Canon (lay) David Jones says he’s optimistic for the future of the church as he looks forward to his retirement as chancellor of General Synod in September.
Jones has served as a chancellor in the Anglican church for 28 years, first for his home diocese of Edmonton, then for the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land and for the past 13 years at the national church level. During his time in the volunteer position, he says, he’s had the pleasure to serve three diocesan bishops, two provincial metropolitans and two primates of the national church.
Jones stressed that he was confident that after his departure the church would have the leadership it needed to face the challenges before it.
“I’m not leaving because I’m not optimistic. I’m leaving because I’ve done it for a very long time and it’s time for me to go and to perhaps do some other things. The institution’s in good hands.”
Jones, who is 74 years old, is also a practicing lawyer and, along with his wife, Anne De Villars, the author of a textbook on administrative law in Canada. He says though he is retiring as chancellor, he will continue to work at his family’s law practice alongside De Villars and one of their daughters, Victoria Jones.
To a church facing a variety of contentious issues, ranging from lingering controversy after the 2019 vote on same-sex marriage to the ongoing impact of residential schools to the controversial governance changes postponed at this summer’s General Synod, Jones offered a parting call for patience and mutual trust among church members.
“The church doesn’t necessarily move instantly and these questions are going to continue. But I do think we need trust. And of course trust is earned,” he says.
Among the highlights from his time as chancellor, Jones names his work in helping draw up Canon XXII, which laid the groundwork for the self-determining Indigenous Anglican church.
At the end of General Synod 2023, Nicholls announced the creation of the David P. Jones Preaching Fund, a fund set up in partnership with the Anglican Foundation of Canada, dedicated to helping applicants with fees for conferences and courses to enhance and develop their preaching.