Moving to a House in a Field.

Sunday, September 14, 2008
Some of you have been asking, so it's probably time to let you in on the place we are heading for the beginning of November.

It's in a field, located next to the Malmo Mission Covenant Church, which is about 20 minutes southeast of Wetaskiwin Alberta.

The manse where we will be living, is located next to the church, and near the cemetery, kind of beside the field. It certainly will be further from any neighbours than I have ever known in my life. And the Manse is only a couple of years old. We'll have to learn how to live with a well and a septic system and skunks and other vermin.


The church draws about half from the surrounding farms, acreages and homes, and half from town. A unique dynamic. They are good rural people who are connected to the land, so they know what it's capable of, good and bad, and they watch out for one another. Classic prairie people.

So life is taking a turn for us, and like I wrote earlier, I've pastored in Southern Ontario with many people, then in Winnipeg with lots of people, then in Prince Albert with a few thousand people. But who am I when I pastor a church in a field? My world seems to be continually getting smaller, or perhaps more focused. I am excited by that potential, to shepherd and pastor in a wide open space. I wonder how that shapes me, and who I become in this context.

I think your surroundings effect who you become. Think, living in a garbage dump in Manila, or in a mansion in Beverly Hills. The South side of Chicago, or Alaska. Even living in an area with four seasons compared to living in a place with one or two. We are shaped by our surroundings, and I am interested to see who I become, living in a field, in Alberta.

But enough of that. Here are a few images I uploaded to my flickr account and you can click on them to see them expanded.

The Church building
The church building.
The inside of the church
The inside of the church building.
The view
The view.
The Manse
The Manse.
 The back yard
The back yard.

Life in a field.


  1. Didn't Micah say he wanted a job mowing grass?

  2. Does this mean there's a riding lawnmower on the premises?

  3. After all those posts lamenting noisy neighbours.....who says God doesn't answer prayer !

    It all seems to be happening very fast - the norm over here is to give at least 3 months notice of a move, often a lot longer.

  4. think of all the sunsets you'll be able to see with no buildings getting in the way! Did I mention I'm excited?!

  5. What Barb said (about the neighbors).

    Yesterday Ebenezer had our small group connection time where we leaders/facilitators make ourselves available to invite and encourage interested people to join one of our groups. The comment was made how in many of today's bigger churches the pastor no longer does everything, but to be connected and cared for in a 700+ church you need closer connections.

    I think you have a unique opportunity to return to the way things used to be Randall. I pray it is a great success and that you will be guarded from the potential burnout of having too many duties.

  6. If you want me to take you shopping for high waisted tight cowboy jeans, I will.....maybe we can even get you a cowboy hat!!

  7. So you know I'm going to miss you guys terribly, but another reason I'll be sad when you guys move is that I will no longer get to see your siblings. You've got some quality family there! Funny, caring people. I'll have to figure out a way to get invited to family gatherings, I guess. Maybe Madeline will have to marry Micah... :)

  8. Seems like a beautiful place. Nothing like having the church in your back yard. And a lot of green space to walk in the grass. The proximity of the worship space for me is an important part of my spirituality. I send you lots of prayer and my thoughts. I know the kids will like it. Some place new to meet others and to learn about another facet of God. I think I would like to visit your little kingdom on the prairie one day.


  9. ... yeah I believe that space is gonna need a riding lawnmower. Maybe even a highspeed one.

    ... and true the neighbours should be better there. :)

    ... the speed of the move, well it's difficult to judge. My last move here was about three months from call to go. Here now its a touch over two months. We are thinking about the need to get Micah into the school system there asap. I hope its enough time to sell the house and all, but it feels like we are in limbo until we are settled again, and that can get old. For us and the church we are leaving.

    ... yeaaa excited Lisa!!

    ... thanks Jay, hope you are part of a great small group there.

    ... and a cool purple cowboy shirt too Robyn? Cause it won't be a set without that.

    ... Dixie, maybe you can be our representatives at the family Christmas gathering etc. I'll prepare a letter of introduction. Oh, and you'll have to buy a box gift for the exchange.

    ... Thanks Jeremy. DewDropIn.

  10. wow Randall... that is quite the manse!!!!

    I think it is interesting that we also lived in Alberta, Ontario and now SK. A city, A suburb, and a field (basically). And you are absolutely right about where you are shaping who you are.

  11. Nice building,

    but shame about the pews, As you can see i do not like pews, even light coloured ones.

    will send an email shortly about my weekend up north.

  12. Little manse on the prairie?

    Chris thought it looked like the church at Batoche.

  13. Hi! One thing about mowing the lawn...the neighbours actually take turns and come with their riding lawnmowers to mow it for you! Very nice neighbours. :)
    Lots of prayers for you during this process.

  14. I the looks of the place. As a preacher's kid, I've got to say the parsonage (what you call the manse) looks really nice. My dad pastored in small towns (very small towns), so I can relate to the field outside the back door.

    But I feel I need to tell a story. When I was in high school we moved to a very small town in Indiana (population 200). One of the members of our former church, who helped with the moving, said it would be so quiet we'd be able to hear the sun set. Well ... three weeks after we moved in there was a big rock festival on the river a few miles from town and there were about 300,000 hippies in Posey County, Indiana that weekend. The little town was hopping, to say the least.
    So you just never know ...

  15. Vanessa, the neighbours, will they require copious amounts of alcohol to accomplish this task?

    I'm used to that being important for neighbours.

  16. Linda, :)

    a perfect story. And a great idea.

    I have some friends in Jesus People USA, maybe they could be persuaded to bring a Cornerstone Festival to Canada.

    It would be worth all the work to see the old Rez Band boys and girls rocking the prairies.


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