The Bishop's Charge to Synod 2009

 


THE BISHOP'S CHARGE

128TH SESSION OF THE SYNOD OF

THE DIOCESE OF OTTAWA

Anglican Church of Canada
October 22 - 24, 2009 AD

"Let Justice Roll down Like Waters, and
Righteousness Like an Ever-flowing Stream"
(Amos 5:24)

 

Faithful Stewards? New Directions

Bishop John ChapmanI am delighted to welcome you all to the 128th Session of our Diocesan Synod! It is a weighty responsibility that you carry. Synod is the most significant council of our Diocese, your voice is important, and your full participation is encouraged.

I am especially grateful to the Dean, Cathedral staff, music directors, musicians, greeters and altar guild for helping us begin our deliberations with a fulsome celebration of our shared faith and common mission around the table of the Lord - there is no better way for us to begin our work together.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome into our midst The Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, our National Aboriginal Bishop. He has been a valued colleague of mine and I hold him in the highest esteem. I am proud that he graciously received our invitation to speak to our 128th session of Synod. I know that his words will speak wisdom rooted in the Gospel. I might add that Mark is a very personable and engaging individual. I am sure that he will be delighted to make himself available to you for informal conversations between sessions.

As well, it is my pleasure to welcome on our behalf a number of new clergy into our midst. Clergy coming from other dioceses to share in the exciting ministry of the Diocese of Ottawa include: The Rev. Susan Clifford, serving as incumbent of the Parish of Eganville, The Rev. Karen Coxon, incumbent of the Parish of March, The Rev. Manasse Maniragaba, serving the Parish of the Northern Pontiac, The Rev. Mavis Brownlee, incumbent of the Parish of Clarendon, The Rev. Darlene Cunliffe, incumbent of the Parish of Combermere, The Rev. Laurette Glasgow, assistant Curate in the Parish of Christ Church Bell's Corners, and our two newest Deacons, ordained on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi; The Rev. Robert Campbell, assistant curate serving the Parish of Vankleek Hill and the Rev. Ross Hammond, assistant curate serving the Parish of All Saints Westboro.

Congratulations also to our newest Priests ordained this past year; The Rev. Karen Galt, The Rev. Jessica Worden, The Rev. Naomi Kabugi, The Rev. Mark Whittall, The Rev. Gregor Sneddon.

As well, I am grateful to The Venerable Chris Dunn who has agreed to serve as Archdeacon of Ottawa West and The Venerable Rob Davis who has agreed to serve as Archdeacon of Pembroke.

Some weeks ago, the clergy of the diocese shared some time at the annual clergy conference with one of North America's most eminent preachers, Dr. Thomas Long from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He offered a word of caution to the narrative preacher. He suggested to us that when we use the narrative style, which is of course his preferred method, the preacher ought not to use a story for effect or to illustrate a point about the Gospel unless the preacher is comfortable knowing that the story he or she might tell will become part of the fabric of the community. Is the story worthy of such stature?

I believe this story does carry such weight. There was once a mighty river. It flowed gracefully and eloquently across the landscape. Along its banks it gave life and sustenance to the tribes of the Aboriginal Australians who camped by it. For many generations this river was the central focus for life. Then, gradually, the river ceased to flow becoming a stagnant pool. With the heat of the summer, it started to dry up. Around the banks of the disappearing symbol of their security, the people watched, aghast. What could be happening to them? By the dried up river bed many sat, waiting for the river to flow once more. Yet others thought to look around, and discovered that the river was not gone. Still flowing, it had simply changed course upstream, creating a billabong on the curve at which they sat. 1

Or, as the psalmist laments, By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.

My friends we live in new and difficult times. Yes, it is a time to remember and to mourn great days and great ways and powerful places. But also, we live in new times of deep blessing. God has not been silent to our ears. God has not been silent in our communities and in our diocese. God has called us and continues to call us to step past the billabong and return home to a new place where the river of life flows as it always has, just as Jesus promised. In the poetry of Isaiah 40, God called God's people off the banks of the river to come home to a new place. We too hear above the clanging voices of secularism, consumerism, fundamentalism, advocates of injustice, the call of Jesus to come home. And what is it that these times call us, followers of Jesus, to embrace if we are to return home to the womb of the Gospel? What does home look like? If it is to survive and preserve our Church to be what it was for our parents and forebearers, we will die. Our parent's church was right for our parents. God called those faithful followers of Jesus to a great and noble work. God called our forebearers to spread the Gospel of Christ, to create primary communities of faith that enabled families to survive and grow, to foster places of learning and scholarship, to provide houses of prayer for those desiring to touch the holy in silence, song, voice and liturgy. Our forebearers were followers of Jesus living their baptism in the manner to which they were called.

Now, what baptismal work are we called to embrace in these times of gross injustice to so many, environmental crisis, abuse of power, exclusion of the vulnerable, prejudice toward those different from ourselves in faith, culture and orientation, and, hopeless individualism? What is to be our response as Christians, as Anglicans, as members of the Diocese of Ottawa? Clearly, we are still called to speak of Jesus and share our experience of Jesus, to care for his people and to pray always, together or alone. So what is it that is different? What is it about our ministry that is different for these complicated times that we must embrace as Christians, Anglicans and members of the Diocese of Ottawa?

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Our Mission Statement provides our template.
We are called to enable people to know Jesus Christ and share the good news; Grow in faith and serve God's world. This is the mission of the Diocese that has driven everything that we have been trying to do these last years. It is this statement that has produced 24 individual strategies that have enlivened our mission and ministry. You will hear much more in this Synod about our success in promoting these expectations through the able leadership of the Transition Team, carefully guided and prodded by Mr. Peter Martin. They continue to provide a focus to our work. And, they clarify for us that what we are called to become is a Missional Church - A Church focused on the Mission of Jesus Christ - A Church that will do whatever it takes to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ as the right and appropriate response to the gift of our Baptism. A Church that looks beyond itself, beyond its parochial concerns looking to our local community, our nation and our world as our context for ministry. It is to this end that our strategic plan points - Lay and Clergy Leadership Development, Parish Growth and Renewal, Congregational Development and Stewardship, Hospitality, Communication, Governance, Seeking the Seekers - all working together, informing each other so that we might more effectively fulfill our call to be a Missional Church.

But the issue for today is the context! The river has shifted. If we are to exercise our mission fully and responsibly we must recognize the context in which we are called to work. Our context has shifted. Our mission must be exercised in a world where:
  • 1. Every human being is clearly not welcomed, accepted and loved in equal measure, yet Christ's blessing is unequivocal and irrevocable for all God's children.
  • 2. Child poverty continues to exist and grow in our world, in our country, in our Diocese and even in our own parish communities.
  • 3. People are crying out to encounter the Holy, yet we struggle to know how to make the healing and generous presence of Christ known to them.
  • 4. The politics of our nation must be critiqued in the context of the Gospel.
  • 5. The environment groans under the strain of our consumer demands.
  • 6. Prejudice has gone underground secreted under a naíve interpretation of political correctness.
  • 7. The stewardship of our resources is interpreted through the lens of individualism and not community and communal responsibility.

This is the context in which we find ourselves today and we must not shelter ourselves from it. Our Baptism is much too great a gift for us to respond in fear or uncertainty. We are a gifted and a bountiful diocese blessed with deeply committed members. It is not enough that we sit by the river waiting for the return of something that has moved. We, as the Anglican diocese in the nations capital are called to lead and lead we must.

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To this end, I prayerfully hold before the Diocese of Ottawa the following, a direction that I believe God is calling us to consider:

Regarding the inclusion of all Christians into the blessed company of Christ.
Before we can even begin to attend to the specific challenge of the place of same-gendered couples, we must look broadly at our capacity to include anyone who lacks historical presence in our communities of faith. I will say it again for the third Synod in a row. One of the few and only complaints that I hear when travelling the diocese is, "When I arrived in this parish, no one spoke to me or tried to help. I think they think that they are friendly but not from where I sit." I ask you again to make sure that hospitality remains a standing item on your parish council agendas. This is a very important matter that ought to be discussed every time parish leadership gathers.

Related to this appeal, and certainly more controversial, I will address again the matter of the blessing of same-gendered couples civilly married.

The Diocese of Ottawa, along with the rest of the Canadian Church and the Anglican Communion, has been debating the place of gay and lesbian people within the life of the Church for many years. Some of the seminal events, nationally and locally include:

1976, Canada's House of Bishops first "sought advice" on pastoral issues related to gay and lesbian people in the Church. In 1979, the House of Bishops issued a statement that it did not condone homosexuality, but would not call into question the ordination of homosexual persons committed to abstaining from homosexual activity.
1978, the world's Bishops at the Lambeth Conference first "recognized the need for deep and dispassionate study on the question of homosexuality," a commitment re-affirmed at the 1988 conference.
1991, the House of Bishops recommended a study guide on homosexuality, Hearing Diverse Voices, Seeking Common Ground.
1997, the House of Bishops endorses proposed amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
1997, the Diocese of Ottawa created the task group on Gays and Lesbians, with a mandate to promote discussion of homosexuality and to encourage full participation of gay and lesbian persons in the life of the Church.
1998, New Westminster Synod first votes in favour of a resolution calling on the bishop to approve a rite of blessing for same-sex unions. Bishop Ingham denied assent.
1998, the Lambeth Conference announced "it could not advise the legitimizing or blessing of same-sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same-gender unions," while at the same time committing themselves to "listen to the experience of homosexual persons."
2002, the House of Bishops "was unable to speak with a unanimous voice" on the issue of homosexuality, and referred the matter to General Synod.
2002, the Ottawa Diocese faced with two opposing motions, creates a task force on the Implications of blessing same-sex unions.
2003, after 3 successive synods in favour, New Westminster bishop, Michael Ingham approves a rite of blessing for same-sex unions.
2004, the Lambeth Commission issued the Windsor Report, calling for moratoria on: a. The Blessing of Same-Sex relationships; b. the consecration of bishops in same-sex relationships; c. extra-territorial interventions by bishops.
2004, The Primates Task Force on alternative Episcopal oversight submitted its report on Episcopal care for parishes, which disagreed with their Bishops on important issues.
2004, General Synod deferred questions regarding the blessings of same-sex unions, referring the issue to the Primates Theological Commission; and approved a resolution affirming the "integrity and sanctity of committed adult same-sex relationships."
2005, the Ottawa Synod received the final report of the diocesan Task Force on the Implications of blessing same-sex unions.
2007, General Synod voted that the blessing of same-sex relationships was not to be considered "core doctrine, in the sense of being creedal." It refused to decide whether or not individual dioceses could proceed and called on the Council of General Synod to re-examine the Marriage Canon.
2007, the Ottawa Synod approved a motion requesting the bishop approve a rite for the blessing of same-sex civilly married couples.
2008, Bishop Chapman advised that he would instruct the Doctrine and Worship Panel to investigate the issue and recommend an appropriate rite to be used in a limited and "experiential" manner.

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At the Synod of 2008 I made the following statement:

With the benefit of scientific and medical knowledge we know sexual orientation is a given and a gift from God in the lives of all people. Our challenge is to determine how all persons may rejoice in and celebrate this God given gift so it honours our creator and gives dignity to the creatures of God. I believe our dealing with the issues of human sexuality is fundamentally a pastoral matter. How is God calling us to proclaim the gospel, the good news of Jesus, to those whose sexual givenness has resulted in their marginalization and has often made them victims in their communities, families, and churches?

Following, I made this statement to the Canadian House of Bishop's, as promised to Synod of 2008:

That, we, in Ottawa, begin to explore experientially, the blessing of duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized; to charge the Doctrine and Worship Panel with the responsibility to develop an appropriate rite for this blessing. Upon the authorization of a rite, I will give my permission for one parish within the Diocese to offer the blessing of civil marriages between same-sex couples. Discernment continues! This hope is not and must not be understood as a conclusive statement affirming that the Church must and ought to proceed with the blessings of same-sex civilly married couples. In order to further the discernment process, we must "experience" the issue as Church before clarity of heart and mind might be attained. For this reason, I hope to proceed, but slowly and cautiously. This would be an initial step from which we can observe and learn. Our process will allow ourselves to be better informed as we go forward to General Synod 2010 where this issue will be discussed again.

I did refer the matter to the Doctrine and Worship Panel requesting that the Panel consider for you and for me, the theological dimensions of blessing the civil marriages of same-gendered couples. As well, I asked the Panel to provide appropriate protocols for how such a blessing would be conducted. The Panel has provided me with a written report. Following careful study of their recommendations, much prayer, ongoing input from the international and national Church and mindful of the 2007 Diocese of Ottawa Synod motion, I have decided to proceed in the following manner.

Mindful of my understanding that:
Same-sex couples who are civilly married and seek the Church's blessing of their marriage must be welcomed with the same care and solicitude that the church would extend to any other of its members; and, that when the church blesses the marriage of anyone civilly married it does so recognizing that the couple is already married and that the blessing celebrates and deepens a reality that already exists;

I give my permission to the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Ottawa to begin offering a rite of blessing to those same-sex couples civilly married where at least one party is baptized, utilizing the rite of blessing for civil marriages found in the Book of Occasional Celebrations, published by the Anglican Church of Canada.

The preamble to the rite points out that the role of an ordained minister in a marriage service is to pray for God's blessing on the marriage, which the couple has ministered to each other.

I have not chosen to create an entirely new rite as has been offered by at least two dioceses in Canada. My intention is to embrace a liturgical process that will not discriminate between members of the Church on the basis of sexual orientation. This will be Ottawa's offering to the ongoing discernment that is happening throughout the Anglican Church of Canada.

It is my conviction that the process of discernment proposed here is fundamentally conservative and traditional. That is, the process of experiential discernment is witnessed clearly within Holy Scripture. A significant instance may be examined in Acts chapter fifteen. There the Church determines to do something, which, on the face of it, is against a plain reading of many other scriptural texts. The reinterpretation of these texts is held to be done under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in order to bring "new things out of old" as they are found in the new creation instituted by the death and rising of Jesus Christ. Such reinterpretation is witnessed to elsewhere in both Testaments and in the subsequent life of the Church.

Experiential discernment is something that is clearly provisional and ad hoc. While I believe we are working out the implications of the Gospel for our day and context, I acknowledge that now, we walk by faith and not by sight. None of the steps we take are irrevocable. In order to be true to the call to discernment, I acknowledge the need to maintain the fullest degree of communion with other Anglicans and full communion partners since the rest of the Church must evaluate what we may believe to be prophetic. No one has any guarantee to the possession of the fullness of truth. For us, to move deeper into all truth, we require the gifts, reproof, insight and experience of the whole Body.

Some may conclude that by offering limited provision for the use of the rite of blessing of civil marriage for same-sex couples, the Diocese of Ottawa is stepping beyond the limit of the Church's Canons. I believe that there is sufficient need for a new pastoral response to a situation that the current Canon could not have imagined. By submitting the process of discernment to reflection and critique in the hope of consensus building, I believe that we stand within the Canon Law tradition.

Guidelines for practice will be carefully articulated to the clergy of the diocese in a Pastoral Letter that will be sent to them later this fall.

I am very excited to tell you that the Diocese of Ottawa, in partnership with three other Canadian Dioceses, has been selected by the Archbishop of Canterbury to engage in a project that he is giving the highest priority. He has, with the assistance of other global Anglican leaders organized a pilot project that will enable a continuation of the ongoing dialogue (Indaba) between dioceses that are in disagreement on critical issues. Our particular project will be discussing human sexuality. We have been paired with the Diocese of Mombasa, Kenya. While we have already shared papers one with the other, in February 2010, at the invitation of Archbishop Williams, we will gather at St. Andrew's House in London to meet face-to-face sharing ideas and continuing the dialogue. This is a marvelous opportunity for us to continue dialogue on difficult issues with our Communion partners in other parts of the world. I will be making a full report to the Diocese in due course.

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Regarding Child Poverty
In the Diocese of Ottawa, we are immensely proud of our community ministries. The work that we do through them is an invaluable expression of the gospel, and is the envy of many. I am grateful to those who serve, and I am thankful for those we serve, each embodying the fullness of Christ in their brokenness.

As I become increasingly aware of all the work that is done locally, through the congregations in neighbourhood or ecumenical coalitions, I am always filled with pride when I hear stories of outreach through homework clubs, food banks, seniors work, youth centers, or the many and varied ways, and there are too many to mention, by which we serve God's world. We have been challenged to find new ways of serving God's world and God's people by our strategic plan. We are asked to identify and develop new ministries, on both the parochial and diocesan level. Many parishes are already doing this, and I want to both congratulate and encourage them. Many more parishes have projects in development and from what I have seen; our communities will be better and stronger as a result.

Through the ongoing ministry of a dedicated group of our retired clergy, it has come to my attention that child poverty in our community has reached critical proportions. One of our local agencies, which provide childcare programmes and meals, has 800 children currently on the waiting list. This is a matter that must be addressed by our Diocese. Nurture and care for our children is clearly demanded of us by Jesus. Our community ministries now address men and women living on the streets with food, accommodation, counseling and a variety of support activities. It is time for this Synod to take the matter of child poverty in hand. I will ask our new Community Ministries Development Committee to take this challenge in hand and make a recommendation to Synod 2010 as to how we as a Diocese can respond to this deep need. I believe that this matter deserves our very best attention.

On a related matter, Citizens for Public Justice and Canada Without Poverty has launched a campaign for a Poverty-Free Canada. One hundred and fifty-five organizations have endorsed the project including the Anglican Church of Canada. I would welcome a motion from this Synod authorizing the Diocese of Ottawa to endorse and participate in this campaign.
Our attention to both of these projects will further our ongoing attention to the United Nation's Millennium Development goals; specifically, numbers one and four - Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, and Reduce child mortality.

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Small Church Coaches
If we are to re-examine the riverbank upon which we stand, consider the context in which we are called to offer our ministry, the priorities and fabric of our parishes will need to change too in response to new or different work. This can be very difficult. These last two years I have been working with a small group of leaders looking at a programme offered elsewhere in our province that provides mentorship and coaching for small churches. The clergy of the diocese received a very enthusiastic presentation on the project from the Rt. Rev. Ed Leidel. While we were enthusiastic about the programme, budget was a problem. I have received assurance from the Implementation Committee that funds do exist that could support this programme for the next three years. It is my hope that we begin the process that will make available to parishes the benefit of a coach that might help them move forward in response to their unique mission.

Making Christ known to all People
People are crying for the presence of the Holy, yet we struggle to know how to make the healing and generous presence of Christ known to them. Something new, something not tried before might be what is in order here. Over this past year, some of us in the diocese have been exposed to a variety of creative methods that assist us in reaching those outside of our communities of faith. Beginning in the Church of England, a programme called Fresh Expressions of Church has, to put it lightly, taken off. The Diocese of Ottawa is now fully engaged in this new and creative way of taking Church into the marketplace and community. A vision day has been arranged in our diocese on November 21. Fresh Expressions ?seeks to encourage the development of fresh expressions of Church, alongside more traditional expressions, with the aim of seeing a more mission shaped church take shape throughout the country.

Politics, Government and the Gospel
In these times of great injustice, abuses of power, increased poverty, war and rumours of war, the Church and more specifically, the Diocese of Ottawa must, given our strategic position in the nations capital, hold the lens of the Gospel up to the policy and practice of our civil governments. Jesus' voice of compassion, peace, hope, forbearance, love of neighbour and forgiveness, in these secular and individualistic times, must be spoken and heard by all who make decisions in our name. We are the voice for those who have no voice. It is my intention over these next months to establish a Government Relations Panel. The purpose of this Panel will include: First, to advise me, the Synod and Executive Council with advice as to how the Diocese and our constituent ministries might respond to specific governmental actions and/or policies. Second, to build creative relationships with key government personnel so that we might be informed sufficiently in order to engage in meaningful dialogue with those entrusted with policy formation and execution. We can no longer sit and wait to be asked to come to the decision making table. We must claim our place, as a religious voice among many and comment upon the activities and practices of our country.

Regarding St. Alban's and St. George's, Ottawa
It is my conviction that it is our right to utilize these properties for the ministry of this diocese within the Anglican Church of Canada. The pace is slow but the Episcopal Office continues to work toward confirmation of our right of ownership. As many of you know, legal counsel has been retained to assist us in this task.

Governance
How we do our work together is as important as the work itself since one leads to the success of the other. The Governance of our relationships, decision-making practices and responsibilities must be in proper order if we are to expect to fulfill our vocation and ministries. Two years ago, I asked this Synod to re-examine our Governance process with a view to significant revision and modification to suit our current times and practices. Dean Parker and the Governance Review Panel have completed their task. Tomorrow, you will be receiving a motion that reflects two years of very hard work on the part of the Panel. I commend to you their exceptional work for discussion, debate and implementation. As we have had opportunity for discussion and debate in a variety of venues, much of their work and suggestions are not new to many of you. However, now is our time to make any necessary final changes and call this Synod to put into effect a new way of doing our work. It is a process that is clear, responsible to the mission of this diocese, accurately solicits the proper skills required for the tasks involved, and appropriately represents the diversity of our diocese.

Partner Dioceses
Our partnership with the Diocese of Pelotas has been a creative and spirit-filled relationship. However, the relationship now, after ten years of mutual prayer and conversation has come to a conclusion. The purpose of partnerships is to build relationships across the Communion. To this end, we look to develop a new and invigorating relationship elsewhere in the Communion. As recently as last week, our Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz asked me if we might consider a relationship with the Diocese of Jerusalem. He just completed an extensive visit to Jerusalem and the Bishop is anxious to form a partnership with a Canadian Diocese. Archbishop Hiltz thought that our diocese, located within the nations capital might serve their needs well while also presenting to us an exciting possibility. I assured him that we would pursue this partnership. The Executive Committee or its successor will need to determine where in our structures this new work might be located.

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Financial Development Panel
I have already spoken to this initiative in Crosstalk. If you will bear with me, I will briefly outline the major points covered in the most recent edition. Now it is time, bolstered by the support of our Strategic Plan and Stewardship Council to engage a third and final task - a comprehensive resource management initiative. It is imperative that we have in place a comprehensive resource plan in order for us to continue our ministry in the name of Jesus. To this end, in April of 2009 I called together a Financial Development Panel. The Panel's responsibilities are threefold: assess our current financial position, attend to our annual resource management practices, and develop a long-term financial resource plan. The Panel's work to date has been exceptional. The Panel membership shares in the excitement that has been generated by our Strategic Plan. The Diocese has in place a mission, a vision and a desire to respond to the ministry Jesus has called us to share with him. Now, while financial resources are available in the short-run, we must ensure that resources will be available for years to come. To this end, the Panel, which I chair, has proposed that we begin to put in place a Financial Development Initiative.

So far, the Panel has proposed that we embrace a significant fund-raising campaign that will address ongoing annual need as well as securing bequests and long-term capital. The Panel has recommended partnering with the National Church with direction from the Department of Philanthropy's Executive Director, Dr. Holland Hendrix. Dr. Hendrix has already generously participated in our Panel meetings. Resources from this Initiative will allow us to meet the demands of our current Strategic Plan, as well as participate meaningfully in fulfilling the mission of the Anglican Church of Canada's national and global programmes. While it is always good to partner with our National Office, we will have benefit of their expertise and guidance.

In June of 2009 the Financial Development Panel presented a motion to our Executive Committee built on previous motions approving a feasibility study and moving ahead with the next steps in a fund raising campaign. This would be done in partnership with the National Church's Department of Philanthropy.

I do need to say that these proposals are exciting. It has been decades since we as a Diocese engaged in any kind of directed and focused fundraising activity. It is long over due and timely. Thanks to the efforts of so many individuals over the years, our mission is focused and our responsibilities are clear. I believe that God is calling us to look carefully at our current resources, and do all in our power to root out untapped resources so that we may continue bearing fruit in the vineyard of God's Kingdom.



I am asking you to support this exciting venture and I pray and hope that you will respond with enthusiasm and sacrifice.

Since our last Synod we have wished farewell to five of our clergy who have reached their retirement years. These faithful stewards of the Church include, The Rev. Canon Robert Heard, The Venerable Paul Blunt, The Rev. Neil Stephens, The Rev. Carol Vatcher and the Rev. David Shields. As well, in our community ministries we bid farewell to Ms. Lois McLaurin. These individuals have served the Church well and by all accounts will continue to serve the Church but only in a different venue. Thank you and may God speed in your retirement.

Close to home for me, again I would like to thank on your behalf our Episcopal and Synod Office staff. Archdeacon Moulton, my right hand, Jude Green, my left hand (which of course leaves little left for me to do), Dean Shane Parker, Michael Herbert, Dr. Bill Prentice, Bill Gilbert, Sandra McDonald, Lisa Chisholm-Smith, Art Babych, Leslie Worden, Andrew Stephens-Rennie, Dr. Glenn Lockwood, Wolfworks Communication, specifically, Susan Lewis, Brian Sarjeant, Neil Gorman, Jane Scanlon, Beverly Skelton, Wendy Fitzpatrick, the Directors of our Community Ministries Mary Martha Hale, Sue Garvey, Pat Connolly, Janet McInnes and their staff. And, special thanks to Joyce Couvrette without whom this synod would not be happening.

You might have noticed in this charge that I have mentioned fewer names than in the past. This is because the longer I occupy the position of bishop in this fine diocese, I recognize and know more of the people working for the mission of the Church. Hundreds of wonderful Christians, in the name of our Lord are giving of their time and talent toward God's mission - far, far too many to name, unfortunately. You know who you are and I thank you in the name of our diocese. Your generous spirit and deep faith have contributed toward the faith and well being of so many.
Finally, but by no means least, our deep gratitude to our secretaries to Synod, Canon Judy Darling and the Rev. Linda Hill.

My friends, I said it last year and I say it again, our faith while sometimes troubling, is truly the source of all light and joy. We gather these days in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I implore you all to welcome these holy days of deliberation, sacred conversation and the exercise of our baptism.

Thank you and may God bless you and may God bless our Synod.

♰ John: Ottawa


 

1Peter and Sue Kalkor, Where the River Flows: Sharing the Gospel in Contemporary Australia, (Homebush West, N.S.W.: Ansea Publishers, 1988


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