Across the Church: January 2019

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Curry and Makgoba honour retiring Archbishop Johnson at dinner

Friends and colleagues paid tribute to retiring Archbishop Colin Johnson, bishop of the diocese of Toronto, at the 57th annual Bishop’s Company Dinner in Toronto Oct. 19, 2018, including two well-known leaders in the Anglican Communion who made surprise video appearances.

Bishop Michael Curry, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church (United States) and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, archbishop of Cape Towne and primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, each appeared in short videos to thank Johnson for his ministry and wish him well in his retirement.

In his video, Curry said it had been a privilege to work with Johnson over the years and to learn from him. “You’ve been a voice for those who often do not have a voice. You’ve been a voice of reconciliation, bringing together people of different persuasions and perspectives, bringing us together as a people of God,” he said.

Makgoba said Johnson has served the diocese of Toronto and the wider church with distinction, “bringing your administrative vocation and your pastoral heart together.”
Five hundred thirty-five people attended the sold-out dinner, which is held each year to raise funds to help clergy and families in need and to provide scholarships for theological students.

Billed as a farewell gala for Johnson, the evening included storytelling and speeches from Johnson’s friends and colleagues in the diocese of Toronto, as well as a wide-ranging conversation between Johnson and former CBC Radio News host Judy Maddren.
Johnson is succeeded by Bishop Andrew Asbil.

—The Anglican

Parish votes to proceed with major affordable housing project

The parish of Christ Church, Bells Corners (CCBC) in the diocese of Ottawa has approved plans for a four-storey building with 35 units of affordable housing. The project represents a big step forward in a diocesan campaign to create 125 new affordable housing units by 2021, the diocese’s 125th anniversary.

The CCBC vestry council approved the parish’s feasibility study, providing a strong mandate to proceed with the 35-unit building. The parish has applied for an Action Ottawa Grant for $4.7 million, which channels federal-provincial funding to support housing for low-income residents of the city of Ottawa. CCBC expects to know by year-end if the grant has been approved. Meanwhile, it is using a grant from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to cover the costs of rezoning and geotechnical surveys.
If all goes as expected, construction will begin next year, with a target date for completion in late 2020 and tenants taking up residency in 2021.

Another promising development toward the diocese’s goal of 125 new housing units was the early-November opening of Cornerstone’s Princeton Avenue building, which offers affordable units with support for 42 women. Twenty-eight parishes have supported that project, many by providing or sharing in the cost—$6,500 to $75,000—to furnish and outfit common areas and apartments.

—Crosstalk

Anglican, Lutheran colleges hold first joint service

Two Saskatoon, Sask., theological colleges held a joint All Saints’ Day service on November 1, the first time the Anglican and Lutheran colleges have prepared and offered worship as a single community.

For the past two years, Lutheran Theological Seminary (LTS) and the College of Emmanuel & St. Chad, which have shared a building since 2006, have taken turns leading a weekly service of Holy Communion, which members of both institutions attend. Students from the two colleges work in shared ministry settings and are eligible to serve in either denomination.

For the All Saints’ Day service, students and staff from each college planned the service together and shared leadership roles. The Rev. Ann Salmon, dean of chapel at LTS, and the Rev. Iain Luke, principal of Emmanuel & St. Chad, proposed the idea of intentional collaboration once a term, and perhaps more often in the future.

The service was an application of the Waterloo Declaration, which opened up full communion between the two churches, including the “freedom to use each other’s liturgies.” It followed the rites of the Evangelical Lutheran Worship book, with an Anglican priest presiding. Next time, a Lutheran pastor will lead, using the Book of Alternative Services.

Saskatoon is the only site in Canada where Lutheran and Anglican seminaries are in partnership. The Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada have been in full communion since 2001.

—The Saskatchewan Anglican

Lay leaders gather for Vocations North discernment meeting

Nine lay leaders in The Pas archdeaconry in the diocese of Brandon took part in Vocations North, a discernment gathering October 18-20, to explore the possibilities of ordination.
The discernment gathering was created as a way to offer discernment to lay leaders in northern communities who may find themselves outside the traditional discernment mechanisms of the Anglican Church of Canada, one that would “fit culturally, linguistically, and contextually within the setting in northern Manitoba,” according to the Rev. Kara Mandryk, co-ordinator for Henry Budd College for Ministry in The Pas, Man.

Many communities in the northern half of the diocese of Brandon are served by lay leaders and catechists, says Mandryk.

Six Cree and three non-Indigenous “seekers” and one Métis, one non-Indigenous and four Cree “listeners” participated in Vocations North. Discernment groups were divided along linguistic lines in order to provide “a safe place where questions could be asked” in participants’ first language.

Elders and listeners, including Bishop Larry Beardy, suffragan bishop for the Northern Manitoba Area of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh, shared stories of their own calls to ministry. Those gathered also took part in teaching times, worship and traditional Indigenous ceremony.

In the coming weeks and months, seekers and listeners will participate in follow-up conversations, and “we hope to see some ordinations in the near future,” says Mandryk.

—The Mustard Seed

Diocese of New Westminster runs first ‘Queerest and Dearest Camp’

Thirty-seven people aged two to 59 gathered for five days in August 2018 for the first-ever Queerest and Dearest Camp, an initiative of the diocese of New Westminster. According to Anne Kessler, the Children, Youth and Families Ministry co-ordinator at Christ Church Cathedral, the camp was “an intergenerational Christian camp for LGBTQIA2S+ people and their families, whoever that may be—birth families, adoptive families, chosen families, extended families and of course, church families!”

Anglican, Lutheran, Baptist, Mormon, Jewish and Muslim campers attended, as well as people of no faith.

Campers participated in traditional summer camp activities, such as boating, swimming, hiking, crafts, archery and climbing, along with daily worship and Bible studies focused around queer and trans theologies.

“My favourite part of camp was getting to be in a community of people who shared my experiences of being a Queer Christian, not just one part or the other, but both, together,” said Kessler.

The camp was funded by the Anglican Initiatives Fund, as well as individual donations totalling more than $3,000 toward bursaries.

—Topic

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