This article is dedicated to all those who have made a significant contribution to their parish, but have not received any recognition for their years of service after they retire. I’m not suggesting that the church is remiss in thanking those who offer their time and gifts, but due to different circumstances, sometimes people fall through the cracks, unless someone champions their contribution. In the exceptional times in which we live this can easily happen.
First, I would like to encourage you to celebrate those you may know in your parish who have made a significant contribution to the church; also to write an article about them for The HighWay. Second, I would like to recognize my partner, Micahel Lavender’s lifetime of dedication to the church, even though she continues to help with the editing and production of The HighWay, she retired as a Lay Minister in the Anglican Church, after 30 years of service.
In recent times, until Kokanee parish could afford a full time priest and incumbent, Micahel was a Lay Minister of Word and Sacrament at St Michael and All Angels, Balfour, with a special license to administer reserved sacrament. She performed this service in Kootenay Diocese from 2007 until 2018.
However, her vocation began in 1988, while attending St James Anglican Church in Perth, Ontario. It was under the auspices of Canon Cameron Cairns that Micahel became a paid parish visitor and a Licensed Lay Eucharistic Minister (LEM), leading services at three charges.
While working in these capacities, she received a call to ministry and began attending Carleton University. She then took courses in both Religious Studies and Sociology through Queens University. Then she returned to University full time, commuting to Queens University in Kingston ON, and earning a B.A. in Sociology with minors in Religious and Jewish Studies. Upon graduation, she applied to the Anglican Church in Canada to enter formal discernment for Ordination to the Priesthood, while attending seminary at St Paul University at Ottawa University, where she earned a BTh, cum laude.
After completing seminary Micahel was employed by St Stephen’s Anglican Church in Ottawa, as a paid employee to support, coordinate, and chair, small groups and volunteers in their lay ministries. She was then led to consider completing her formal education and applied to CDSP in Berkley, California, and was accepted by Dr. Countryman to work on her PhD there under his guidance.
After relocating to the United States, Micahel was employed as Hospital Chaplain for Ecumenical Hospital Ministry of Marin County, (ECHM). She was accepted on the Diaconal Program and was in discernment for Deacon in the Episcopal Church. Unfortunately, she took on too much work and experienced “burn out.” This led her to consider returning to Canada.
In 2001, as a family, we moved to Nelson, BC, as that was where our son Christopher was currently residing. And after a time of respite Micahel began broadcasting a radio show on CJOH (Kootenay Coop Radio). The show was called “Spirits Path” where she interviewed people from all faiths and all types of spiritual paths. In addition, Micahel became licensed by the Bishop of Kootenay as a Lay Reader and Lay Eucharistic minister, and attended St Michael and All Angels Anglican church, in Balfour, where she lead services every two weeks. There she continued her lay ministry until the church in Nelson hired a full time priest. Feeling her work in the church was complete, she retired from lay ministry in 2018.
I’m sure you will all join me in saying, “Well done Micahel for your significant contribution to the Anglican Church in Canada, as a Lay Minister.”