Church appraises episcopal visitor

By on June 1, 2004

The arrangement made by the diocese of New Westminster to provide pastoral care through an episcopal visitor to churches opposed to same-sex blessings has worked for the first parish which accepted this special ministry, its rector said. The assessment comes a year into the arrangement between St. Clement’s church, North Vancouver, and retired bishop William Hockin.(A second parish, St. Thomas, Chilliwack, has recently requested an episcopal visitor, according to Neale Adams, communications officer of the diocese.)In an interview, Rev. Sarah Tweedale said that the pastoral care provided to St. Clement’s by Bishop Hockin, former bishop of Fredericton, who was appointed as episcopal visitor by Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster last year “has been wonderful.” She added: “The benefit has been the encouragement of a senior pastor who shares our concern at the shift in the pastoral practice of the church, and who speaks my language to a great extent and therefore with whom I feel safe to live into and through some rough waters.” Bishop Hockin, who lives on the east coast, has visited the parish three times and was also present for the Holy Week and Easter celebration, said Ms. Tweedale. “He preached, celebrated, met with the parish for informal meetings, met with leaders and with me personally,” she said. “He has offered affirmation, encouragement, teaching and pastoral care.” She clarified, however, that Bishop Hockin’s “validation and encouragement comes not as a replacement for, but as supplemental to the episcopal care of our bishop.” She said that she continues to have a good working relationship with Bishop Ingham. Asked whether an episcopal visitor was something that she would recommend to other New Westminster parishes that opposed same-sex blessings, she said, “My disappointment has been that nobody considered it and a priori (without facts) dismissed it. Its breadth and meaning has not been tried and found wanting.”

Author

  • Marites N. Sison

    Marites (Tess) Sison was editor of the Anglican Journal from August 2014 to July 2018, and senior staff writer from December 2003 to July 2014. An award-winning journalist, she has more that three decades of professional journalism experience in Canada and overseas. She has contributed to The Toronto Star and CBC Radio, and worked as a stringer for The New York Times.

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