Response to the “We are looking for a Bishop who will be”

I agree that a Bishop must be an inspired and innovative leader who will help all people, lay and ordained and I would be honoured to serve in this capacity in the Diocese of Saskatoon. I have been inspired by God to let my name stand for Bishop and to bring to the Diocese of Saskatoon the leadership skills I have along with a firm desire, which has been with me throughout my life, to help people.  More specifically, as a mature Christian, I have a strong desire to help people know of God’s love and to encourage them to be in relationship with God and one another and to work toward the mission that God calls all of us to. I identify with the call for an individual who possesses clarity, humility and joy as these have been guiding principles throughout my ministry. A clear vision for all parts of the Diocese, city, town and rural settings, will require the ability to think subtly and to understand that different settings will require different resources and expectations. The kingdom of God can flourish in all kinds of different ways and settings and that diversity should be welcome within the Diocese.  This includes allowing Indigenous people to set their agenda. By this I mean, I would not provide leadership that would set out to tell an indigenous group what they need, but would ask, listen respectfully and move together prayerfully. I believe it is essential to be a person of prayer and to always find ways to build trust in community. Building trust will help when we find ourselves on either side of the Same Sex Marriage concern. This division cannot be approached with arrogance, self-righteousness or condescension because I think it is these attitudes that cause the most harm and threaten our ability to stay together. As a Bishop I would seek to find, with the help of God, ways for us to be together even when we disagree.

1.Since ordination in the Diocese of Niagara in 1991, I have worked in busy and happy parishes. In every case,I would never have believed that the next call on my life when it came, was the thing that began the next happy and challenging ministry. I never contemplated leaving the Diocese of Niagara or moving to Windsor or many other steps in between, but God has guided them all. I was approached to consider whether the Diocese of Saskatoon may be the next place where I might enjoy a happy and challenging ministry. To be a genuine voice is to pay attention, to speak the truth in a loving way even when it is difficult, to trust the gifts that God has given me for insight and discernment, to listen and to act with confidence that God is in it. One of my tests of God’s will is this: in it joy can be found. My record shows that I understand both transitional ministry and long- term leadership. I have been directly responsible for two archdeaconries - both with more than 20 clergy under my supervision. I have been described by clergy under my direction as firm, but fair. I enjoy my work as an archdeacon while at the same time serving busy congregations and taking my part in the governance of the church. Stabile, consistent and pastorally sensitive leadership is what my peers would commend in me.

2.Bridges have firm foundations on both sides of the chasm to be bridged. Bridge builders understand the foundations of the issues that face the church and begin to make a way - with God’s help - to get the ends to meet somewhere in the middle. Bridge builders also must care that the chasm is bridged. This means listening closely, being interested in people and loving them, and desiring their growth in the gospel and in discipleship. It also means being willing to pick up tools and work hard. All of this, I am prepared to do. Healing is a gift of the Holy Spirit when we are attuned to the will of God. In order to be healed we must ask. We cannot be passive. Even Jesus asked blind Bartimaeus what he wanted. Jesus knew he wanted his sight. But Jesus needed to know if Bartimaeus knew he needed his sight. Discerning what is needed is an integral part of episcopal leadership. The diocese has identified a need for listening and action. James 1.19 reminds us to be quick to think but slow to speak. Another way to say this is to act without haste, but without delay. I set as my personal standard to speak with care, clarity and love. All these things are already present in my life. I have been called to them all along and have expressed them consistently over the last 27 years of ministry.

3. Baptism is the place where our walking together begins. Every baptised person is a child of God, a member of Christ and an inheritor of the Kingdom of God and so this is where we must begin. Unity is absolutely possible as long as our focus is on the source of our unity, Jesus Christ. It is possible to walk together while we disagree as long as we are interested in one another, see one another in the light of Christ and will not walk away from one another. Mutual flourishing is demonstrated best when each disciple of Jesus joyfully lives out that calling to which God has called them. The bishop’s responsibility is to release in people the gifts that God has given for ministry, even when we disagree. The Church can be the place that teaches the world that unity is possible; to see one another and not just our “positions” on issues or assumptions about one another.    

4.In my parish I use the resource “Five Marks of Love” produced by the brothers of the SSJE as a way of bringing out the path forward to the five marks of mission. They boil the five marks down to five key words: TELL (proclaim), TEACH (baptise and nurture), TEND (respond to human need) TRANSFORM (unjust structures are changed) and TREASURE (to safeguard creation). From the profile of the Diocese of Saskatoon, as in many other parts of the Canadian Church the first two marks are our greatest challenge because of our reserved nature as Anglicans. As a bishop I would make these two marks a priority. The Anglican Communion is entering a season of intentional discipleship as a matter of response to the five marks and in the lead up to the next Lambeth Conference. The Diocese of Saskatoon must take its place in both the communion and the national church in working toward thoughtful discipleship that grows Christians in their faith. Decline is not God’s will for us, nor is it inevitable. The next three marks are the evidence that prove our faithful discipleship. The Diocese of Saskatoon faces the same pressures as many other dioceses: rural depopulation, increased secularization and depleted and dwindling resources. Scripture, the sacraments and the Spirit of God, are not in short supply. Mission in the Church is using the first two marks (TELL and TEACH) to empower and propel the last three (TEND, TRANSFORM and TREASURE). The first two marks give meaning and purpose to the work of the last three marks and root us in our Christian identity. There are signs of all five happening through the diocese in the profile, but the future is dependent on the promotion of the work of the first two marks and the refocus of the work of the last three. 

5. What has begun in a number of parishes needs to expand to include all the parishes of the Diocese and every aspect of ministry. Reconciliation is a process by which we make room for one another to flourish and be faithful disciples in our contexts. This begins with listening, followed by respectful asking of questions, and then listening some more. Demonstrating a willingness to learn, to change, to act but first having listened closely to the experiences of the Indigenous peoples of the Diocese of Saskatoon. This can be achieved through a diocese wide process of consultation beginning with listening. Then resources will need to be allocated to support new and engaging ministries rooted in reconciliation. Together, the Diocese of Saskatoon and the Indigenous Anglican church can imagine collaborative initiatives that make room for one another as we walk the path of Jesus. I am confident that God will bless these endeavors because they are a reflection of God reconciling the world to himself in Christ Jesus.

6. The best ecumenism is born of a sense of two things. Recognition that our oneness in Christ binds us in ways that we cannot express, and the development of a sense of “holy envy” for the very best of whatever tradition is not our own. We, for our part as Anglicans, must know our own tradition in order to provide the way for others to develop this same holy envy of us. I am committed to ecumenism and to being a part of common mission, prayer, study and worship that is already a part of the Diocese of Saskatoon. My ecumenical vision for the church is the same one given to us by Jesus: “That we might be one.” This is done by making relationships and Jesus the primary focus of all our study, prayer and worship.




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