Former prolocutor receives merit award

Published February 1, 2005

The primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, applauds Amy Newell, after presenting her with the Anglican Award of Merit, the highest honour for an Anglican lay person, at St. George’s, Fitzroy Harbour, Ont.

Fitzroy Harbour, Ont.

Amy Newell is a treasure, not only for her parish but for the whole Anglican Church of Canada as well as a gift to the Anglican Communion, said the primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, in presenting her with the Anglican Award of Merit.

The presentation of the award, the highest for a lay member, was made on Sunday, Jan. 2, at her parish church of St. George’s, Fitzroy Harbour, Ont., just west of Ottawa.

“Now it would give you some insight into Amy’s nature, (and I know that you know that already, better than I do),” the primate told the congregation, “that I proposed that this presentation be made yesterday in the cathedral church of the diocese (in Ottawa) on the first day of the year, and Amy said ‘no thank you, I would rather get this in my parish church.'”

There are those in the church, he said, who believe that this kind of award is inappropriate, because everybody’s witness and ministry is of equal value in the eyes of God.

That is true, he added, but on the other hand “we do this … because we need to recognize exceptional contributions to the life of the church.”

The primate noted that Ms. Newell’s service to the church had not been “a bowl full of cherries.” He recalled a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) in Winnipeg in 1994, where Ms. Newell was called upon to preside at the gathering of the church’s governing body as the then-primate Michael Peers was on sabbatical.

“Our task was to reduce the national budget by about 30 per cent. And that meant a number of jobs came to an end, a number of pieces of ministry had to be wound up, and many people laid off,” he recalled. “It was probably the most difficult meeting of that council I’ve ever attended and Amy did a graceful and wonderful job of steering that through.”

In her response, Ms. Newell said she had been truly blessed by God for having years of loving support from her family, for having grown up in a Christian family with a deep faith and service to the Lord, and she has been happy to be able to carry on that tradition.

At the presentation, Ellie Johnson, director of partnerships for the Anglican Church of Canada, listed “just a few snips” from Ms. Newell’s work in the church. Her involvement began with the Anglican Church Women, both at the parish level and then at the diocesan level. She has also been involved in a number of national consultations, including a ministry consultation with the Church of England in 1987 and 1988.

She was a member of the Partners in Mission committee for six years (three years as chair); she also chaired the church’s residential schools review group and served as prolocutor of General Synod from 1992 to 1995, often chairing sessions of the NEC, the church’s governing body between meetings of General Synod.

Brian Sarjeant is editor of Cross-talk, the newspaper of the diocese of Ottawa.


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