|Posted: 14 Sep 2012 05:17 PM PDT
I was at the installation of a new rector at St John’s, Shaughnessy the other night. It was an extraordinary event – the arrival of a new priest to minister in a place which has been greatly fought over. It is one of the congregations where significant numbers of people left the Anglican Communion rather than remain in a diocese where there was the possibility of same-sex couples having their relationships blessed in some churches. There were subsequent legal cases over the property which I’ll never know enough about to understand in their entirety, suffice to say that the legal process determined that the property was held in trust by the diocese for Anglicans to minister and worship in this place. In other words, those leaving could not take the building with them.
In this way, that church became a symbol of the inability of some Anglicans to contain their disagreements within the bonds of affection which had previously held them together.
A page has now turned and a new ministry there has begun. People turned out the other night to pray for those engaged in building up the congregation again. The Diocese of New Westminster is moving on. These troubles have not been without great cost for all involved. Yet new beginnings are being made.
I have to say that the liturgy of induction is considerably improved by timing the closing procession just at the moment when the garden sprinkler system turns on. The delighted squeals and giggles from the clergy as they were baptised with garden hoses should be part of every service marking a new ministry.
I go to many installation and induction services. Very often they can seem very much alike. One becomes aware that our ability to chose hymnody for such occasions is limited by the paucity of the repertoire of many a congregation. However, I found myself hearing and singing the gradual hymn at St John’s Shaughnessy more prayerfully and attentively than usual.
Be still, for the power of the Lord
And I say, Amen.
Michael Fuller’s induction bulletin and recording here
The Provost of St.Mary’s Scottish Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow, Father Kelvin Holdsworth, is presently on Sabbatical Leave from his diocese, and has recently visited the Diocese of New Westminster in Canada as part of his study leave.
Kelvin’s description of the occasion of the installation of a new ministry at the Church of St. John’s, Shaughnessy (New Westminster), speaks of a new era of peace in that parish of the Canadian Anglican Church, which once divided on the issue of Same-Sex Blessings.
The new Rector, Father Michael Fuller, is all set to lead the renewal of St. John’s, which had suffered the loss of members of the congregation earlier in its history, but which is since firmly re-established within the traditional openness to same-sex persons of the Anglican Church of Canada.
I look forward to further reports from Fr. Kelvin as he proceeds on his sabbatical trip.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand,