IT’S HARD to believe that 10 years have passed since we ushered in the new millennium. It’s hard to believe that 15 years ago, on Jan. 18th—The Confession of St. Peter—I was ordained bishop. At my consecration, I remember Archbishop Michael Peers pointing out that in episcopal ministry one experiences a shift from a depth of pastoral relationships within a parish family to a breadth of pastoral relationship within a diocesan family and in the wider circles of the Church. To this day, I remember the movement of his hands as he made the point.
And now, two and a half years into the ministry of primacy, I appreciate Michael’s point even more. For now I travel from coast to coast to coast and throughout the world representing our beloved Church. I consider it an enormous privilege and I am very grateful for the warmth of welcome and for experiences of grace beyond my imagining. I’ve learned that an important part of this ministry is sharing stories of faithful witness across the country. I see a Church committed to:
- celebrating the gospel through excellence in liturgy and preaching
- faith in action through ministries of outreach and advocacy
- pastoral and sacramental ministry in Canada’s northern communities
- accepting the invitation of indigenous peoples to walk with them in healing and reconciliation, and self-determination
- changing lives and changing communities through The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF)
- growing partnerships across the world through the Volunteers in Mission, the International Internship Program for Theological Students, the Companion Diocese Program
- increasing refugee sponsorship
- imagining new and fresh ways of being church
- honouring our commitments to the life and witness of the Anglican Communion as a whole
- discerning more fully the potential of Full Communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
- deepening our commitment to ecumenical and interfaith conversations
- recognizing the need for a stronger prophetic voice in society
- owning our sacred obligation as stewards of God’s creation.
In so much that I see and hear I am moved to say with St. Paul,
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you…thankful for our partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5). In the variety of ministries to which we are called, may God give us grace to be steadfast.
Archbishop Fred Hiltz is primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.