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Three chairs set around a table Three chairs set around a table

Three chairs symbolize the three companions on the spiritual journey: the Directee, the Spiritual Director and the Holy Spirit. The focus is on listening to what the Spirit is doing in the life of the Directee.

Butterfly Journeys is about my calling as a Spiritual Director in Winnipeg. I love to help people become more deeply aware of the Divine Spirit within.

a rainbow celebration of peoplea rainbow celebration of people

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Hello, my name is Laura Funk and I have practiced Spiritual Direction vocationally since 2012. Earlier, Spiritual Direction was part of my work within the church. It was during my work in pastoral ministry when I realized that this is where my deepest passion lies, and so, once my term in the church was completed, I decided to focus much more on Spiritual Direction and more public education and retreat events. Butterfly Journeys was born!


Ecumenical Adventures

Posted on June 10, 2021

    I grew up in the Mennonite Church. The conference my small congregation belonged to was called the General Conference Mennonite Church. We shortened that to "GC" back then. The denomination has since undergone many changes. It is now called Mennonite Church. There are other Mennonite conferences so it gets a bit confusing sometimes to clarify which conference we are talking about, but that's the name that was chosen. I left the Mennonite Church when we had a pastor who was unsupportive of women in ministry. My cousin was part of an ecumenical congregation near where I lived and I joined this congregation. I have also had the opportunity to live in a few international contexts under various circumstances.

    I learned many things during my time in my sojourn outside the umbrella of the Mennonite Church and I am grateful for these learnings. There were gifts to be found outside of the denominational context in which I grew up. I had been raised to be somewhat wary of other traditions, and I was grateful to be born into the tradition that had "got it right." I put that phrase in quotations because, though I believed it then, I don't hold it the same way now. Here are some of the things for which I'm grateful.

    I am grateful for contemplation. There wasn't a lot of intentional silence in the church where I grew up. Awkward silences maybe, when the nominating committee was searching for someone for a role to fill, but not time in a worship service or small group setting where we intentionally fasted from words and learned to listen to the Voice deep within, or rested from communication altogether. I spent some time in my mid-twenties at a retreat centre mostly in silence. I prepared rooms for other guests, spent time in the beautiful woods around the centre, and cracked a lot of English walnuts. Well, to be more honest, I spent a lot of time cracking very few English walnuts! In that time, I learned the gift of becoming still inside. I began to see myself a little more how God sees me. I caught a glimpse of what the Psalmist might have meant with the words, "Deep calls to Deep..." I also became part of a small group, in another time in my life, where we sat in silence for long periods of time. That wasn't always easy for everyone in the group, but there was a richness that came from practicing this together.

    I am grateful for intercessory prayer. Many Mennonites have prayer practices alone, at home, but we don't necessarily see this in action. There is a private nature about these prayers, perhaps in response to the Biblical injunction not to make loud showy public prayers, but to pray behind closed doors alone with God. That kind of prayer definitely has its important place. We can also be encouraged and strengthened by heart-felt public prayers. Public prayer is also a way to teach good theology. Do we pray to an ever-present God? If so, how could we pray for God to "be with" someone? Might we also then ask that the sun rise upon them, or that there be air for them to breathe? Could we rather pray for our loved ones to perceive God's loving embrace, their minds be open to renewal by Christ's peace, their bodies be re-invigorated by the Holy Spirit's power?

    I am grateful for Christ's living presence. I learned a lot of good theology/head knowledge from Mennonites. I'm not sure I really learned how to perceive and interact with the risen Spirit of Christ from growing up among them. It took stepping out from that warm umbrella to be introduced to a gift called Immanuel Prayer. I was introduced to this teaching while I was with the ecumenical congregation. Perhaps ironically, it was from other Mennonites, but I don't think I would have learned it had I stayed in my home church. Through the faithful ministry of Rev. Charlotte and Dr. Karl Lehman, I learned about the power and desire of God to heal people of traumatic memories so that they can live more freely and deeply into the life they were created to live. Even more profoundly than that, I learned that Jesus really enjoys connecting with us. He loves it when we turn our attention towards him.

    I am grateful for the vocation of Spiritual Direction. This ancient vocation is fairly new to many people in Mennonite circles. I am told that ten years ago, very few people would have heard about this vocation and its gifts for spiritual growth and accountability. Currently, many pastors and a good number of laypeople within the Mennonite world may tell you that they see a Spiritual Director regularly. I am grateful to have received my training with the Sisters of St. Benedict. They provided the space and the leadership for the program I went through. That program is undergoing changes now and is looking for a new physical home. However, when I took the program it involved building relationships with nuns as well as people from other faith traditions. It deeply enriched my life and informed my own practice as a Spiritual Director.

     I returned to membership in a Mennonite Church several years ago. I am grateful to be back. I am deeply grateful to be offered the gift of ordination in recognition of my vocation as a Spiritual Director. I felt a tug toward "home" years ago and am glad to be among Mennonites again for worship and community. I come back bearing these gifts and others from outside the fold. I know that unfamiliar gifts are often hard to receive and I hope that I can also gently offer these gifts to my Mennonite siblings. I like to think of them as a buffet or a potluck. Come and see what you might try! There is a wideness in God's mercy and love. I hope I can communicate that in my new role as Spiritual Director in Residence with the Mennonite Church Manitoba conference.


The Butterfly Story

Posted on October 2, 2015 at 12:55 PM  

     I learned a “healing of memories” kind of prayer awhile ago, and several other friends around me practice it as well. When I was struggling with a particular issues, one of these friends offered some prayer-time to me.

     Part of this prayer involves opening yourself to the Spirit, to allow her to take you back to any memory to which you need to go. This is how our session started. Suddenly I was back in a memory in Kindergarten. I was seated at a table with other children and we were doing art. The teacher came by and asked what I had drawn. Suddenly I was filled with shame and anxiety – what had I drawn? I didn’t really know. I tried to cover my picture by pulling the top corners of the paper to the bottom corners, so no one could see it.

     As I was re-entering this memory, I invited the Spirit to be present to me. I sensed her presence at my right, just behind me where I couldn’t see. I knew she was there because I felt more peaceful and calm. I felt supported and loved. I felt a nudge to open the paper. I found the courage to do so, and as I did, a hundred butterflies flew out and fluttered about the room. Suddenly I was delighted, surprised by the joy of delicate wings dancing around me. I felt my fears and anxiety melt away. As I eventually returned my gaze to the page in front of me, the thought came to me, “I have drawn the paths of the butterflies!”


     Spiritual Direction

     I have learned that no two spiritual paths are alike, and sometimes it feels like we are wandering around like butterflies. But butterflies, in their erratic flight-paths actually cover an amazing distance in their lifetimes. As we share our own journeys with a Spiritual Director, we can sometimes see the bigger picture, get our bearings, or make sense of the paths after all. Sometimes we even find inner healing, like I did that day with the butterflies.


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