On Sunday, January 18, the Feast of the Confession of Peter, I will join Bishop Geoff Peddle in Upper Island Cove, Nfld., to celebrate with the faithful in Christ their 200th anniversary as a parish. It will be the first anniversary of his consecration as a bishop and the 20th of my own.
As a suffragan bishop working with Archbishop Arthur Peters of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, I learned a lot about a prayerful, conscientious and gracious approach to the exercise of episcopal ministry.
As diocesan bishop, I was blessed to have a very dedicated staff at the synod office. In “the care of all the churches,” our archdeacons and regional deans were wonderful partners in the ministry of episcope. One of those archdeacons, Sue Moxley, would succeed me as bishop and another, Ron Cutler, would succeed her.
When I was elected primate in June 2007, I felt completely overwhelmed by so broad a ministry. At times I still do, but I press on with the support of an incredibly gifted staff at Church House and a host of others throughout our church who serve the General Synod, the Pension Office, the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund and the Anglican Foundation of Canada.
By far the greatest delight in this ministry is to visit dioceses and parishes all across the country. In every place I am grateful for the warmth of the welcome I receive. Invariably people will say to me, “It is good to meet the ‘Fred’ we pray for every week.” I usually respond by saying, “Thank you. It’s in the strength of your prayers that I go about my daily work.” Your prayers for grace and guidance, wisdom and insight, patience and perseverance in the way of Christ are a blessing I cherish deeply.
As I give thanks for that blessing, I invite you to join me on January 18 in giving thanks for our beloved church and its commitment to God’s mission in the world, and praying for all our bishops, clergy, congregations and chaplaincies.
“Pour upon them the continual dew of thy blessing, O God, that knowing the healthful spirit of thy grace they may truly and devotedly serve thee to the honour and glory of thy name, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.”
(Adapted, Prayer for Clergy and People, Book of Common Prayer)
Archbishop Fred Hiltz is primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.