*Update: In May 2022, Heidi Bratton stepped down as Renewal Ministries’ editor, and Heather Schultz returned to fill her post. Both women are grateful for the opportunity to serve Renewal Ministries.
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Late last year, Renewal Ministries editor, Heather Schultz, handed the writing baton off to Heidi Bratton, our current editor. Heidi brings over twenty-five years of experience to Renewal as a Catholic author, photographer, and educator, and we are grateful she answered God’s call to help us continue to effectively communicate the story of what the Lord is doing through our ministry. Before departing we asked Heather to reflect on some of the most memorable events and impactful experiences of her six years with us. Here is her inspiring reflection:
“When I discerned God was calling me in a new direction, I also trusted He also was calling someone new to take on this important role. Nevertheless, it was hard to say goodbye after six years – a time that deepened my faith through immersion in inspiring content and association with humble, God-seeking people.
One of my favorite memories is sharing work stories with my daughter and her high school classmates while driving the afternoon carpool. I started working with Renewal Ministries at the same time that my oldest daughter began attending a local Catholic high school, so after a day of work, I had a captive audience of three freshman girls. As I shared stories of God’s goodness that I heard at the office, I prayed God would plant seeds in their hearts that would one day bear fruit.
The Lift Jesus Higher Rally in Toronto also proved to be a time of great blessings for my family. Two of my children assisted with prayer ministry at the youth event. Seeing God at work in the hearts and lives of their peers, even amid great struggles, tremendously impacted my children’s faith and even helped lead my daughter to continue serving young people in other areas of her life.
As I faced the crosses in my family’s life over the past six years, I was grateful for notes from supporters who were praying for both the ministry and its staff. I was encouraged and strengthened by the faith-based content I was blessed to dive into each month. I was humbled by the support given by fellow staff members, like when Producer Jack Lynch and his wife drove nearly an hour to our house to pray over our son whose life had been turned upside down by a difficult-to-resolve illness. Jack said they didn’t have a charism of healing but that the primary goal of praying with others was to let them know they are loved, and he hoped he and his wife could do that. Indeed, they achieved that in abundance. Sr. Ann also opened the doors of her office to me many times, and while I was always grateful for her wisdom, what I carry with me the most is how she made me feel loved.
Renewal Ministries has changed a lot in recent years. When I started, our young adult ministry, id, was a team of three people working in one dark room. Now its staff of six shares a strong presence within our office and does work that reaches internationally. in late 2019, God provided a way for us to move into a larger office, which allows members of Be Love Revolution and Zion, ministries for high-school-aged girls and boys, to work from our office and participate in staff Bible studies and meetings. The new office even has a recording studio, which also has helped the ministry increase its outreach. When our team began growing substantially, Ralph Martin implemented a staff Bible study to ensure we all grew with the same heart for and understanding of the Gospel. It has been a beautiful and effective way to keep us connected and encouraged in this work for Christ!
I am most grateful for the profound Christian character that I have witnessed in all who work for and support this ministry: humility, fervent love of the Lord, eager desire to make Him known, and commitment to listen to the Lord and move according to his direction. I have witnessed such beautiful examples of people praying, fasting, trusting, and striving to respond in faith to help lead souls to God. Their example has inspired me to strive to grow in similar ways and walk in greater freedom and courage when it comes to sharing the Lord’s truths or simply responding to a nudge from the Holy Spirit to welcome a new family at Mass.
I am moving on from Renewal Ministries due to a call from the Lord to shift my focus back toward my family’s current needs. I am beyond grateful for the kindness shown to me by our supporters, and I will continue to pray for you. Let’s keep encouraging each other to say yes to God’s call, even when we aren’t sure where it will lead. Let’s keep sharing the Gospel with everyone He asks us to. Let’s continue seeking Him and asking Him to help us love Him more each day.”