NEWS

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Announcements for Wednesday, May 25, 2016:

1.       A Light in the Forest – Our Companion Diocese of Amazonia. Rev. Marcos Barros and his wife Lourdes Barros, the ‘missionaries’ from Amazonia are in Huron from May 11th to June 30th. They are here to share the Good News of Jesus Christ as experienced by Anglicans in Brazil. Please welcome them. Pray for their safety, and that their time here may be fruitful for them and for us.  

2.       Cursillo – A Spanish word which means "a short course" – that is a short course in Christianity. A Cursillo Weekend is time invested in 3 days apart to deepen your personal walk with Christ. The next weekend will be heldThursday May 26 at 7p.m. - Sunday May 29th 4 p.m. Cost is $275 and includes all meals and accommodations. Registration is necessary. Email: huroncursillo@gmail.com for more information.

3.       “Building Stronger Relationships” – Prepare & Enrich Training, One-Day Seminar – Tuesday, May 31, St. Anne’s Church (Byron) 1344 Commissioners Road West, 9:00am-3:00pm. Enrich Canada certification training conducted by Dr. Peter Baldwin, Seminar Director, available for social workers, therapists, pastors and counsellors. Learn how to help engaged, married or cohabiting couples thrive. Prepare & Enrich seminars offer an exceptional opportunity for professionals to develop and hone their facilitation skills. Information: Peter C. Baldwin, 519.524.8168 or peterbaldwin@eastlink.ca. To register: call Enrich Canada at 1.888.973.3650 or go to www.enrichcanada.ca  

4.       Clergy response to TRC Calls to Action - In response to the Primate’s recent charge, Anglican and Lutheran clergy from Huron and Niagara are invited to a spend a day together at the HM Royal Chapel of the Mohawk on Tuesday June 7. We meet at 9.30am for Eucharist. Phil Montour from Nations Uniting will address us on land rights and Treaty issues following worship. After lunch on site, there will be a guided tour of the museum and Mohawk Institute. The event is being partially sponsored by the Diocese of Huron. Donations welcome. Please register with Christine Pizzey at christine@stmarks.on.ca or on 519.752.6451 and advise of any food allergies. Space is limited.

5.       Deanery of Essex 4th Annual Golf Tournament will be held on Wednesday, June 22 at the Seven Lakes Championship Course (7200 Disputed Road, Windsor, ON) with dinner at St. Mary’s Church (1983 St. Mary’s Gate, Windsor, ON) Please register by June 15thby contacting:  Derrick Foster (519-946-3079) or Jane Crosby (519-979-4431); also for further information about cost, etc. Dinner only is available.  Shot gun starts @ 8:30 am sharp. Hole sponsorship is available!!

6.       The Brotherhood of Anglican Churchmen invites all BAC members and any friends who are willing to help start off a new season at Huron Church Camp: Huron Church Camp Clean-Up Day, June 25We start at 10 a.m. Lunch provided. Please send your RSVP (or any questions) to: HuronBAC@gmail.com

7.       We are excited that The Diocese of Huron is Co-Hosting with our Lutheran Friends The National Worship Conference.  The theme this year is Formation & Reformation: Worship, Justice, and God's Mission. This conference will be held from July 24-27 at Laurier in Waterloo.  Join our Primate Fred Hiltz and Lutheran National Bishop Susan Johnson for a tremendous opportunity to explore worship and issues of justice. Please visit the webpage and register early http://www.nationalworshipconference.org  NOTE:  This qualifies as Continuing Education.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bishops' Announcements

The Bishops' Announcements for Monday, May 24th, 2016:            
1.       Bishop Bob Bennett has accepted the wish of the Rev’d Christine Young to retire effective October 1, 2016.  Christine was deaconed in May of 2000 and priested in December of that year.  She has served as Assistant Curate and Associate Priest at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London and as Rector of St. Alban’s, London, the position from which she retires.  Christine has been a member of the Matrimonial Commission and the Grants and Loans Committee.  Christine will be honoured with other retirees at Synod 2017.

2.       On behalf of Right Rev'd Robert Bennett, The Venerable Peter Townshend will induct The Rev’d Marty Levesque as Rector of All Saints Anglican Church, Waterloo on June 12th at 4:00pm, guest preacher The Rev’d Kevin Dixon. Clergy are invited to vest, the colour of the day being red for the feast of St Barnabas the Apostle. A BBQ will follow. Please RSVP to allsaints@golden.net or 519-884-6600.

3.       The Bishop of Huron announces that the following will be ordained at a service of Ordination to be held on the Feast of the Visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth, Tuesday, May 31st  at 7pm at the Cathedral Church of Saint Paul, London.  Clergy are invited to vest, the colour being white.

Called to the priesthood:
  • The Reverend Mary Farmer, upon priesting,  the Rector of the Parish of Long Point Bay
  • The Reverend Jason Postma, Assistant Curate to the Rector, Parish of Saugeen Shores (St. Paul’s, Southhampton and St. John’s, Port Elgin) with Christ Church, Tara and St.Paul’s, Chatsworth.

Called to the diaconate:
  • Ms. Lorraine Brooks, upon ordination, Deacon with Special Responsibility for Pastoral Care, St. Paul’s, Stratford
  • Mr. Shaun Eaton, upon ordination, Deacon-in-Charge of the Parish of the Holy Spirit (St. Paul’s Clinton and St. Thomas’, Seaforth)
  • Mr. Matthew Kieswetter, upon ordination, Deacon Assistant to the Priest-in-Charge,  St. John the Evangelist, Kitchener
  • Mr. Mark Sceviour, upon ordination, Deacon Assistant to the Rector, St. Jude’s, London
  • Dr. John Thompson, upon ordination, Deacon with Special Responsibility for Outreach, St. John the Evangelist, London
  • Ms. Jean Woon, upon ordination, Deacon with Special Responsibility for Outreach, Trinity, Port Burwell and St. Luke’s, Vienna

More names may be added at a later date.

Please email Cathy Hodgins with the date/time and location of meetings so that they can go on our diocesan calendar.  Cathy’s email address is chodgins@huron.anglican.ca    As an FYI you can find the diocesan calendar at http://www.diohuron.org/calendars/calendars.php

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Announcements for Wednesday, May 18, 2016

1.       The Synod 2016 Popular Report written by Matthew Kieswetter which summarizes the events of 175th Synod held in London, Ontario, May 15-17, 2016 is now posted: http://news.diohuron.org/2016/05/synod-2016-popular-report-matthew.html

2.       We are forwarding you the link (YouTube) with Bishop Saulo’s  (The Diocese of Amazonia) greetings to the participants of the Synod 2016. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties it was not possible to open it and present it during the Synod. We are using this opportunity to share Bishop Saulo’s message with you.


3.       A Light in the Forest – Our Companion Diocese of Amazonia. Rev. Marcos Barros and his wife Lourdes Barros, the ‘missionaries’ from Amazonia are in Huron from May 11th to June 30th. They are here to share the Good News of Jesus Christ as experienced by Anglicans in Brazil. Please welcome them. Pray for their safety, and that their time here may be fruitful for them and for us.  

4.       The Lutheran Anglican Roman Catholic (LARC) Interchurch Committee invites you to attend a Day of Study on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at St. John’s Anglican Church in Ancaster.  Doors open at 9:30 with program from 10:00 to 3:00 including lunch. In acknowledgement of the 15th anniversary of full communion between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada this year, and in anticipation of the 500th Anniversary the Reformation next year, we will address the question “What does it mean to commemorate such occasions?”  Speakers from our three traditions will present input as a panel and there will be time for table discussion in small groups. Cost for the day, including lunch, is $25. Please register by May 18th by contacting The Rev. Stephen Berryman at stephen@alpharesponse.ca so we know how many to expect for lunch.

5.       Cursillo – A Spanish word which means "a short course" – that is a short course in Christianity. A Cursillo Weekend is time invested in 3 days apart to deepen your personal walk with Christ. The next weekend will be heldThursday May 26 at 7p.m. - Sunday May 29th 4 p.m. Cost is $275 and includes all meals and accommodations. Registration is necessary. Email: huroncursillo@gmail.com for more information.

6.       “Building Stronger Relationships” – Prepare & Enrich Training, One-Day Seminar – Tuesday, May 31, St. Anne’s Church (Byron) 1344 Commissioners Road West, 9:00am-3:00pm. Enrich Canada certification training conducted by Dr. Peter Baldwin, Seminar Director, available for social workers, therapists, pastors and counsellors. Learn how to help engaged, married or cohabiting couples thrive. Prepare & Enrich seminars offer an exceptional opportunity for professionals to develop and hone their facilitation skills. Information: Peter C. Baldwin, 519.524.8168 or peterbaldwin@eastlink.ca. To register: call Enrich Canada at 1.888.973.3650 or go to www.enrichcanada.ca  

7.       Clergy response to TRC Calls to Action - In response to the Primate’s recent charge, Anglican and Lutheran clergy from Huron and Niagara are invited to a spend a day together at the HM Royal Chapel of the Mohawk on Tuesday June 7. We meet at 9.30am for Eucharist. Phil Montour from Nations Uniting will address us on land rights and Treaty issues following worship. After lunch on site, there will be a guided tour of the museum and Mohawk Institute. The event is being partially sponsored by the Diocese of Huron. Donations welcome. Please register with Christine Pizzey at christine@stmarks.on.ca or on 519.752.6451 and advise of any food allergies. Space is limited.

8.       Deanery of Essex 4th Annual Golf Tournament will be held on Wednesday, June 22 at the Seven Lakes Championship Course (7200 Disputed Road, Windsor, ON) with dinner at St. Mary’s Church (1983 St. Mary’s Gate, Windsor, ON) Please register by June 15thby contacting:  Derrick Foster (519-946-3079) or Jane Crosby (519-979-4431); also for further information about cost, etc. Dinner only is available.  Shot gun starts @ 8:30 am sharp. Hole sponsorship is available!!

9.       We are excited that The Diocese of Huron is Co-Hosting with our Lutheran Friends The National Worship Conference.  The theme this year is Formation & Reformation: Worship, Justice, and God's Mission. This conference will be held from July 24-27 at Laurier in Waterloo.  Join our Primate Fred Hiltz and Lutheran National Bishop Susan Johnson for a tremendous opportunity to explore worship and issues of justice. Please visit the webpage and register early http://www.nationalworshipconference.org  NOTE:  This qualifies as Continuing Education.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Synod 2016 - Popular Report - Matthew Kieswetter

THE 175th SYNOD OF THE DIOCESE OF HURON POPULAR REPORT
May 15 - 17, 2016

            Clergy and laity from across the Diocese of Huron came together in London from May 15 to 17. Bishop Bennett described the gathering of Synod as an opportunity to discern and be attuned to the Creators will for us both in our particular time and within our unique context.
            The opening Eucharists first reading, from the Book of the Prophet Micah, set the tone for the three days, especially the well-known climactic verse in the books sixth chapter: He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Bishop Dance helped the gathering to dig into this important passage, by facilitating a fun and enlightening Bible study on the Tuesday morning.
            In his charge, Bishop Bennett pointed to the Baptismal Covenant (BAS 158-159) and the Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion as touchstones of the Christian lifestyle. He characterized the Christian life as a response to the call to right relationship with God and between human beings and creation.
            It seems fitting, then, to present some highlights from this years Synod through the lens of the Marks of Mission.

TO PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS OF THE KINGDOM

            Archdeacon William Harrison spoke to the cultural shift evident in recent decades, which has resulted in a shrinking of many congregations. We can no longer depend on people gravitating to churches on Sunday morning by instinct or societal expectation. Whats needed today is more intentional evangelism. Evangelism (a word with much baggage) need not be left to slippery televangelists, he argued. Evangelism is simply the communication of Gods love for the world, as seen in Jesus Christ. Are we as a Church willing to work together and perhaps reevaluate our structures to most effectively articulate this reality? Moreover, are we able to remember, even in difficult times, that our physical structures and resources are not ends in themselves, but instead, tools that exist to serve our proclamation and living out of the Good News?
            The First Mark of Mission was reflected in several other presentations. Hurons Anglican Church Women spoke of their work and support of many important ministries, such as the Mission to Seafarers, Henry Budd College, and Huron Church News.
            Huron Church Camp a place where many young people come to know Christ shared the good news of a surplus from 2015 and the start of much-needed renovations.
            Special guests from our companion diocese, The Revd Marcos Fernando Barros de Souza and Maria de Lourdes Bernardino de Souza, shared how the partnership between Huron and Amazonia has helped them to recognize the divine energy that inspires them in their ministry in Brazil.

TO TEACH, BAPTIZE AND NURTURE NEW BELIEVERS

            Bishop Bennett helpfully suggested that we should remember that we are called to nurture not just new believers, but all believers. Huron most certainly boasts many opportunities for Christian formation. Delegates received updates from Canterbury College, Huron University College, and Renison University College. They are caring Anglican presences in the context of large universities, offering a variety of learning opportunities.
            Education for Ministry (EfM) was presented as an outstanding example of the Anglican approach to Christian formation. Through four separate year-long courses students study scripture, Church history, and theology in an accessible manner and an encouraging environment.
            Cursillo is another way in which the people of Huron might deepen their faith. Cursillo weekends are comprised of fifteen talks, with participants supported in the development of their own unique rule of life.

TO RESPOND TO HUMAN NEED BY LOVING SERVICE

            The College of Deacons collected blankets from Synod delegates, and expressed enthusiastic thanks for the tremendous response.
            Camp Wendake is entering its twentieth year. It provides fun and support for those whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS. Parishes were encouraged to support this ministry by considering the sponsorship of a camper.
            The Revd Canon Greg Smith spoke to The Primates World Relief and Development Funds new initiative that focusses on maternal, newborn, and child health. He hopes that each parish will consider holding one or two fundraising events to support this cause.
            Synod attendees also received an update on the work of the Diocesan Refugee Committee and the work of many parishes and deaneries in the area of refugee sponsorship. A highlight for many were the stories shared by Alaa Mokayed and Basel Yasbek, who came to Canada as refugees supported by St. Aidans in London.
           
TO SEEK TO TRANSFORM UNJUST STRUCTURES OF SOCIETY, TO CHALLENGE VIOLENCE OF EVERY KIND AND TO PURSUE PEACE AND RECONCILIATION

            Synod heard from National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald and representatives from Lenni Lenape Algonkian Iroquoian Council (LAIC) and the Bridge Builder ministry, which seeks to foster the restoration of relationships between settler and Indigenous peoples. Delegates were made aware of resources that have been created to facilitate engagement with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action.
            Dorothy Russell-Patterson shared about Brightening the Spirit, Breaking the Silence, a suicide-awareness program. The Revd Rosalyn Elm spoke about the importance of open, honest dialogue and prayer in her experience with the Bridge Builder ministry. Bishop MacDonald similarly underscored the need for fostering relationships rather than grasping at paternalistic strategies that undermine Indigenous self-governance. A motion to continue the ongoing work of the Bridge Builders was carried.
            Social Justice Huron and the Justice League of Huron, which encompass several Diocesan ministries, promoted the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development, with a related prayer resource made available by the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer. A motion was carried that asks parishes and deaneries to explore the Sustainable Development Goals and to consider focussing on one.
            The Diocesan Youth addressed the issues of the underfunding of English (and French) as a Second Language programs, and the troubling living conditions of so many First Nations communities. They provided letters to be signed by Synod members, which were subsequently sent to government representatives in Ottawa.
            A Lutheran-Anglican initiative, the National Worship Conference, was promoted. This years conference takes place in Waterloo from July 24 to 27. Its keynote speakers, workshops, and liturgies will explore the connection between worship and justice-making. Information and registration is available at www.nationalworshipconference.org.

TO STRIVE TO SAFEGUARD THE INTEGRITY OF CREATION AND SUSTAIN AND RENEW THE LIFE OF THE EARTH

            Synod delegates were encouraged to bring water bottles from home. The use of ceramic dishware at the barbecue reflected the Dioceses commitment to environmental responsibility. The EnviroAction Committee revealed that the Synod barbecue resulted in only a half bag of garbage.
            St. James, Stratford  was presented with both a light-green and a medium-green award for the congregations work in environmental stewardship.
            Several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals that were considered throughout Synod relate directly to the care of creation.

            Congratulations to the Revd Karen Kovats and the Revd Dr. Timothy Dobbin, newly appointed to the Cathedral Chapter of Canons. Also, congratulations to the recipient of the Order of Huron, Canon Paul Rathbone, who was recognized for his ministry in administration and finance. Also, it is important to note that Synod ended with a heartfelt expression of gratitude to Bishop Bennett for his years of devotion to the life of the Diocese.
            In her address to Synod, Bishop Nicholls warned against seeking quick fixes to the difficulties faced by the Church. Instead, she called for attentiveness to a spirit of wisdom and revelation. She issued a challenge to those in attendance one that applies equally to all the people of Huron: This year find one new way to deepen your love and knowledge of Christ.
            How will you respond?

Respectfully submitted,


Matthew Kieswetter

Bishops' Announcements - Monday, May 16th, 2016

The Bishop’s Announcements for Monday, May 16th, 2016:            
1.       175th Synod Meeting begins at the London Convention Centre today through Tuesday, May 17th – see you there!

2.       Bishop Bob Bennett has accepted the wish of the Rev’d Victoria Edgeworth-Pitcher to retire, effective August 14th, 2016 with her last Sunday in the parish being June 26th. Vickie was ordained a deacon in the Diocese of Niagara on June 7, 1987 and priested on April 4, 1989.  She came on the strength of the Diocese of Huron in 2006 as the Associate Pastor at St. Mark’s Brantford and Chaplain to Wilfred Laurier University, Brantford Campus though the ministry of Grace Church, Brantford. In September 2010, Vickie became the Incumbent of St. Thomas’, Cambridge, the position from which she retires. Vickie will be honoured with the other retirees at the Synod banquet.

3.       The Bishop of Huron announces that the following will be ordained at a service of Ordination to be held on the Feast of the Visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth, Tuesday, May 31st at 7pm at the Cathedral Church of Saint Paul, London.  Clergy are invited to vest, the colour being white.

Called to the priesthood:
  • The Reverend Mary Farmer, upon priesting,  the Rector of the Parish of Long Point Bay
  • The Reverend Jason Postma, Assistant Curate to the Rector, Parish of Saugeen Shores (St. Paul’s, Southhampton and St. John’s, Port Elgin) with Christ Church, Tara and St.Paul’s, Chatsworth.

Called to the diaconate:
  • Ms. Lorraine Brooks, upon ordination, Deacon with Special Responsibility for Pastoral Care, St. Paul’s, Stratford
  • Mr. Shaun Eaton, upon ordination, Deacon-in-Charge of the Parish of the Holy Spirit (St. Paul’s Clinton and St. Thomas’, Seaforth)
  • Mr. Matthew Kieswetter, upon ordination, Deacon Assistant to the Priest-in-Charge,  St. John the Evangelist, Kitchener
  • Mr. Mark Sceviour, upon ordination, Deacon Assistant to the Rector, St. Jude’s, London
  • Dr. John Thompson, upon ordination, Deacon with Special Responsibility for Outreach, St. John the Evangelist, London
  • Ms. Jean Woon, upon ordination, Deacon with Special Responsibility for Outreach, Trinity, Port Burwell and St. Luke’s, Vienna


More names may be added at a later date.

Please email Cathy Hodgins with the date/time and location of meetings so that they can go on our diocesan calendar.  Cathy’s email address is chodgins@huron.anglican.ca    As an FYI you can find the diocesan calendar at http://www.diohuron.org/calendars/calendars.php

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Synod 2016 - The Bishop's Charge

THE BISHOP’S CHARGE TO THE 175TH SYNOD OF THE DIOCESE OF HURON
PENTECOST 2016
God’s people of Huron:

“Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Cor 1.3)

Welcome each and every one of you to this 175th gathering of the Synod of Huron.  We have travelled from the four directions to be together in Christ.  Welcome Tobermory from the tip of the Bruce in the north.  Welcome Pelee Island located in the midst of Erie in the south.  Welcome Port Dover and Six Nations of the Grand River in the east where the sun rises.  Welcome Amherstburg and Sandwich in the west where the sun sets.  To all the communities of Huron embraced by the four directions; welcome.  On this Feast of Pentecost we gather in our historic Cathedral as God’s-people-in-Christ and in the love of the Holy Spirit to praise the One who is the hope of our salvation.  Our prime directive as Synod-gathered is to discern and be attuned to the Creator’s Will for us both in our particular time and within our unique context. May God bless our time together.

This is my eighth and final Charge as your Diocesan Bishop.  As I suspect you well know, I have announced my intention to retire this fall after some forty-two years of ordained ministry.  Given that approaching reality, I find myself in a strange season of transition as I prepare to pass the mantle of episcopal responsibility to our thirteenth diocesan bishop; Linda Nicholls.  What apt image might capture this passing of the torch?  Bishop Terry in his imitable way suggested that Elijah’s passing of the prophetic mantle to Elisha in 2 Kings might be useful.  Remember the story: it’s both dramatic and impressive.
  • Old Elijah takes his mantle, rolls it up and strikes the waters of the Jordan.
  • The waters part and they pass through on dry land (reminiscent of the Exodus)
  • Elisha asks for a double share of Elijah’s spirit before he departs
  • Elijah responds: “If you see me as I am taken from you, it will be granted.”(2:10.b)
  • And then comes the dramatic exit: Chariots of fire and horses of fire/Elijah ascending into heaven in a whirlwind
  • Elisha picks up Elijah’s mantle, strikes the Jordan, the waters part and he passes through.
  • Mantle passed – all is good.
As dramatic as this prophetic transition is; Linda and I are not Elisha and Elijah (nor would we want to be).  A more appropriate image in this year of the Rio Olympics might be the relay race.  Here we have Bob passing the baton on to Linda.  As I slowdown from full speed, she runs alongside, carefully takes the baton and accelerates to full speed.  Mantle passed – all is good.

Bishop Linda will be with us tomorrow but is unable, because of prior commitments, to join us either tonight or Tuesday.  She also finds herself in a season of transition as she begins episcopal ministry in Huron; a place that is essentially new for her.  I am confident that you will welcome, love, and support her in the same manner you did for Bishop Terry and me.  I have said this often because I think it bears repeating.  We are blessed beyond measure to have Linda as our bishop coadjutor to lead us through both the joys and challenge of our future.
The Bishops’ Charge is in two sections this year which reflect our ‘betwixt and between’ time.  The first section is tonight as I offer my reflection as the outgoing bishop.  Tomorrow first thing, Bishop Linda will cast her initial vision of the way forward.  In preparation for tonight’s address, I perused prior Charges in the hope of detecting ongoing themes that might reflect my passion as your bishop.  They weren’t difficult to find and might actually be obvious for all of us.  I said this in 2013:

“It seems to me that the Christian lifestyle to which we are called can be summarized using the Baptismal Covenant on the one hand and the Anglican Communion’s Marks of Mission on the other.  Rooted in the Triune experience of God, the Baptismal Covenant challenges us to live missionally: to be God’s ‘sent’ people.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu has his imitable clearheaded way of reminding us what it really means to live faithfully when he wrote this: “We learn from the Bible that God is a God who takes sides.  He is not neutral.  God is a God who is always on the side of the poor the oppressed, the little ones who are despised; and it is for this reason that we, his church, have got to be in solidarity with the poor, the homeless, the hungry and the oppressed.”  The Marks of Mission also detail just what living as God’s ‘sent’ people might look like.  The Marks are well known to us; in fact they have become a sort of missional mantra for contemporary Anglicans. (to proclaim God’s Good News/to teach, baptize, and nurture new (and all) believers/to respond to human need by loving service/to oppose injustice, violence of every kind, and pursue peace and reconciliation/to care for the creation)

The Lambeth Conference of 2008 was a defining moment of my episcopate and I suspect for most of the bishops who attended.  The theme of our time together at Canterbury was: Equipping Bishops for Mission.  Here is how we summarized our understanding of God’s Mission (from 2009 Charge) “God’s Mission is holistic; its orientation is toward the redemption of the whole of creation.  For Anglicans, indeed the whole Church, the Gospel is not just the proclamation of individual redemption and renewal, but the renewal of society under the reign of God: the ending of injustice and the restoration of right relationship with God and between human beings and creation. The Gospel given to us by Jesus in the synagogue in Nazareth demands our commitment to the poor, the marginalized, the exploited, the refugees, indigenous peoples, the internally displaced, and victims of war, terror and natural disaster.”

Another recurring theme over the years is rooted in the first two Marks of Mission (to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom/to teach, baptize and nurture new and already believers).We can’t be faithful to the remaining three Marks if we are not grounded in the first two.  You have to say ‘Amen’ to God’s call to be in Holy Relationship.  I said this in 2009:  “God’s love affair with humankind begins at creation.  The ancient elders recount that at the beginning of all things God acted.  Over the face of the dark and formless void, a wind/Spirit from God swept over the face of the waters and God’s Spirit brought forth new life. (Genesis1.1-2) In response to the act of creation, God sang a most beautiful canticle of joy: “and God saw that it was good”. (Genesis 1.10b)  The salvation narrative, from its murky beginnings thru to the glorious vision of the New Jerusalem, reveals an unshakable constant.  God is utterly loving, faithful and unceasingly invites us into deep relationship.  ‘I will be your God and you will be my people’.  This clarion call of the Creator invites us to respond in kind.”

I returned to this theme of giving our ‘Amen’ to God’s invitation to be relationship in 2014 when I said this to Synod. “This evening’s text from the Hebrew Scriptures is also about making choices.  Nearing the end of his life, old Joshua gathers Israel together at Shechem.  His purpose is to recount the community’s tumultuous salvation history, to affirm God’s abiding faithfulness and to challenge the people to respond and make covenant, He then issues the challenge of all challenges: “…choose this day whom you will serve…(Joshua 24.15b)  His response is clear: “..but as for me and my household(my community) we will serve the Lord (Joshua24.15b)  The community that is Israel rises to his challenge: “Therefore we will also serve the Lord, for he is our God” (Joshua 24.18b)  Israel’s response at Shechem resonates for us these many years later.  Each day we also are to make choices: serve the Lord or not. (I want to follow Jesus.  We want to follow Jesus.)  And when we make our choice and say yes, we are always driven into community; a community whose life and health is framed by another covenant- the baptismal Covenant.  First we choose to embrace the triune God. (I believe in God: Creator/ I believe in Jesus: Redeemer/I believe in Holy Spirit: Sanctifier)  Then we covenant to choose a Christian lifestyle. (continuing in the apostles teaching and fellowship, the breaking of the bread and prayers/when we wander away, we return to faith by the Grace of God/we strive to be gospel people by word and example/we strive to seek and serve Christ in all persons loving neighbour as self/we strive to be justice and peacemakers/we strive to sustain and renew the life and health of this fragile earth, our island home.)  Strengthened and uplifted by the Holy Spirit, we are proud Gospel people “in our hearts sanctifying Christ as Lord and always ready to make our defence to anyone who demands from us an account of the hope that it is in us.” (1 Peter 3.15 slightly re-worked)”

If you remember last year’s Synod, we focused on the last mark of mission (to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth).  I attempted to set the stage with these words from the bishops gathered at Lambeth in 2008 “Indigenous peoples have traditional understandings of the earth as a gift of the Creator and of their relationship to it and its creatures being one of interconnectedness and responsible caring.  The indigenous people have reminded us that we are not aliens in a wilderness to be conquered, but integral parts of the created order, as are plants and animals, which are to be cherished and nurtured.”  I also quoted from the Communique issued by bishops gathered in South Africa. “In different ways each of our own dioceses are deeply impacted by climate injustice and environmental degradation.  We accept the evidence of science concerning the contribution of human activity to the climate crisis and the disproportionate role played by fossil-fuel based economies.  We believe the problem is spiritual as well as economic, scientific and political.  For this reason the church must urgently find its collective moral voice”.

The theme for this year’s Synod is congruent with those of our recent past.  Grounded in the experience of Pentecost, we are challenged to reflect personally and corporately about what it means to be God’s ‘sent’ people in the seeming maelstrom of 2016.  Here’s how I framed this dynamic a few years ago.  “Since first beginnings, the Christian Community has had a love/hate … on/off … come close/stay away relationship with the culture.  In fact our particular time presents us with a multitude of unique challenges.  In the world of ‘selfies’, ‘me-ism’, relativism. Nimby-ism, Facebook, texting, Twitter and the like. In such a world the challenge for Christians is to embrace a healthy individuated sense of community, one that is NOT synonymous with local, myopic, inward, selfish, or silo-building.  At our best I think Anglican Christians belong to a ‘community of communities’.  At every level and iteration, we gather ‘in Christ’ to be sent out ‘in Christ’.

In tonight’s reading from John, Jesus offers gifts that enable us to be equal to the task of being a missional (sent) people; gifts that only have to be received.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”    (John 14)   
(Holy Spirit-Holy Peace.)   The Acts reading describes that marvellous experience of birthing, when as at the beginning of all things, the Wind/Spirit of the Creator moved over the face of creation and a Community (The Way) was born.  Just as Jesus promised, Holy Gifts were given and received.  The much loved verse from Micah, which frames our Synod experience this year, answers a most critical question: what does post-Pentecost living look like?  Surely the community’s life must always be multi-faceted and multi-layered (think baptismal covenant, think Marks of Mission) and surely the community’s life must resonate with the words of Micah reaching down through the ages to speak to us tonight:
“….and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

To enable us to be equal to the task of living into Micah’s challenge, we are going to focus on three issues that I suspect weigh on all our hearts at this time.
  • The world-wide refugee crisis
  • What does a faithful response to walk with First Nations people actually look like?
  • Strengthening and deepening our ongoing partnership with our sisters and brothers in Amazonia

To aid us in our quest, we welcome to Synod
  1. Archdeacon Stephen Haig and the Huron Refugee Committee
  2. Bishop Mark MacDonald (NAIB) and the Huron Bridge Builder’s Group
  3. The Reverend Marcos and Lourdes Barros from Brazil (It is our hope that Bishop Saulo, Ruth and son Thomas will join us this summer)
So the life of our 175th Synod lies before us.  As I mentioned previously, this last Charge is more a personal rumination of our time together; a reflection of one who is in transition.   Tomorrow, our soon-to-be new diocesan bishop will pick up the baton and cast her vision of the future that might lie ahead.  Mantle passed – all is good.

Each year at this particular moment in the giving of the Charge, I always gaze out over the assembled community and what do I see: friends, colleagues-in-ministry and above all fellow sojourners on the Way.  Thank you for being you, for being here, and being God’s faithful-in-Christ.  The last words for this my last Charge comes from the Scriptures:
I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus
and your love toward all the saints,and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for youas I remember you in my prayers.I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all glorymay give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him,So that with the eyes of hearts enlightenedyou may know the hope to which he has called you,what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints.”
                                                                                         (Ephesian 1:15-18)
AMEN

For more details about Synod go to:

Synod 2016 - Bishop Linda Nicholls' Address to Synod

Address to Synod 2016
“I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus
and your love toward all the saints,
and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you
as I remember you in my prayers.
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all glory
may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him,
So that with the eyes of your hearts enlightened
you may know the hope to which he has called you,
what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints.”
                                                                                         (Ephesian 1:15-18)

I can think of no better place to begin than in continuity with Bishop Bob’s prayer for our diocese as he closed his charge yesterday evening.   This prayer, found at the opening of the Letter to the Ephesians and traditionally credited  to St. Paul is a prayer of thankfulness, encouragement and yearning for those who received it, to continue to grow into all that God calls them to do and be so that they might know the ‘riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints.’  It is also my prayer for all of you and for us together as we begin our journey of shared ministry for the sake of Christ.

I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you ... I first give thanks for you as you have so wonderfully welcomed me into this diocese showing your love for this particular ‘saint’.  From the day of my election I have been overwhelmed by the cards, e-mails, texts and notes of encouragement and thanksgiving along with the joyfulness of my welcome service on April 16th  - all have touched me deeply.   Your welcome of me speaks well for your welcome of others who come into our midst seeking to find the family of God.

I have heard of your faith as I have started to hear stories about the history of the diocese, stories of particular parishes and to weekly read in the diocesan digest of the many activities and commitments in ministry.   I have heard of your passionate response to the needs of refugee families; shared part of the prayer conference in which 145 people gathered to learn more about Celtic prayer; seen notices of coming events that reach out to those in need or build the life of the community with fun and fundraising; and I have begun to share with parishes in worship.   Over the coming months I look forward to deepening my knowledge of your life and faith as I visit each deanery to meet with the clergy and laity, hear the stories of your communities, and discover where the deepest joys and challenges live for you.

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all glory may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him.   As we face the future we will each need that spirit of wisdom and revelation.   It is no surprise to anyone in this room that the church – here and everywhere – is facing challenges.   Changes in demographics, social expectations, communications and worldviews have caught us unprepared for the rapidity of the changes.     In my episcopal ministry I have frequently met bewildered congregations wondering – What happened?  Why has attendance declined so steeply?   Why do people not want to come to church?   Where are the children and youth?   Just tell us what to do!!

There is no quick fix.   We do need a spirit of wisdom and revelation.   My prayer is that God will provide that wisdom ‘as we come to know him’ …as we pay attention to our own spiritual lives – as we pray, study scripture and meet Christ in worship and service.   If we do not know God as shown to us in Jesus for ourselves – we have nothing to share and sharing is the mandate from Christ – “Go and make disciples of all nations!”  (Matthew 28:16-20)    A key commitment I therefore ask all of us is that we deepen our own discipleship so that we do know Christ and can, through the intimacy of our knowledge, share Christ with passionate joy.  I ask each person in this room – lay, deacon, priest & bishop – to commit to one new way of deepening your knowledge of Christ in this year!  - Join a bible study; find a spiritual director; participate in an Education for Ministry group; go on retreat; covenant with a friend to pray and read scripture together, become a biblical story-teller; engage in theological course….read the whole Bible!  

One of my greatest joys is to sit down and have a conversation about life and faith with someone who has questions.   Parker Palmer, a teacher and mentor I deeply admire, describes the task of teaching not as an expert pouring knowledge as if filling bottles but as a gathering together around a subject that you wish to explore.  The teacher brings alongside the resources and information to assist that exploration and sets the boundaries needed to focus the discussion.   Learning arises from the shared exploration and reflections.   I love to sit down and talk about our faith.  As a teacher I can bring resources of biblical & theological information – not all the answers.   Learning happens when we, together, explore what faith means for us now – here – in this time and place – listening to the wisdom of the past and present, sharing our own experience and discoveries and trusting the presence of God’s Spirit to lead and guide us.   I especially appreciate these opportunities with young people – they ask the best questions. and they will not accept anything but authenticity and frank discussion! They keep me honest about my own questions.

We will do that in the coming months –talk about our faith in small groups in parishes; in deanery gatherings and in diocesan councils.   And in doing that we will discover again and again  deepening of our faith and ability to articulate the faith that is within us for others.

So that with the eyes of your hearts enlightened you may know the hope to which he has called you, 
what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints. We live in a time where people simultaneously seek self-sufficiency & independence while longing for community – strong individualism competes with our need for each other to have a place in community where we are accountable, loved, and cared for.   The hope to which Christ has called us gives us both.   We are loved for who we are in all our gifts, strengths & weaknesses – AND called to be part of the body of Christ where we have a place – where we belong – where our participation in the body matters and our gifts can be honoured and contribute to the well-being of the whole community.   This is true of us as individuals and as parishes.

As individuals we are part of the body of Christ in a parish in mutual commitment.   As parishes you are part of the body of Christ known through the diocese – where each parish is a unique part of the whole – and each part needs the others!   As a diocese we are part of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario and of the whole Anglican Church of Canada our place in these is part of a dynamic whole.   Our Anglican Church of Canada – our ‘beloved church’ – to quote our Primate – is a part of the Anglican Communion – that family of Anglican Churches committed to walking together in Christ and as Anglicans we are part of God’s one, holy, catholic and apostolic church throughout the world.  One of the privileges I deeply enjoy is the opportunity to engage with our wider family in the House of Bishops provincially and nationally, in ecumenical dialogue with Roman Catholics and in coming months with the new Task Group for the Anglican Communion.  I look forward to opportunities to share our diocese with the wider church and to share them with you.   I am so pleased that Huron already has a Companion Diocese relationship with Amazonia through which we can see that wider body of Christ and am delighted that Rev. Marcos and Lourdes are with us today.

I look forward to together strengthening the ways in which we support one another – individually, as parishes and as a diocese.   St. Paul also wrote,  "As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’, nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.'"  (1 Corinthians 12:20-21)   I know there is a tendency in any organization or institution to dislike the ‘next level up’ in authority!   I trust that we will work together remembering that each part of our diocese is there to serve the other parts.   The bishops and diocesan staff; clergy; lay leaders; parishioners – are all team members seeking the ultimate good of God’s kingdom.   We need each other and we must support and trust one another.   I have already discovered the deep commitment of the staff to the life and work of the clergy and parishes and have caught glimpses of the passion and commitment of clergy and laity for their parishes.   One constant surprise and delight for me in episcopal ministry is the creativity of laity, clergy working together with their bishop.  Through the gifts each brings to the table I delight in the possibilities we discover together especially when we formerly saw only difficulties and obstacle.   The wind of the Spirit blows where it will and can and will surprise and delight us if we are waiting and ready.  

This mutual support of one another is also particularly and especially true of our walking together with our indigenous brothers and sisters in Christ – as we work on ways to fulfill the calls to the church of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission - educating ourselves about the history of our involvement in the pain of the past; educating ourselves and clergy, in particular, serving in indigenous communities about indigenous and spirituality and working closely with LAIC around ways to support healing & reconciliation, language, and spiritual life.   Our commitment as an Anglican Church of Canada to ‘walk together’ will call us all to building trust in new ways.

So with Bishop Bob I pray for you and as you to pray for the body of Christ  - for sister & brothers in your parish, deanery, diocese, indigenous partners and the world!   As I begin my ministry among you with St. Paul’s prayer I ask your prayers for me – for strength and stamina in the coming months, for a heart to listen deeply, and wisdom in working with you to find the ways to strengthen our witness in and through the Diocese of Huron.

Come, Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of the faithful!

For more details about Synod go to:
http://hcn.diohuron.org/?p=1932

Synod 2016 - Opening Eucharist in Pictures




For more details about Synod go to:

 

Who | What | Where | News | Contact
Home | Clergy Mail | Calendars | RSS

The Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Huron
190 Queens Avenue
London, Ontario, Canada
N6A 6H7