Responses to Questions provided by Search Committee – David Warren

1.     What interests you about the ministry of the Bishop Ordinary?

In my role as Chaplain to the Deployment Command Staff in 2006, I introduced myself as the person who would walk with you the Members being deployed through “the valley of the shadow of death.” I am deeply committed to the ministry of presence. Those who walk into the valley of shadows need to know that someone walks with them. They do not serve or minister alone. A chaplain, and by virtue of relationship his/her family, carry not only their own burdens but also those to whom they minister. Who is there for them? Taking this to its broadest context, participation in the Councils of the Church should always seek to enhance the common need to proclaim and provide living expressions of God’s compassion and grace. It is the heart our ministry and mission. Whoever is selected for this position, I hope and pray, will be someone who will walk beside the people of God. Someone who can encourage the faint hearted and empower those who lead. The Church has been blessed with AMOs and chaplains, who, exemplifying a living dynamic faith, have produced faithful servants of Christ, both lay and ordained, who in turn have made the glorious grace of God visible and celebrated. My interest is that this “light” never be diminished.

The position and status of the AMO is at a major crossroads of opportunity. With the election of an Anglican Bishop Ordinary by those the Bishop is called to serve comes the opportunity to enhance the already positive connection between the Bishop and those who minister and receive ministry from the Anglican Communion. Since the position is less administrative than that of a Diocesan Bishop, this individual is given the great privilege and opportunity to focus on supporting, encouraging, and celebrating those they have been called to lead. This core ministry, practiced in a national position, cannot help but enhance the faithfulness of individuals, communities and the Anglican Communion as a whole. I pray, as this historic electoral process moves forward, that those who faithfully participate are also courageous in their support of this wonderful opportunity God has provided.

2.    Please describe why you discern you are suited to the ministry of the Bishop Ordinary emphasizing how your perceived gifts relate to those listed in the call for nominations letter.

Like David of Wales, my peers have asked me to rise to the challenge of the AMO.

Therefore, it is not so much what I think, but what my peers have discerned in my ministry such that they were motivated to put my name forward for this challenging honour. They believe that I have the pastoral skills to support Anglican Chaplains and their families. In my 35 years of ordained ministry I have had the privilege to mentor civilian, PRes and RegF  Clergy/Chaplains. Military chaplaincy carries with it unique stresses on clergy and their families. They are called to carry the pain and burdens of others. Where do they go with their sorrows and burdens? Who can they turn to for confidential unbiased support, encouragement and guidance? My nominators believe, because of my background and life experiences, I bring this skill to the table.

They believe I have demonstrated wisdom. The wisdom to know my limitations and the need to seek and have all voices heard. The wisdom from the learned as well as the child at the chancel steps. The Bishop Ordinary heads up a very competent team and diverse communities. Being very familiar with process, budgeting (local and Diocesan), prioritizing and decision making means I have demonstrated the ability to incorporate the perspectives of many. My military experience also enables me to do this within the military ethos. Different from other Bishops, the Bishop Ordinary holds a unique position in the wider church because that individual not only represents worshiping communities across Canada but also a team which proclaims and lives the Gospel anywhere in Canada and around the world. We may be grounded in the Canadian Anglican Ethos but we minister missionally around the globe. We intentionally move out of the relative comfort of chapels into a world full of need. With the foundational concepts of Scripture, Tradition and Reason we are able to fully engage the world with the proclamation of a living dynamic Gospel – a light in the darkness. To make sure the team has the tools and resources they need to do this work is the task of the Bishop Ordinary. It is also ultimately the Bishop Ordinary who has to prioritize where these assets go. For the most part, I have found a well communicated rationale for the decision keeps most at the table.

The significance of our Anglican Ethos and what we add to the wider Christian community has not gone unnoticed by others. Pope Francis recently called it “reconciled diversities.” St. Paul called it “unity in diversity.” The breadth of the Anglican liturgy demonstrates and brings to life the “Via Media.”  Although known for my love of what would be called traditional worship (actually its theology of humility), I am more concerned with integrity of worship. We have a lot of Anglican options to address the needs of our communities. Those who nominated me believe that I demonstrate a personal spiritually which lives the Anglican ethos whether in a small context or large, a field service or one in a Cathedral setting, for a child or a prince, with treasures old or new, I believe what I pray and speak.

My nominators also know that of all my gifts of ministry, preaching is the gift most visible. Whether presenting a Diocesan budget or a small study, I always seek to engage the “common” individual by enhancing their spiritual journey through the process of insight leading to faithful practice. The flexibility to proclaim the Gospel in liturgy, public presentations (ex. Wounded Warriors), or written communications is a highlight of my ministry.

 

3.     Given your understanding of the work of the AMO:

a.     Do you have a 5-10 year vision for the ministry of Chaplains and Lay Readers of the AMO;

Without vision the people are lost but with too narrow a vision they cannot see the vast array of opportunities possible. I like Stephen Sykes “Unashamed Anglicanism.” We bring a different perspective to the journey of faith. To hide it or minimize it is to hold back a treasure (new and old) from the broader community.

It is not a perfect faith perspective/practice but it is a treasure none the less. I believe a reaffirmation of the Anglican ethos through education and practice is foundational to our way ahead. The fundamentals of my vision are 1. Integrity of faith and practice, 2. Professionalism – how we do things and treat others is important to our proclamation of the Gospel, 3. A willingness to seek out new opportunities for training in the Gospel, 4. Taking every opportunity to generate and support the leaders of tomorrow. In order to test and develop the way forward I would embark on a Strategic Planning Process (aprox. 6 months) which would involve all stakeholders and would result in clearly articulated goals and themes thus providing a roadmap for future growth and development.

One issues on which I would like to focus is reintegration of Chaplains back into the civilian church. Upon retirement a chaplain can have 10+ years of ministry time left. How do they reposition themselves within their Diocese which loaned them to Military Chaplaincy? How do they source out other opportunities in Canada or around the world? After years of faithful service, we need to affirm their gifts for ministry and support the transition to new ministries.

b.     How would you support Chaplains while stationed at bases across Canada and deployed with troops in areas of conflict;

Support given to Chaplains should reflect the support they are called to provide – the ministry of presence. Does the Bishop care about me?  The value added of a chaplain is that he or she is known by the troops as the one who shares their hardships. For a Bishop to be effective I believe that individual needs to do the same otherwise their words lack depth and proven credibility.

In practice:

–   Visitation; meet them where they work, where they train and where they are deployed

–   Daily prayer

–   Communication (all means; written, verbal, skype, Dropbox, etc.)

c.      In what way will you also minister to and support the lay members;

In the ministry and mission of Jesus Christ there is really very little difference between clergy and lay. Yes, the leadership roles and expectations are different (and certainly the pay) but both strive to live and proclaim the Gospel. From this perspective, the support of the lay person is, at its heart, not that much different from the support of the clergy. They need to know and be affirmed by the one who “pastors” them. Minimally this would be a yearly visit hopefully for more than a liturgical event.

In practice:

–   Visitation of all base chapels for services and/or town hall meetings; to know and be known

–   Provide educational material/opportunities; up to date resources for spiritual growth

–   Use of media; AMO Newsletter, pastorals, Q&A monitored facebook, etc

Also, as has been noted in the background material, the large numbers of Anglicans who belong to the Canadian Rangers requires that the AMO work with Indigenous Bishops to effectively implement the results of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission – Calls to Action.

d.     Given the mandated polices of the CAF around gender equality, sexual orientation, public prayer and liturgy, would you explain whether or not you would anticipate this plurality and inclusiveness to be a challenge?

Having served in the military under these polices I have no problem treating everyone with dignity and respect as mandated by our Baptismal Covenant.

 

4. Please describe your involvement in the larger Church (at the diocesan, provincial and national levels) and your ecumenical, interfaith and intercultural experiences.

For 36 years I have served the largest, both numerically and financially, Diocese in Canada – the Diocese of Toronto. I served on the Planning and Development Board for 18 yrs.; chaired the Planning and Facilities sub-committees (property management, demographic reviews and projections, etc.); worked on two specific project committees: Diocesan wide Clergy Housing review and update of clergy compensation and the Doctrine and Worship Committee – Sacred Space sub-committee (representative for the Planning and Development Board). With the development of the Diocesan Council, I represented the York Simcoe Area Council at the Diocesan level for 4 yrs. As a member of Diocesan Council I worked on the Budget Committee which reviewed the financial principles for the budget process as well as producing the budget and projections for Synod, and the presentation of the same at the pre-synod meeting.

I have also served as Regional Dean in two different Deaneries and was a nominee for the Toronto Episcopal election 2013 and made a Canon of the Diocese 2014.

While fulfilling these tasks I served 17 yrs. in the ResF. In this capacity I worked with an infantry regiment in the heart of multiethnic multicultural Toronto. When promoted to 32 CBG HQ I supervised and recruited a multi-faith team of chaplains which reflected the Toronto mosaic. In the course my military career I was the chaplain for several cross-boarder exercise, two northern exercises interacting with Ranger support teams, and received deployment training for Afghanistan.

Outside of these two specific areas of ministry, I was the Head of the Pastoral Care Department at Stevenson Memorial Hospital, Alliston, On.; a Board Member and Chaplain for St. John Ambulance; a member of the Bosnian Refugee Support Team, CFB Borden; participated in the 2014 and 2015 WWBBR (Rider and Chaplain) and became the Ontario Representative for Wounded Warriors Canada in 2015.

 

5.   How do you think “Scripture, Reason and Tradition” informs the life of the Church?

The Anglican Ethos: Our Gift to the Wider Church

As Irenaeus might have expressed it, we struggle to hold uniformity of faith while exploring the meaning and practice of faithfulness. Never an easy task especially in a world with an ever increasing pace of change and challenge to historically held social norms. How do we bring the peace of Christ, the spiritual calm in the midst of the storm, to our lives and to the work of the Church? There is no question about the chaos of our world today nor how this challenges those who seek to live faithfully. Having just celebrated the Incarnation, we have heard again that this is the very world Jesus was born into. Refugees, violence, misuse of political power, even the social and religious issues of a virgin birth, are part of the Gospel narrative from the very beginning. The faithful in every generation are called not to hide or white-wash these realities of the human condition but to face them head on with God’s words of salvation.  Never an easy task and we, as a Church, have often failed our fellows. Yet we learn, grow and move on. How does “Scripture, Reason and Tradition” inform the life of the Church, simply by reminding us we are a work in progress. We have been called to grow into the full stature of Christ. We have been given the gift of faith to work out in fear and trembling our sanctification. We have been provided the guidance of the Holy Spirit to teach us the way of God. “Scripture, Reason and Tradition” are our tools.

Scripture: Foundational

God can be known through the Scriptures – faith, the gift of the Holy Spirit, enables us to see and understand the salvation of God in the Word.

Reason: Dynamic

This knowledge is dynamic – it deepens and changes over time. As we change and as our world changes so does our understanding and application of the scriptures. To discern, as Hooker expressed it, “between that which is essential to salvation and must be retained and that which is of indifference and need not (indeed at times should not) be retained” (“The Spirit of Anglicanism” ed. Wolf). Since Anglicans are encouraged to study and reflect on what it means to live faithfully in this world, the result is often passionately held but polar opposite positions. This is the challenge the Communion will always have to struggle with. How we handle our differing positions is very important not to just for the Communion but also as it effects our witness to the world. Respecting the dignity and conscience of every human being while we all work out our sanctification surrounded by the grace and love of God, will always test our Baptismal Covenant.

Tradition: Expressions of faithfulness in time and space, (Tertullian)

This knowledge can be lived and celebrated with each generation building on the former. When we lose touch with the “Why” of tradition, we lose its gift to the Church and individuals. No tradition is forever but that which generated it in the human condition needs to be addressed. We are not the first to follow Christ nor will we be the last. Hopefully the legacy we leave manifests and lifts up the fruits of the Spirit.