AMO Search Committee – Questions for Episcopal Candidates
- What interests you about the ministry of the Bishop Ordinary?
I have spent the majority of my Ministry as part of the AMO serving, firstly as a Regular Force Chaplain, then a Primary Reserve Chaplain, (total of 31 years). I have served at the Strategic, Operational and Tactical level, holding leadership positions at all levels, and in both components.
In the Civilian Church I have served a number of Parishes, (both Rural an Urban) and have functioned in both non-stipendiary and stipendiary positions. I have held leadership positions at the Parish, Deanery and Diocesan Levels. I have been often involved in the creation of new ministry concepts, (as per the Bishop’s Mandate), and have served the Church as a Territorial Archdeacon and member of the Bishop’s Advisory Council.
To coin a phrase, Ministry within the Canadian Forces is “in my DNA” … It is my passion. This is the ministry that I know best and am most comfortable with. At this stage of my journey I believe that it is a natural step where I can offer my diverse experience gained from a long career in the Regular and Reserve force, serving in all three elements, combined with the ministry that I have had the privilege of being called to serve in the Civilian Church, to the Anglican Military Ordinariate.
- 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.
In the autumn of 2015, once it was known that Bishop Coffin would be retiring, a number of the Chaplains from the AMO contacted me to discuss my thoughts on allowing my name to stand for Bishop Ordinary. I took time over the autumn to prayerfully consider this calling. Noting that my time at St. Luke’s, Kingston will be coming to an end in early 2016, and noting that I am in a position to discern the next phase of my Ministry, and after consultation with my wife and my current Diocesan Bishop, I have responded by allowing my name to stand. I believe fully that the Holy Spirit will guide the decisions of the Electoral College and that, if selected by the College, I will serve.
As I mentioned in my responses to the previous question, Military Ministry is my passion. I know the culture of the Military, I know the AMO, I know the Inter-faith Ministry that we do, and I am completely comfortable with all of it. Ministry in the Military has molded my Vocational Journey since 1981.
It is my discernment that a call to Bishop Ordinary is the next step in my journey of Ministry in the Service of our Lord. I trust in the Holy Spirit, and in the councils of the Church, in this case the Electoral College of the AMO, and I comfortably offer myself for their consideration and discernment.
In order to prayerfully comment on my perceived gifts in relation to those listed in the call for nominations letter and using the TEAC Episcopal Competencies as a guide, (which accompanied the call for nomination letter), I offer my self-assessment: I will comment directly using some of the Headings in the guide.
Vocation and Discernment:
I understand the needs of the AMO clearly and strongly affirm them as articulated by the AMO and Bishop Coffin. I quote from the Bishop Ordinary’s Ministry Description as provided with the Call for Nominations letter, and hold them as the basic understanding of the ministry of the Bishop Ordinary.
- Support of the clergy and families of the AMO. An important part is keeping them linked with their home faith community of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Church with them. (40%)
- Recruiting, endorsement and follow through with new chaplains (20%)
- Governance matters. These include those internal to the AMO; work on the ICCMC; membership on the Anglican Church of Canada’s House of Bishops and the duties allocated by the Primate; Communion duties (Lambeth and keeping in touch with the wider church) (20%)
- The Spiritual and liturgical life of the community including the Sacraments (eg. Confirmations and participating in Episcopal Ordinations); leading devotions; chapel life support; mentoring chaplains. (10%)
- Telling the Story. In short, communications. Interpreting the ministry to the Anglican Church of Canada and sometimes other groups and keeping the AMO in touch with their church and the wider faith communities. Newsletter and website support. (10%)
I have read 1Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1, and concur with the teaching found in these passages of Scripture. As I have already confessed, I am not perfect. That being said, I promise that I will strive to uphold this standard with all that I have and all that I am….with God’s help and the help of my colleagues.
I understand and believe fully in the teaching of Irenaeus, as well as Tertullian, on Apostolic Succession which I firmly hold. The acknowledgment of the necessity of Scripture, Reason and Tradition to inform our faith and Doctrine are the strong cornerstones of my personal Faith journey.
In the Ministry setting that I currently function I teach the following:
…from Matthew 25:31-45
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
…and from Acts 3:1-8:
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.
…and from John 21:15-17:
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
We teach our people that ministry is done in the Vineyard. We come into the Worship Centre, and give praise to God, to learn of his teachings, and to be fed by the Sacraments; but, we must take that Faith out into the world and share it by word, action and deed, with the emphasis on action and deed. This ministry is done on many levels.
We look after those who are in need, physically, emotionally, socially, intellectually and spiritually. We are practical, not looking for the “supernatural fix”, but for the opportunity to help in the healing of this world by helping and supporting others, whether they are victims of circumstance, behaviour, misfortune or “caught in a rut”. This is done in our Local community, and in the wider community, (Diocesan, Provincial, National and internationally though our Common Ministry and Mission resources), both financially and with personal involvement. This is done in co-operation and conjunction with our Partners in the Faith from a Multi-faith perspective, as well as our Community partners, whether they are other Charitable Programmes, Government programmes, or industry supported programmes. We are called to give our talent, our time and our treasure to look after the Flock, and to do what we can to care for God’s creation – all of God’s creation.
In my ministry, whether in the Military context or within the Civilian Church, I have always taught and lead in this manner. I do not only teach this….I spend a great deal of time in relationship building on the tactical level of this….on the “front line” so to speak. Myself and my team, Ordained and Lay, personally go beyond the Worship Centre, (or Temple), and get out and about, whether it be visiting the sick, providing food for the hungry, clothing the poor, challenging the affluent, or helping shingle a roof or build a shed, or cut the grass, or paint a building…..it’s DOING ministry, not just talking about it. (Oh – by the way – the team I speak of is not just members of St. Luke’s, nor are they all Anglican’s or Christians or even overly active Faith participants – but they all have a Pastoral Heart.)
Clarity about the nature of Ministry
The Bishop Ordinary is called to provide prayerful leadership by developing, supporting and providing opportunities for effective, spiritually lead Ministry by the team, (Ordained and Lay). This is encouraged and supported by leadership, developed and understood by the community, and delivered by all members of the team, taking care that the ministry will be true to the traditions and teachings of the Anglican Church and will be on the leading edge of mission, solid in the sharing of the Faith, committed to providing a safe, supporting and encouraging environment.
Spirituality and Faith
I was ordained a Priest on March 25, 1980. The Liturgy used at my Ordination was he Book of Common Prayer. I made the following vow when asked by the Bishop.
(Bishop): WILL you be diligent in prayers, and in reading of the Holy Scriptures, and in such studies as help to the knowledge of the same, laying aside the study of the world and the flesh? (Answer): I will endeavour myself so to do, the Lord being my helper.
In my Ministry thus far I have followed this to the best of my ability. I have prayed, and continue to pray the Daily Offices of Morning Prayer, Evensong and Compline each and every day. I can truly state that there have been very, very few days that this has not been done. I celebrate the Eucharist at least weekly, and often times more, and I administer the Sacraments and Sacramental Rites of the Church as a core responsibility of my Ministry.
I have continued the study of Theology formally and informally throughout my career, especially in later years when I have embarked on programmes of independent study in Scripture, Ancient Cultural, Political and Sociological Studies in support of better understanding Scripture, and in Healing and Deliverance Ministries. In the Ministry positions that I have held and currently hold, I continue to read, study and reflect upon theological and ministry trends as they are currently presented. (Also, I do actually have a diverse practice of varied readings, some for pure entertainment).
I currently have a Spiritual Advisor with whom I consult regularly, and I avail myself to opportunities for Spiritual Development through conferences, Retreats, and Devotional times of Prayer, Study and Action.
(p.s. Just for clarification, although I quote the BCP, I function with multiple liturgies. The main Liturgical offering at my current Ministry Setting is BAS for Sunday and mid-week Eucharist, as well as Sacramental Ministries, BCP for Saturday Evening Worship and a combination of BCP augmented with The Anglican Missal for our Solemn Eucharist.)
Personality, Character and Integrity
In this I speak candidly. This is an interesting category, especially when I attempt to comment on it in this environment where the Clergy part of the Electoral College know me well; some for a short time, some for a very long time, and some at a “distance” and perhaps by “reputation”. Those of the lay side of the Electoral College may not know me at all. Some will see me as a rather “loud” and “obnoxious” Chaplain who seems to be “ever present” and not afraid to share his opinion on almost everything. Some may refer to me as “the Old Reserve Guy” who used to be in the Regular Force and may still be living in the past. Some see me as the “Young Airborne Guy who would go where Angels fear to tread”. Others may remember me as a colleague on Chaplaincy Courses who was committed to learning and attempted to share as a team player. Still others would see me in a Retreat Setting, involved in Worship, leadership, contemplation and Spiritual direction. Some will see me as a bit “broken” as they are aware of my personal history and have walked with me, or at least heard of, some of the challenges along the way. All are true.
In early 1981 I had my initial interview with Archbishop Seaborne when we were attempting to discern a calling to Military Chaplaincy. He interviewed me at his cottage in Sundrige ,Ontario. During the interview he asked me a question. “What do you think the Sailors, Soldiers, and Air Force folks look for in a Chaplain?” I confess that I didn’t have an answer…but I did struggle with some theological concepts that most 25 year old Anglican Clergy all knew at the time. Archbishop Seaborne looked at me and told me clearly….”A wee bit of Holiness”. I have lived my entire Ministry, both Military and Civilian, with that statement fully engrained in my brain, and my personality. Each and every day, I try, with God’s help, to live up to that piece of advice.
I confess to a life and ministry full of challenges and changes. Some were difficult, some were easily dealt with. Mistakes have been made, and I confess to having to re-adjust as a result of some of my decisions. It has been a wonderful journey thus far.
I confess to not being perfect. I do know that I am redeemed and forgiven.
In the early days I was rash and sometime a “tad” overconfident. I have matured and “toned down” significantly. I have learned lessons of patience, understanding, acceptance, faithfulness, awareness, contemplation, and consultation. I work in a team. I look for advice, ideas and direction. All decisions that I make are from a collegial approach, grounded in Scripture, reason and tradition and structured in the context of the day taking into consideration the diversity we live in and the lessons we have learned. I practice my faith, with the help of God, to live my life according to his teachings. My approach to all people, Clergy and Lay, Anglicans and non-Anglicans, persons of Faith and those who have not yet realized the gift of Faith, is the same. In all of this, I still have the same zeal to bring a “wee bit of Holiness” to this sometimes broken world. Together, we can all bring “holiness” to our vocation of ministry, Lay or Ordained.
As to good physical and mental health, I feel spiritually strong, mentally healthy, and, although I am still a rather “large” person, I do exercise daily and attempt to watch what I eat…I am in good physical health. (You will still see me in the gym at Retreat.)
Relationships are essential in Ministry, (and in life). The ministry of presence is paramount in the building of relationships. It is the building of relationships that is the catalyst to living the Good News. In the building of relationships one needs to be approachable, sensitive, open to the ideas and perceptions of others and be able to truly and openly put others at ease. Through relationships we share ideas, strengthen and honour loyalty, understand and protect confidences and be community in a real sense.
Leadership and Collaboration
In my Ministry, both Military and Civilian, I have endeavoured to work well in the team concept. Having worked in teams, both with lay people and other Clergy, (Anglicans, other Christian Denominations and other Faith Groups), as well as working with other helping professionals, persons in leadership roles and community partners, I have endeavoured to share responsibility, participate actively in the decision making process and have taken the initiative to make decisions and act upon them when required and appropriate. In all things I have attempted to follow our motto of “Called to Serve”
The Mind of Christ
We are Called to Serve. I learned early in my training that we were to be “servants to the Servants of God”. Following our Lord as portrayed in his teachings and the offering of himself as a sacrifice leading to our redemption, I try, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to be the best that I can to work and pray for those committed to my charge.
Guardian of the Faith
Episcopal Ministry embodies focus and unity. The Bishop is given responsibility to maintain the Apostolic Faith as understood by our Church, to preserve unity and order as we understand it, by guarding and honouring the unity of our Church while rejoicing in its diversity.
Biblical and Theological Competence
As per my accompanying CV, I have received formal Academic training at the university level, (B.A. Sociology, M.Div.), as well as substantial amount of continuing education and specialist training in both the Military and Civilian context. I have also engaged in Guided independent Study programmes to give more depth to my theological competence. I am not a scholar or an Academic, but I believe I am well trained and continue to fine opportunities for further training and education.
As for experience, as seen in my CV, I have had quite a bit.
I preach in accordance with the Revised Common Lectionary with a Biblical Base….”all things necessary for salvation are found in the Holy Scripture”. I do bring a wide range of appropriate experiences and influences into my Preaching.
Pastoral Care is paramount in ministry. Care for the Community as well as the Family, (the Family of the Faithful as well as our personal family situations is of utmost importance), and care for those who are weary, worn and frightened, those who are sick and alone, those who are in need….is a responsibility of us all.
Liturgically I consider myself to be very solid. Word and Sacrament are essential aspects of the Liturgy of our Tradition and I steadfastly uphold this. I am comfortable in all forms of liturgy and enjoy the liturgy of other traditions and fully support and participate with them.
Training & Education
I have formal and informal training in many aspects of Ministry. I believe that we always need, and should appropriately avail ourselves, to training that will enhance our ministries and ourselves. I am committed to continuing this personally and supporting others in obtaining and achieving this.
Most of my ministry career has been in an Ecumenical and Inter-faith context. This was prominent in my military ministry and is still prominent in my current civilian ministry. I work comfortably and well in this context.
Having held leadership positions in the Regular Force, the Primary Reserve and in Civilian Ministry, I consider that my administrative skills are good. I have been involved in a number of Ministry initiatives and have had to write proposals etc. to develop cases for implementation.
In all things, co-operation and collegiality is essential. In my ministry concept we all work together for the Glory of God and the growth and care of his family. We can do this most well when we do it together. We are a team. I don’t have all the skillsets to do this alone. Gifts and talents are dispersed among many. These are all offered to the service of our Lord.
Mission and Evangelism
A lot of this is covered in previous thoughts found in answers to these questions. I refer you specifically to Vocation and Discernment, Biblical and Theological Competence, Relationships, and Leadership and Collaboration.
Mission to me is “sending out” into the vineyard. Our God is a sending God…he sent Christ Jesus to redeem us and teach us…He sent the Apostles out to teach and minister to the people, and continues to send us out to work in the vineyard and even in the wilderness.
Evangelism to me is to acknowledge that we are redeemed by grace. Because of this redemption, we are called to serve. We serve by taking the Good News into the world by word, action and deed. This is done by meeting people where they are in their journey and by walking with them in the spirit of companionship, hospitality, support and encouragement. We live the faith in our relationships.
Management and Vision
Clearly in my CV there are multiple examples of my sense of Management and Vision. I work within the clarity of our Vision with the realities of our resources in order to provide appropriate Faithful Ministry within our Jurisdiction. This is done in consultation and reflection and is a Team approach.
The Anglican Way
I accept and respect the Anglican approach to Scripture, reason and tradition as the basis of Anglican Doctrine. I believe it is a living doctrine and I accept the teaching and decisions of the Church of which I am a part. I feel that, although not an expert, I am well informed of our Doctrine and Liturgy and very well aware of our Anglican Diversity. I have shown a solid history of being very comfortable with this and function prayerfully and respectfully within it. The Episcopacy is a focus of unity within our Church. I will continue to strive for understanding, knowledge and participation in our diverse Ministry within the Military and the AMO, respecting the dignity and position of others, and always maintaining the integrity and traditions of our own.
Awareness of Context
As seen in my CV by the locations that I have served and in the ministries that I have been a part of, and in my reflections in these comments, that I have been involved in diversities of ministries, with diversities of contexts. I like to think that I have the awareness and capability to exercise ministry across a wide range of diversity.
Spouse and family
My wife, Major Patricia Miller, has served full time in the Canadian Forces as a REME Officer for 30 years. Her last full-time position was at CAD TC as the Officer responsible for Officer Professional Development for the Army. Currently she is working as a Class A Reservist in CAD TC Headquarters, (G-3). Concurrently she is in her final year of the M.Div. Programme at Wycliffe College. Trish is a Postulant for the Diocese of Ontario, and, God willing, will be Ordained following graduation in the Spring of 2016. She will serve in the Diocese of Ontario. Trish is fully supportive of my discernment to the call of ministry within the AMO.
- Given your understanding of the work of the AMO:
- Do you have a 5-10 year vision for the ministry of Chaplains and Lay Readers of the AMO;
I offer a few preliminary thoughts. I believe that the “great cloud of witnesses” that is manifested in the Bishop’s Council and the Clericus will be a critical part of developing the vision for the next 5-10 years.
The Bishop Ordinaries Ministry Description which was circulated in the call for nominations gives us an understanding of the current role of the Bishop Ordinary. I affirm these points and would very much continue in this vain. As Bishop Coffin has expressed, the position is Part-time; however, commitment to the position and the ministry of the Bishop Ordinary takes significant time and focus and therefore needs to be clear of other ministry “distractions”. I am committed to this same principle at the current time. That doesn’t mean that it cannot grow.
Over the next 5 to 10 years, I envision moving forward in the visibility and availability of the Bishop Ordinary. Members of Clericus and Lay members of the AMO should have access to their Bishop and efforts can be made to provide opportunities for communication. Working within the restrictions of our resources, and with careful planning, we can work to provide opportunities to spend time with Clergy and laity on bases and in community locations that would increase availability and visibility. Use of electronic communication tools, (emails, web-page and other identifiable means) can be utilized to enhance communications. Contact with the Clergy, can be increased.
Ensuring that appropriate contact information for the Bishop is available and circulated to all members of Clericus, with the promise of quick, effective and safe communication that should be a hallmark of the Pastoral nature of the Episcopal Office needs to be assured. There must be a safe environment for our Clericus. I acknowledge that resources can be a bit restrictive; however, through communication, good use of resources and commitment to ministry, we can find accessible and effective ways to provide this.
Our Chaplains are “doing” ministry at all levels. They need to be supported, spiritually, prayerfully and practically. I am committed to this. Together, with the Council, we need to investigate ways and means to provide this support to those who minister to the Military Personnel and their families. We need to represent our people in the councils of the Church, and in the Halls of Government. Our role in the ICCMC needs to be clear and solid, our representation at the Anglican House of Bishops, nationally and internationally must be clearly present and informed and must be seen and transparent. The reciprocal is also true and essential. The Bishop Ordinary represents the AMO to the Anglican Church, the ICCMC, and the Government, (through the ICCMC), and the Bishop Ordinary represents the Anglican Church and the ICCMC to the AMO.
Developing the team is essential. Opportunities for Professional Development which could be provided individually and/or corporately through our conferences and gathering should be investigated. Encouragement for Spiritual Development needs be stressed – all Chaplains should be encouraged to take regular personal retreats, and have a Spiritual Director.
Consideration of the needs of Clergy families is essential. We do not function in a vacuum. This is a reality. Opportunities to have contact with family members should be considered and investigated.
I would also encourage the involvement of members of the AMO in the local civilian Diocese and Deaneries around the country. They should be a part of the Diocese and freely provide assistance when available. They should attend Deanery Meetings, and participate in the social and community activities of the Diocese in which they are resident. This leads to enhanced relationships and positively reflects our support for the unity of the Church.
Lay Readers. In the Civilian communities that are part of my current ministry, the role of the Lay Reader is more than just liturgical. The ministry of the Lay Readers is a leadership ministry and needs to be involved in the work of the Community. Whether it be taking an active role in Outreach Ministries, Mission, Education or other such identifiable ministries, the Lay Readers should offer themselves to take on roles within the Community, (both the military Community and the Civilian community), in the locations where they are serving.
I also strongly desire to assist members of the AMO in their transition back to Civilian life after their service, assisting in liaison with Civilian Bishop’s and supporting them in the transition. Further, I would like to maintain contact with those who have returned to Civilian life and keep them informed as to the activities and developments of the AMO.
- How would you support Chaplains while stationed at bases across Canada and deployed with troops in areas of conflict;
Communication, Ministry of Presence, Support, Council, Clarity of Purpose and Mission, Upholding in Prayer and Sacramental Ministry, Pastoral availability of the Bishop, A listening ear, A prayerful guiding Spirit. These are but a few ways to support our Chaplains wherever they serve.
The Bishop is the Chief Pastor of the AMO. It is the Bishop’s calling to be the focus of unity within the AMO and to be a prayerful advisor, counsellor, mentor and supporter of the Chaplains. This is done directly through contact with them, and indirectly by providing opportunity for development, growth and collegiality. It is also done by representing them well in the councils of the Church, within the Anglican Community and with those whom we partner with in ministry. We need to continually make others aware of the good ministry that our Chaplains do while serving in Canada and in deployments, wherever it will take them.
- In what way will you also minister to and support the lay members;
I would like to be advised of the activities of our laity. I would like to support them in any way that I can. I would like to be made aware of what they are involved in on their deployments, and on their bases and support them in their journeys. I would like to establish a prayer list for daily prayer that would include the deployed members of our laity, and remember them during the Daily offices and at the Altar.
Practically, we need to support our Chaplains in their ministry to the Laity by providing them with the best resources we can to assist them in fulfilling their Calling.
- 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?
Noting the length of my Military career, and nature of the leadership roles that I have held, I am very aware of the mandated polices of the CAF around the aforementioned areas. I worked comfortably with them while in the Military, I work comfortably with them as I continue ministry in my current civilian context. My concept of ministry is that we are all children of God, we are all unique and different, and we all should be afforded the opportunity to be treated equally, fairly and justly regardless of faith stance, (or non-faith stance if that even exists), gender, sexual orientation or social status. I embrace our Nations concepts of plurality and inclusiveness, and fully support them. I honour who we are and what we work hard to encourage. In this, I also hold faithfully to my own tradition Theologically, Liturgically, Spiritually and practically. I am an Anglican Priest. I made vows at my Ordination and I continue to work hard to be faithful to them.
This is not a challenge for me at all. I always have, and will continue to be, supportive of the policies and encourage others to understand the same.
- Please describe your involvement in the larger Church (at the diocesan, provincial and national levels) and your ecumenical, interfaith and intercultural experiences.
My involvement in the larger Church is varied. At the diocesan level I have held leadership positions within the Dioceses of Algoma, Ottawa and Ontario. I have been mandated to initiate and develop new concepts of Ministry in Algoma and Ottawa, and have been involved in more traditional leadership roles in the Diocese of Ontario.
In the Diocese of Algoma I was mandated by Bishop Peterson to contribute the establishment of a “Mutual Ministry” model of ministry that involved the discernment, training and implementation of team ministry being conducted within the Parish structure to provide Pastoral, Educational, Liturgical and Sacramental ministry to meet the Spiritual needs of the Faithful, the Seeker, and those in need. This was done while I was serving as the non-stipendiary Priest-in-Charge of the Parish of St. Mary Magdalene in Sturgeon Fall’s, Ontario.
While serving as the non-stipendiary Priest-in-charge of the Parish of Mattawa in the Diocese of Ottawa, I was involved in developing a new model of Ministry that identified, mentored for education, trained, and prepared for ministry 3 members of the Parish to move into Ordained Leadership Ministry, (2 as Vocational Deacons, 1 as a Priest). This initiative was mandated by Bishop Baycroft and affirmed by Bishop Coffin as a Diocesan mandated alternative for provision of Ministry in remote areas of the Diocese.
In the Diocese of Ontario I have served in leadership roles as members of Synod Council committees as per my C.V. where I have served in multiple roles, (Chair of Training and Development, (which is the discernment of theological students, training and development of Clergy and laity), Diocesan Student Placement Officer, Diocesan Fresh Start Co-ordinator, and a member of the Canons Committee.) Further, I was mandated as the Archdeacon of the St. Lawrence under both Bishop George Bruce, and Bishop Michael Oulton. I was also a member of the Bishop’s Advisory Council which was mandated to advise the Bishop on the personnel and policy matters.
Since 2011 I have been mandated by Bishop Oulton to develop a new concept of Outreach Ministry in the impoverished area of Kingston North. Kingston North Anglican Ministries was developed as a Fresh Expressions type of Ministry working in a team concept of Clergy and Laity. Currently we are involved in developing a new housing project with Habitat for Humanity which includes the building of a Ministry Resource Centre in the midst of the Housing Project. We have already developed and are operating 7 Fresh Expressions type ministries, all in conjunction with other Faith Groups and Community Partners.
Provincially, (Province of Ontario), I have been actively involved in Fresh Start Training, (as a trainer of trainers), and involved in the nationally supported Fresh Expressions Ministries.
The AMO is a nationally mandated Ministry. I have been involved with the AMO most of my Ministry. In my various leadership roles in the Canadian Forces I have been involved in the recruiting and processing Chaplain candidates for all faiths, both at the Military recruiting process, (As Area Chaplain, Deputy Area Chaplain, and Deputy Canadian Army Chaplain,) as well as the onsite Chaplain resource for the compilation
and forwarding of applications for endorsement by the ICCMC. I have been very active in Recruiting Chaplains for both the Regular Force and the Primary Reserves. There is a number of currently serving Chaplains in both components that I have had a part in their recruitment process. From an AMO perspective and from the Diocese of Ontario, there are a significant number of Chaplains with whom I have been involved in their recruitment.
I have also represented the AMO and the Canadian Forces at many and various public events as a resource for information and Recruiting.
In the last 2 years of my Military career I was honoured to be made a Honourary Canon of the AMO.
Interfaith, (Multi-faith), involvement is a cornerstone of my approach to Ministry. While in the Canadian Forces, my involvement with all Faith Groups is second nature to me. I have worked with multiple Faith Groups and traditions on numerous occasions and in all sorts of situations to provide ministry. Matthew 25 talks to us about doing ministry with all people. The Mandate for ministry that I currently have in the Diocese of Ontario is to provide ministry to all people. Being a member of a particular Faith Group is not a prerequisite to do ministry. For me it never has been.
- How do you think “Scripture, Reason and Tradition” informs the life of the Church?
“All things necessary for “Salvation” are found in the Holy Scriptures.” Our
Faith must be a “Reasonable Faith”, and is highlighted and supported in the “Traditions” of the Church. Word and Sacrament are essential to keep us stable and focused. We must be reasonable and solid in our understanding of Scripture, clear in the teaching of our Faith and Traditions, taking care to balance all things so that the appreciation of unity and diversity can be honoured. Adherence to our concepts of importance of Scripture, Reason and Tradition ensure this to be followed.
I know this is long. I probably provided more detail than you want or “wish to read about”, and I have “repeated myself” on many occasions in the answers that I have provided, often giving similar comments in multiple areas. For that I apologize. My excuse — I have been Ordained for 36 years so I tend to be a little “long winded”.
May God Bless you and guide you in your discernment.
Reginald E. Gilbert;