passed so too did my role and my understanding of what Watershed was and is. What if it is no longer a place where I consider myself a minister providing a context or service? It has become a very dear place where I consider myself a loved member of the body of Christ. My gift as a pastor-teacher while important is not the hub of what makes our fellowship run. I have come to understand that it is the founding and sustaining energy of the risen Christ who propels our fellowship into the future. I stay at Watershed because it has become through many trials and failures the closest thing to the New Testament church that I have encountered. It is a genuine community where we carry one another's burdens, even economic, and wherein we find our organizing center for our lives. This is why I'm honoured to stay within the context of this creative community maintained through the Spirit.

Lorna: Watershed embodies faith for me. While we were meeting one Wednesday night, talking about the coming together of the Thessalonians, called out by this mysterious gospel, I had the sense that I was experiencing that same mysterious calling out with you all. Called out from obsessions with the temporal, from fears of the unknown and from a desire for comfort. Called into a community of faith and hope. Collectively, community makes such a palpable difference in my daily life. And being met in the moment offers a place from which to hope and claim the promise that God will meet us in the future. I'm grateful for our collective faith and the continuing reminder to listen to God calling us.

Dave: The reason I am in Watershed is because Christ is searching for me and the best way I can be faithful to this action of his is to be in this context. It's the best way I can see to be receptive to Christ's desire for me to be in him and him to work through me. Usually I try to fill myself with more activity, misguided imagination, a clamouring to be significant in the eyes of others. At Watershed I am guided towards values that are closer to my truer self -- being filled with the Spirit, service, community, love, hope, and faithfulness. I am a sinner in need of grace and Watershed provides a conduit of that Grace through Word and community-in-Christ. I am being met by God here and for that I'm grateful -- sharing in Christ's body here at Watershed.

Verda: Watershed is a place that calls me away from my tendency to just eek out an existence. It's a place where I get a glimpse of another story of how to live. Although I often fail to take the opportunity, she offers an invitation to look for deeper meaning in daily life. With the help of others, I listen here for how I might respond in a better way to life -- helpful rather than harmful, generous rather than selfish. Ultimately this is hopeful.

Linda: Watershed is the place where I am learning to be more human in the context of learning to follow the way of Christ. It helps me stay connected to what is truly valuable in life and urges me to extend myself to others. Watershed is teaching me what it means to love as Christ loved, with forgiveness, with compassion. My hope is that I am able to witness to Christ's love in my life so that Christ's presence might be more known in the world.

Cal: I think Christ drew me and still draws me to be a part of Watershed. Watershed is a place where I encounter the Spirit of Christ alive in community through our various teachings, community fellowships and life-giving counsel. It is a place where I am invited to deepen the faith, hope and love that sustains my life.

Lyle: Watershed has and continues to be a place for me to be confronted with the living truth of God in human terms. When I live not for myself but am aware of God in others, I enter a place of contentment even amidst adversity, of enough rather than always not enough, of fellowship rather than isolation. The trick, if you can call it that, is that this shock of disillusionment and an acceptance of a higher grace needs to happen again and again. I can't store it in a glass jar and hold on to it. Here in Watershed Community I feel like I am being found by the Spirit of Christ, despite my best efforts to live for myself.

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