The Rev. Kyle Norman

Response to Questions

Response: “We are looking for a Bishop who will be....”

The BAS states that a Bishop is called to ‘guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church,’ and theBCP calls the Bishop to maintain ‘quietness, peace, and love among all [people].’ What strikes me about these two liturgical rites is how the office of the Bishop is intimately tied to the unity of the church. This pastoral nature of the episcopacy undergirds all the administrative, logistical, and practical tasks facing a Bishop. This dovetails well with my doctoral studies in community spiritual formation. Through these studies, I have come to believe that the greatest question facing the Anglican Church today is; “Whatdoes it mean to be a community of faith?” At the heart of all that the church faces today (our mission in the world, our witness in healing and reconciliation, our public theological disagreements), is the issue of community. The way we understand ourselves as the body of Christ directly influences our approach to mission, works of healing, and unity amid theological diversity. My passion is for the church to be unified under the common love of Christ, and the communal desire to serve Christ in each other, and in the world.

Formation as a community of Christ influences the life, worship, and mission of a diocese. It is when the diocese comes together as a unified body of Christ, immersed in the power of Holy Spirit, that it most truly reflects the glory of Christ. If elected Bishop, my emphasis within the diocese will be on strengthening our common life and communal spiritual formation. I will lead us, as a diocese, in finding opportunities to pray with each other, and to support each other in service and ministry. I will work towards reconciliation and unity amid hurts and disagreements. This sense of ‘bridge-building’ is notsimply about agreeing to disagree, but about faithfully viewing the other as one made in the image of God and redeemed by the cross of Christ.

Question 1: I begin each morning, and conclude each evening, with the discipline of the daily office. This discipline is important as it encourages me to step out of the business of the day and attend toGod’s voice in scripture and prayer. The daily office, however, is not just about ‘saying my prayers’.Through the daily office, I join in the prayerful activity of the Church throughout time and space. I become connected in a deeper way to the life and worship of the church to which I belong. Through these times of prayer God has provided clarity amid difficult decisions, comfort in times of stress, and insight for various matters.

Question 2: In my current position as Rector at The Anglican Parish of Holy Cross, I led the parish through a $1.9 million building project. The two years of this project provided many opportunities for me to act as a ‘bridge builder’ between various parties. I navigated the interactions between the construction manager and the building committee; responded pastorally to concerns arising from within the parish; and balanced the budgetary responsibilities of the building project and the ongoing life of the parish. During this project, there were times where I advised caution and patience, as well as times where I advised immediate action. There were times when I could be flexible, but also times when I had to be strong and decisive. In the end, the project was completed successfully, and the church has been blessed with a wonderful new space. This project honed my skills in leadership, community facilitation, communication, and discernment.

Question 3: In times of disagreement and conflict, it is important for the individuals (or churches) to commit to a discipline of praying for the other party because the unity of the church always begins with prayer. It is important to recognise that praying for one with whom there is conflict does not magically make the disagreement go away. However, praying for the other person’s health, goodness, andblessing, helps us refrain from treating the other in bitterness or hostility. Prayer removes the vehement animosity from our lives that so often blocks healing or reconciliation. There have been times in my ministry where I have led individuals (and a community as a whole) in praying for a person with whom there was conflict. These prayers helped facilitate communication between the parties. If reconciliation is not possible, it is prayer that helps the parties continue to see (and possibly value) each other as holding a part of a shared community.

Question 4: Mission is first and foremost about the work of God in the world. The first time ‘mission’ isspoken of in scripture is in reference to God’s act of sending Jesus to the world. Thus, mission, as it relates to the Church, is about joining into what Jesus is doing in the world. The Church does not have a mission; the Church joins into the mission of God. The fourth Mark of Mission speaks of pursuing peace and reconciliation and challenging unjust structures. The Diocese of Saskatoon’s commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Process, the support of healing amid the Indigenous community, the 2014 Baja Mission, and the response to the needs of refugees, is a clear example of the diocese’s commitment to peace, reconciliation and healing. Ultimately, I find the mission of the Diocese of Saskatoon best expressed in your own words: The Diocese of Saskatoon seeks to “to love, to care for, and to meet needs of humanity, while upholding the redemptive truths and righteousness of Jesus Christ.”

Question 5: I am blessed to have participated in several key events in the Anglican Church’s ongoingrelationship with the Indigenous community. I was a delegate to Provincial Synod of the Province ofRupert’s Land when the Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh was officially recognised. This was a profound and spirit filled moment. Similarly, I was present as the Diocese of Calgary voted to elect a Bishop for the Treaty 7 peoples in southern Alberta. In this, I recognised a similar sense of God’spresence. I believe that the Church must continue to uphold the Indigenous community’s work towarda self-governing Indigenous Church within the Anglican Church of Canada. This is a unique way the Anglican Church, and the Diocese of Saskatoon, can uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People Encouraging elections of Indigenous Bishops to occur according to thecommunity’s own practices and customs will continue to foster healing and reconciliation between the indigenous community and the Anglican Church of Canada.

Question 6: Ecumenism has always been part of my Christian life. Most recently, I have the joy of pursing my doctorate in a non-Anglican Seminary. Of my cohort, I am the only Anglican. We have had many enjoyable conversations regarding the distinctiveness of our church traditions, histories, and theologies. There is a shared respect amongst us, and a desire to focus on our common love for Christ rather than the liturgical practices wherein we may differ. Being a part of such an ecumenical gathering has also made me value and respect my own Anglican tradition in a deeper way.

It is important to recognise that ecumenism is not about watering down our tradition or practices for the sake of finding the lowest common denominator amongst a diverse group. Our church is not called to jettison its Anglican roots. Instead, we are called to honor our liturgical sensibility, our historic rootedness, and the breadth of expressions that make up our denomination - just as we honour the distinctiveness of other denominational traditions.

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