Church Vitality – week 4
Church Vitality: The church vitality team is a group that has been tasked by Cathedral Committee to help our congregation delve deeper into active discipleship—–to “stir up” a fresh transfusion of excitement for being a member of St. Paul’s Cathedral by facilitating thought and discussion centered on the recent Charge from Bishop Jane to The Assembly of The Territory of the People. So the vitality team will be sending out over the
course of several weeks via Claire’s weekly information emails, highlights or key points put forth in the Bishop’s
Charge. We encourage all members of St. Paul’s Cathedral to read, reflect on, and dialogue on these highlights. She poses quite a few questions and many good answers. We will have an opportunity to discuss these when we come together in the fall with our new Dean.
Highlights from Bishop Jane Alexander’s Charge to the 2022 Assembly of The Territory of The People
11. We have benefited greatly from ecumenical partnerships across the territory which bring a shared vision for ministry to a particular area. Ecumenical partnerships are part of the flavour of the Territory but in addition three Anglican parishes in Prince George and Quesnel have done incredible work in identifying
and encouraging the gifts of their congregations and in developing a possible new model for ministry.
This past season they have been asking themselves hard questions under the facilitation of Rev. Canon Richard Lesueur as to what the future holds. It has not been an easy process and it is not finished but they are necessary conversations. I wonder what are the necessary conversations you need in your parish communities? In addition to ecumenical partnerships, we also have a wonderful interfaith ministry in Prince George out of St. Michael’s church.
12. Across the territory I have seen terrific examples of ministry to those most in need, through thrift stores such as in the North Thompson Ecumenical Shared Ministry, and community closets like the one in St. Timothy’s Hundred Mile House, soup ministry like that in St. Albans, Ashcroft. God is calling new things too in this area with proposed ministry in St. Peter’s, Williams Lake. In some places losing homes, possessions and church building would make a community throw up their hands and say “we are done” but speak to Angus, and Ursula, Amy, Pauline and Ernie and Isabel about what that has looked like in Lytton, in Merritt and out along the Nicola valley.. The message to the communities is that we are still here, we are walking this tough road with you.
One of my favourite passages of scripture is this one from Matthew 25. “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
Across the territory you see those who are hungry, thirsty, sick or troubled and you do something about it. That’s important, because now more than ever people want to know what the church is about. We need to not be shy about sharing the reason for the work and ministry that we do. Jesus. That’s the Reason.
13. In some places in the Canadian church there is incredible difficulty in getting people to come forward for lay leadership, but here in the Territory you have about 40 Lay ministers of word and sacrament. What a blessing! I believe that over the next year it is time to unpack that ministry a little more –especially in the light of the need to be outside inviting people into community. I also believe that more than a few of these folk have a call to ordained ministry too. It is my hope that now that we are able to gather in person we will offer a study retreat for our Lay ministers this Fall. It’s about helping people to discover who they are in Christ through relational ministry. We need to train and equip leaders and I believe we need to do it now.
I have said that we have major challenges and indeed we do, but as we end our time together this weekend what are we going to be doing. Well, God-willing, we will have ordained a new priest Linda, We will have installed 3 new pastoral elders Ursula, Pauline and Ernie. We will have set our faces to the dawn and said ‘we are here, we are not going anywhere, so give us your vision O Lord.’
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