Dear People of Kootenay,
Greetings in the name of Christ,
Blessings as we exit the season of Autumn when we take deep breaths of fresh air as cooler temperatures and rain clear the smoke; when we harvest our gardens and enjoy the beauty and abundance of creation.
We celebrate the appointment of our new Executive Officer, The Rev. Chris Parsons, and if you haven’t had a chance to read his introduction it is reprinted in the Kootenay Contact. I look forward to welcoming him here in January to join our Synod staff team.
Two things about the wider church I want to alert you to. On September 16, I was in Kamloops for an electoral assembly for the Territory of the People (the archbishop of a Province presides at elections and consecrations of bishops). There was only one candidate for bishop of the Territory, so the ballot was a choice of confirming that candidate as their bishop or beginning with a new electoral process. The Territory chose to elect the Ven. Clara Plamondon, archdeacon from Nanaimo, to be their next bishop. Please pray for her and for the Territory as she begins this new ministry with them. A consecration date will be set soon. I have worked closely with Clara as she has been prolocutor for the Province; she brings strong leadership gifts and a pastoral heart.
This September I was in Sorrento Centre for the Provincial Council meeting. We meet three times a year, two meetings on zoom and one in person. Kootenay’s reps on this council are Cathy Haig and the Venerable Chris Ross. I commend to you for your parish a video produced by the Provincial Social Eco-Justice group for the Season of Creation.
We had spacious time together for conversation about structural changes that will serve the mission of the Province into the future. Yes, conversations about structure! These are happening at every level of the church. We used stories from the book of Nehemiah of rebuilding the temple after the exile, asking what rubble has to be cleared away before we can build a more effective and simplified church structure to meet today’s challenges. Much like our suitcase exercise we did at Synod in May: if we are repacking our suitcase as a church, what was useful in the past that no longer serves us and needs to be taken out of our suitcase? What else do we need to pack along now?
The Ecclesiastical Province is gathering for a Summit in November with the bishops and two other reps from each of the six dioceses to deepen our conversation about how we can partner more effectively to share resources in the province. Joining me from Kootenay will be Andrew Stephens-Rennie and Rick Pallen. Rick is a lay person from All Saints Vernon, a member of both the Structures Working Group and Diocesan Council, who brings professional experience of helping organizations to down-size.
The Primate has begun a national commission and I am delighted that she has appointed the Rev. Canon Nick Pang to that work. Our provincial work will feed into this national work too.
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Andrew Stephens-Rennie as Director of Missional Renewal for the Diocese of Kootenay. This position was authorized by our Special Synod in May to coordinate the implementation of the “Path Forward” report from the Structures Working Group. He will work with me to support and provide tools for parishes in transition. He will also work with me, the Executive Archdeacon, and other leaders on structural renewal in the diocese.
Andrew began part-time in September and started full-time in October. At present, this is a two-year position. Andrew is an adaptive leader who brings many gifts and relevant experience to this position. For the past three years, he has been a Missioner for Valhalla parish St. David’s, Castlegar, and St. Stephen’s, New Denver. In this interim position, he coordinated and supported worship, pastoral care, and parish life through the pandemic and time of transition in the parish, to help them clarify their call to mission to the community, as well as working with the West Kootenay Region plans for a regional parish.
Please pray for all these consultations. At heart is how together we best serve God’s mission!