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Seminary Alumni of the Year has been "privileged" to spend a life in ministry
2016-04-24
 
Mark Doerksen's has been a life spent in Christian ministry, walking alongside friends and congregants and, as he says, helping them in "spiritual matters" and caring for them "through difficult times."
 
I have had the enormous privileges of teaching and preaching, of helping with spiritual formation, of baptizing people, of marrying them, of burying them, and of serving them communion," he says, ahead of receiving his Providence Seminary Alumni of the Year Award. "Almost weekly I have been able to pronounce a benediction on people as we prepare to leave our worship service and go out into the world."
 
Currently the Heartland Regional Minister for the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, Doerksen credits his time at Providence for equipping him for ministry and for providing discernment as he wrestled with theology and considered his professional options.
 
"In a word, I am indebted to the education and instructors here as I reflect on my life, my ministry, and my career," he says. "I really learned to appreciate learning at Providence, and that's become pivotal to my life."
 
After finishing high school in 1988 Doerksen framed houses for a year before enrolling at Providence, which he intended, at the time, to attend for a single year of Bible School training.
 
"That turned into a four-year Bachelor of Theology degree, and I then pursued further theological studies by going to the Seminary," he says. "I graduated with a Master of Divinity in 1997."
 
He and his wife, Mary, were married in 1992—shortly before he completed his undergraduate studies—and Mary went on to graduate from Providence Theological Seminary with a counselling degree.
 
It was also in 1992 that Doerksen began his professional career in ministry, working part-time with the youth at Winnipeg's Broadway-First Baptist Church. In 1997 he was hired by St. Vital Baptist Church, later known as Willowlake Baptist Church, and in 2014 he accepted the Regional Minister role with Heartland.
 
"I'm hoping I will be in this position for the foreseeable future," he says.
 
Doerksen's passion for ministry has also seen him involved with organizations such as Winnipeg Harvest and Canadian Foodgrains Bank. He has travelled extensively, to places including Burkina Faso, Kenya, Israel, and Sierra Leone, where, he says, he both responded to crises and encouraged the local people in their own ministries.
 
Going forward, Doerksen, who enjoys woodwork and photography, intends to continue acquiring ministry skills that will help others. He considers himself a "life-long learner" and fondly recalls his formative years at Providence.
 
"My experience at Providence really did help me prepare for ministry in a variety of ways," he says. "I look forward to continued signs of the faithfulness of God. They've been present throughout my life, and I wouldn't expect anything less in the future."
 
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