Around the dioceses, June 2017

Published May 5, 2017

Huron bishop to call for ‘five-year plans’ from each parish

Faced with a number of “very fragile” congregations in the diocese, Huron Bishop Linda Nicholls says she is planning to ask for five-year financial plans from each parish.

“The big picture plan is around the need to stabilize the diocese in terms of the sustainability of parishes because we have a lot of fragile congregations, very fragile,” Nicholls says.

The bishop says she is planning to call on each parish church to develop a five-year plan for financial stability and building upkeep, with measureable benchmarks, at the diocesan synod in May.

At the same time, says Nicholls, churches need to be working at discipleship and “working on why we are the church, working within churches and on the spiritual needs of the community around us.”

She adds, “We don’t have time to wait; we don’t have time for people to wake up to this.”

Nicholls stresses that she will not be “going around closing churches.” The decision on whether to close or remain open will be up to the congregations themselves, she says. However, she adds, “I will be the one who comes around holding up a mirror and say[s], ‘This is what I’m seeing. What are you seeing?’ ”

Four financial “non-negotiables” face churches, she says: balanced budgets; not using reserves for operating costs; paying their full apportionment (contribution to the budget of the diocese); and paying clergy stipends and housing.

Nicholls, who became bishop of the diocese last fall after serving as area bishop for Trent-Durham in the diocese of Toronto, says she was not surprised at the state of parishes when she arrived in her new diocese.

“This is true everywhere,” she says.

At the same time, she adds, she also sees a certain strength of spirit in Anglican congregations.

“What I’ve seen in the church generally, and I see it here, too, is the feistiness of congregations,” she says. “Feistiness is good because we need that stick-to-it-iveness to work through some tough times.”

—Huron Church News


In Vancouver, Iraqi refugee becomes Anglican priest


Fr. Ayoob Shawkat Adwar, a priest in the Chaldean Catholic Church, was received as an Anglican priest at a ceremony in Surrey, B.C., March 26.

The event was a “small but significant piece of history,” says Archdeacon Stephen Rowe, rector of the Anglican Parish of the Church of the Epiphany in Surrey, since Adwar is thought to be the first Chaldean priest in history to have become a member of the Anglican clergy.

Originally from Mosul, Iraq—heartland of the Chaldean church—Adwar was ordained as a Chaldean priest in 2008. His family began to arrive in Canada about five years ago, and Adwar himself followed in 2014, when he was granted refugee status.

At around the same time, a group of Chaldeans began worshipping at the Church of the Epiphany. In Advent 2014, Melissa Skelton, bishop of New Westminster, gave her permission for a Chaldean Rite Mass to take place at the church. Over time, Anglicans and Chaldeans at the church started attending each other’s services and learning more about each other’s traditions.

Meanwhile, Adwar had declared an interest in becoming an Anglican priest, and began a discernment process. He was confirmed as an Anglican in December, 2016; that ceremony, like his reception as an Anglican priest, was presided over by Skelton.

Adwar, who is fluent in both Arabic and modern Aramaic—a Middle Eastern language derived from the language of Jesus—will serve as a curate in the diocese of New Westminster, working with an experienced Anglican priest.




Habitat for Humanity seeks help from faith groups for major Canadian project


Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, will be in Canada this summer to take part in the construction of 150 new homes with Habitat for Humanity—and an Anglican priest with the home-building charity is encouraging faith groups to get involved.

In honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary, Habitat for Humanity has chosen Canada as the site of this year’s Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project, an annual project that features the participation of the Carters themselves, supporters of the charity since the 1980s. The project will see the construction of 150 homes in several Canadian cities, with the focus on Winnipeg and Edmonton. It will be Habitat’s largest Canadian construction project to date.

“We’re creating new hope and possibilities for families to break out of the cycle of poverty,” says the Rev. Armand Mercier, who is rector at Edmonton’s church of St. Stephen the Martyr as well as director of family services for Habitat for Humanity Edmonton.

Mercier says the project, which will involve 75 new homes in Edmonton alone, will require the help of an estimated 1,100 volunteers around July 9-13, when the Carters will be in Edmonton. Faith communities are encouraged to contribute either labour or lunches at the sites, he says.

Helping families become homeowners, Mercier says, is a “meaningful and spiritually fulfilling” challenge.

Information on volunteering for the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project can be found at< Volunteers need not have previous construction experience or skills.

—The Messenger



Toronto church aims to become ‘food hub’ for neighbourhood


The Church of the Epiphany and St. Mark, in Toronto’s diverse Parkdale neighbourhood, is planning to become a “food hub,” involved in growing, preparing and providing food for the local community.

“We’re concerned that healthy, culturally appropriate food will become more and more unaffordable,” says the Rev. Jason McKinney, associate priest. “Food has been identified by the neighbourhood as a need, and the church is in a position to contribute something towards that.”

The idea originated in 2013, when the Jeremiah Community, a local Anglican new monastic group, moved into the church building. Jeremiah Community members were looking for ways to connect with the neighbourhood, and hit upon the idea of offering a space where food could be distributed to local people, McKinney says. The idea began to take shape when the church began to make connections with local groups concerned about development in the neighbourhood.

“It became an idea of multiple organizations collaborating, ideally in a single space, by sharing resources and trying to think about creative solutions to food insecurity,” he says.

Food hub organizers plan, among other things, to increase the capacity of an urban garden just outside the church. Meanwhile, one of the church’s two industrial kitchens could be upgraded to process food from the garden.

“The biblical story begins in the garden and ends in a feast,” McKinney says. “Food is central to the ministry of Jesus. Food is central to the ongoing sacramental presence of Jesus within the people of God today.”

—The Anglican

N.B. church provides charity meals made by kids


A rural New Brunswick church is providing meals for local people in need of prepared food—made by some of the smallest people in the congregation.

For more than a year and a half, children at St. Ann’s, Westcock, outside Sackville, N.B., have been taking part in “Feed My Sheep,” a Sunday school program devised by parishioner Kim Grant. One Sunday monthly at 9:30 a.m., Grant gathers with at least 15 children ages 2-13, a retired Sunday school teacher and two or three parents in the church kitchen. While their parents worship, the children and their supervisors prepare an entire menu—a chili, stew or soup, a biscuit or breadstick and a dessert. When the service finishes, the children and their parents take the food to 12-18 recipients in the community. These include, for example, people in palliative care or people recovering from surgery who would find it hard to make meals for themselves.

“The kids are very excited to get to the door at the delivery,” Grant says. “They understand the idea of helping others, and they understand it doesn’t matter whether it’s someone from our church.”

The program was inspired partly by a Christian study looking at ways of helping children learn to succeed in ways that will help them later in life. Summer camp and mission work were two activities the study identified, Grant says.

Children understand what ministry means—even if adults don’t often entrust them with it, she says.

“Kids want to give and want to do for others,” she adds. “But we don’t always give them the opportunities.”

—The New Brunswick Anglican


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