Holy Week and Eastertide 2016
As you know by now and as you will see elsewhere in this newsletter, my successor Padre Nigel Shaw was chosen by members of the Anglican Military Ordinariate on March 5th and ratified by the Primate and the four Metropolitans (Regional Archbishops). This is good news indeed and we wish Nigel, Janet and their family every blessing in this new and blessed ministry.
I would like to thank those who brought us to this point and those who brought the choice of a new bishop to fruition. Padre Gordon Mintz headed up the Search Committee and four nominees were gracious enough to let their names stand for discernment. I am particularly grateful to Gordon for keeping in touch with these worthy people throughout the process. I am also grateful to Padres Michelle Staples (Archdeacon Pro Tem) and Jennifer Gosse (Canon Secretary) and to our Chancellor, Ann Bourke, for managing the process. I particularly thank our Primate for his usual gracious support and enthusiasm throughout. His address to the Electoral College is on the Anglican Military Ordinariate (AMO) website and is worth a visit. I am grateful to a whole host of other people who are acknowledged in Padre Staple’s article further on in this edition. I am grateful to The Very Reverend Shane Parker and the staff and people of our Ordinariate Cathedral, Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa. For all of these and for our new bishop we give thanks to God the giver of all good gifts!
This is my last Newsletter and I would like to give thanks for so much and for so many. I have had the privilege of serving with a great number of wonderful people some of whom have retired ahead of me. Amongst these are members of The Chapter, the Canons and Archdeacons who take counsel for the affairs of the AMO community. There are also people that do particular ‘bits’ of the ministry: Cynthia Greenwood who keeps our list of chaplains; Padre Michael Peterson our newsletter editor; Padre Shawn Samson who keeps our Canons (rules which govern us) in good order and our new Chancellor, Ann Bourke; Padre Gordon Mintz who set up our website and Padre John Hounsell-Drover who is our webmaster and Facebook page person now. I give thanks for members of the Interfaith Committee on Military Chaplaincy (ICCMC) with whom I have served these many years and for all that they have taught me about ecumenical and multi-faith expressions of “doing justice, loving kindness and walking humbly with God”. (Micah 6:8) And there are so many more who stand ready to serve and with whom I have had the privilege to work.
Above all I give thanks for our chaplains – all of them- our Anglicans and those with whom they serve! I have always been particularly proud of the place that Anglicans have taken in the chaplaincy in numbers far beyond our percentage of the Canadian faith community demographics. I am proud of the way that our Primate, our bishops and indeed the whole Anglican Church of Canada support our chaplains, our military members and their families. And I am so proud of the Canadian Armed Forces – members past and present and their families who also serve. May God continue to hold them all in the palm of His hand!
I have had the privilege of serving as the Bishop Ordinary for twelve years, three of which were contiguous with being Bishop of Ottawa. I have always been blessed with every appointment that I have ever had and if someone were to ask me what my favourite appointment was I would have to quote a former Chaplain General, Padre John Fletcher: “Whatever I was doing at the time”. This time with you has been a particular blessing. When I came on board in 2005 I was close to retirement age but not yet ready to fade into that good night. Not at all! Being with you has been life giving to me personally and Deborah feels the same. We both came from military families and when we were back with you it felt familiar. It was a time of high operational tempo with stresses and strains on military members and those who also served on the home front, the rear party people and the families, and still, as always, you have stood ready. I am so proud to have been a part of your life. I am so grateful for the graciousness that you have shown to us.
We now are in the midst of that for which we must be truly grateful for it gives us our ultimate meaning and indeed, abundant life! It is the very core of our faith and our eternal joy! This is the season of our Lord’s Passion as he goes to the cross and suffers and to win a victory which we will share. Though the darkness closes in and evil seems to predominate it will not have the final word. These things will never go away until the Kingdom comes in its fullness but they will be redeemed, overcome and transcended. The barriers to life here and in the future are down and on the third day He rises and the women race from the tomb to tell the story. In that we live and move and have our being and for this we need to be eternally grateful and in response live grateful lives. He rose again and lives in each and every one of us! Alleluia!
May you all have a blessed Eastertide and Thank You so very Much!
Anglican Bishop Ordinary
(The Right Reverend Peter Coffin was appointed by the Primate to the position of Bishop Ordinary (Anglican) to the Canadian Forces in November 2004.)