Next Thursday, March 5, when General Synod staff gather for their weekly noon Eucharist, they will warmly welcome a new Church House chaplain, Bishop Gordon Light.
In a place that hums with the business of church, the chaplain has an anchoring role: to pastor those who serve in the national office, whether as an accountant, a worship consultant, or a web manager.
The Primate appointed Bishop Light, formerly bishop of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior, to this position last January. Bishop Light will meet with individuals needing care and will support the Church House worship committee, which prepares and plans services, tends the chapel space, and oversees pastoral concerns.
“My sense of Church House staff is that they’re some of the most dedicated people I’ve ever met,” said Bishop Light in a recent interview. “They’re giving so much to the life of the church and so knowledgeable about their areas, that it’s such a treat to be in that kind of community, even just very part-time.”
General Synod has been without a chaplain since Linda Nicholls, former coordinator for dialogue, was consecrated suffragan bishop of the Diocese of Toronto in February 2008. The position was first held in the 1990s by the Rev. Bill Lowe, director of long-range planning.
Bishop Light’s appointment to Church House is a homecoming of sorts. From 1992 to 2001 he served as principal secretary to then-Primate Michael Peers. He spent a total of 17 years ministering in the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior in British Columbia (formerly the Diocese of Cariboo), and has also worked in the dioceses of Edmonton and Rupert’s Land.
Although he admits he still misses “Cariboo country,” Bishop Light also says it’s good to be back in Toronto. Retirement life is good for him, he says, and he enjoys his daily walks with his dog, and taking time to prepare meals. He is also looking forward to finding a musical outlet in Toronto. (An accomplished musician, Bishop Light wrote the lyrics to the 2007 General Synod theme hymn, “Draw the Circle Wide” and is a member of the 25-year-old quartet Common Cup.)
Bishop Light is also adapting to being a clergy spouse, as his wife, the Rev. Barbara Liotscos, with whom he has six children, is serving as priest at St. Aidan’s in East Toronto.
“I get to sit in the same pew every Sunday instead of travelling,” he said. “And our minister is a darn good preacher.”
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