Julia Thiessen grew up in Altona, Manitoba, and still loves to visit this quiet and surprisingly artistic community. She always loved school, especially the musical parts of it, and was fortunate enough to play Anne in the musical version of Anne of Green Gables in grade 12. Julia attended Altona Mennonite Church with her family and was baptized there at age 18. Camps played a huge role in her faith development, and she spent six full summers on staff at Camp Assiniboia, doing a lot of lifeguarding and song leading. Julia has spent five years of her life in Germany, first as a small child while her parents were on a Mennonite Central Committee assignment, and then later as a participant in the Intermenno work program. Julia attended Canadian Mennonite University for four years, completing an Honours degree in Biblical and Theological Studies, with minors in History and Philosophy. After this she left Manitoba and the Mennonite community for a time, completing a Masters of Arts in Religious Studies from McMaster University, with a thesis on the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and Philippians 2:5-11. Julia studied education at the University of Toronto, focusing on Senior Years History and Religion, and enjoying the many live music opportunities Toronto provided. While Ontario treated her well, she was happy to return to Manitoba, with its big skies and all its attendant community responsibilities. After spending a year as Interim Associate Pastor at Charleswood Mennonite Church, Julia joined the Westgate staff in 2013. She teaches Canadian History, Christian Studies, and German, and is involved in Jr. Council and the Spiritual Life Committee. Preaching is one of Julia’s passions, and she shares this with her congregation (Charleswood Mennonite), and with other churches through Westgate visits. Dancing is also one of Julia’s passions, particularly hip hop, but she does not share this with her church very often.