A report card to Emily, age 7

Published January 1, 2005

January in many ways is a very strange month. The weather across the country is often at its worst, and many are still suffering from the excesses of the Christmas season. Yet, it is also a time of new beginnings with resolutions at least being in our minds. I find that January is also a time for assessment as we look back over the last year and plan for decisions that we will need to make in 2005.

I recently celebrated the six-month anniversary of my installation as primate and thought that I would look back over that period to share a few thoughts. I am reminded of what the French author Antoine de St. Exupéry said in that magnificent book for children of all ages The Little Prince: “‘Then you shall judge yourself’, the king answered. ‘That is the most difficult thing of all. It is much more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself rightly, then you are indeed a man of true wisdom.'”

I think back to when it all began. At the time of my election at General Synod in St. Catharines, Ont., a children’s day was being held. One child named Emily (age 7) made me a card. What Emily told me to do as primate was to teach people about God and the Holy Spirit, read the Bible, learn new things and have fun.

I am doing my best to follow Emily’s advice and indeed it is fun to be primate. In the past six months I have visited over half of the dioceses in our country. What I have found is a church that is vibrant and alive. I have had conversations with people through my Web casts and e-mails that have allowed them to share with me their thoughts about ministry, faith, and how they care for one another. I am impressed by the generosity of so many people who use time, talent and treasure to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

What I do see in many places are thinking Anglicans who do not always agree, but who care deeply for each other with a sense of respect and Christian charity. I see the same qualities in the house of bishops and in the Council of General Synod. The number of young people I see involved in our church from coast to coast to coast, who are making a valuable contribution to their communities, also excites me. So Emily, I want you to know that I am having fun, and my joy is in seeing the gospel proclaimed in you and others who are part of this church. Happy New Year!

Archbishop Andrew Hutchison is primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.


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