National Marriage Canon XXI - Deanery Discussions

To the Clergy and Members of the Diocese of Saskatoon, 

Greetings in Christ our Lord and Saviour, in July 2019 the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada will gather in Vancouver to bring to the vote, changes to the Marriage Canon XXI. Leadership of the church recognizes the divisive nature of change and thus far, we the church have been far from exemplary much less Christian to change. To ensure that all voices are heard and that we the Diocese of Saskatoon and its representatives hear you, and that we who will attend General Synod 2019 vote with the greater voice, other than our own... I ask that we gather at Regional Deanery discussions to address the changes and how we as a family in God and community, will step up and forward as a Diocese in faith. 

As a Diocese, we know that we are diverse in practice and thinking as is every community. We as a church need to recognize and respect each other in the upcoming discussions for the diversity that we are as children of God, in the Family of God, for at the end of the day we will still need to walk with each other in love, respect and faith, and believe that God is leading us to something greater than ourselves. There can be unity in diversity, there can be love and hope in a lost and broken world, and it begins with us and our faith witness, and knowledge that God Almighty has this. 

In the Deanery discussions, we will gather to hear an opening presentation from Rev. Marie-Louise Ternier-Gommers and myself, then we will listen to you and your voice, respecting each other and the values that make us who we are in the family of God and a community of faith. We will set as a foundation for the discussions the following passages which will be the center of our dialogue:

1 Corinthians 12:12-20  

 John 17:11-18  


"This Holy Estate" - Commission and report

In closing, I do ask that you do your home work and read the passages of scripture, search out the reports in the Link provided and attend the meetings with an open heart, speaking and listening with respect and faith. 

In Christ’s service,


Eastern Deanery                         Saturday, March 16, St. Mary’s, Wadena, 10 AM-3PM

City of Saskatoon Deanery        Saturday, March 23, St. Stephen’s, 10 AM-3 PM

Western Deanery                       Thursday, April 4, St. Paul’s, North Battleford, (5:30 potluck) 6:30-9 PM

Bishop Chris' Reconciliation Stole crafted by Cindy Hoppe

The following article was written by Cindy Hoppe, a textile artist, who made the Reconciliation stole for Bishop Chris. Thank you Cindy for sharing this with all of us.

I connected with an old friend from Co-op store days, Brad Wudrich, now an ordained United Church minister, at the Evangelical Lutheran Church In Canada, Saskatchewan Synod, Convention last June. He had told me years ago of his plan to go into ministry after retiring from the Co-op retail system. We reconnected at the Lutheran convention as he is now in a shared ministry, ‘Partners in Worship,’ serving Lutherans and United Church folk in Shell Lake. I had promised him a stole and he told me that Reconciliation was really resonating with him.

To me, Reconciliation and Lent walk the same path, and as a maker of stoles, I like to do a 2 in one, and pair Advent with Lent. I used a Reconciliation symbol from the City of Saskatoon with accompanying explanation for Brad’s stole but also wanted to follow my own idea in another stole. I used the 4 directions, the cross, and a sweet grass braid as my starting point. The threads are tangled and stressed at the outer edges, coming into a braid as they form the cross. I adjusted the traditional colours of the 4 directions a bit by including blue, but some First Nations recognize blue, and because black has been included in all the braids, it is certainly present and has a larger significance for the Lenten season. To me, the braid is a Trinity symbol, and blue brings us back to baptism.

I have been part of a shared ministry, in Biggar, between St. Paul’s Anglican and Redeemer Lutheran, for 20 years. I also had the privilege of serving as a school trustee for a First Nations public school for 5 years. I don’t pretend to know what I am doing on this Reconciliation Road, but Roger and Mary Ann Assailly’s experiences of the Truth and Reconciliation gatherings were related to me and Brad’s wish ignited this response in me. When I heard of Bishop Chris Harper’s election, I knew where I wanted this stole to go.

Bishop Chris was coming to visit Pastor Sarah Mowat in Biggar before Christmas as he was going to preside over a confirmation service on December 23. I had visited Mary Ann with the stole and she guided me in gifting protocol. It turned out that freezing rain messed with my plans to present it personally to Bishop Chris, but I left it with Sarah and she delivered it. It was a joy to see that the Holy Spirit might have been channelling this project from the beginning, as Bishop Chris donned the stole during Communion and it fits him beautifully.

It was a blessing to see Bishop Chris’s Crozier, made for him by his son, with the 4 directions incorporated into it and the beautiful purple heartwood laminated through the centre. The service was a celebration for many of us in different ways and a homecoming for a piece of creative work that I can trace back to friendships, life experience and a new awareness of walking together going forward.

All photographs courtesy of the Reverend Sarah Mowat.  Top two photos show the Advent side and the bottom photos show the Reconciliation side.

All photographs courtesy of the Reverend Sarah Mowat.

Top two photos show the Advent side and the bottom photos show the Reconciliation side.

Rev. Shawn Sanford Beck


 As the church is a living member in the body of Christ, so is our Diocese. Change and movement is inevitable and today we recognize our membership in the clergy is one less, as Rev. Shawn Sanford Beck has by his own will has stepped out of the Diocese and the Anglican Church, to follow his calling to serve in the United Church of Canada. I ask that we, who know him so well, support him in his decision and bless him with our prayers for all his future endeavors. 

Yours in faith and ministry,

+ Chris

Anglican Journal

If you are like a lot of people nowadays you have to spend time waiting at doctor’s appointments, waiting in line, just waiting. Instead of trying to find something interesting to read in the stack of old magazines, how about subscribing to the Anglican Journal digital edition. You will get an email update when the latest copy is available and all you have to do is click on the picture. Try it below - just click on the picture.

I signed up and even with my eyesight I am able to read the paper on my phone when turned sideways.

Click here to sign up for the news alerts.

Going to Italy?

The Church of the Ascension Cadenabbia Lake Como Italy

Church of Cadnabbia Area 3.JPG

Should you be considering a trip to Italy and to the region of Lake Como you might like to consider calling in on the Church of the Ascension at Cadenabbia (Immediately opposite Bellagio) on Lake Como.

The Church is open daily and our regular Sunday Morning Service in English is at 10.30am to which you would be most welcome at this very inspiring and beautiful part of the world.

The Church is also available for Weddings, Renewal of Wedding Vows, Baptisms, Retreats and all the normal services of the Church.

The Church was built by residents and holiday makers back in the 1890's, it is one of the important land marks of Cadenabbia and should you be walking the Greenways Walk it is mentioned as a place to visit. This prominent church with a number of fine features is immediately opposite the Passenger and Car Ferry in Cadenabbia. 

More information can be found on the website - or Facebook - Church of the Ascension.

Rev'd Roger Williams. Chaplain. Email -

Church at Cadenabia 2.jpg
Church at Cadenabbia 1.jpg

Diocese of Saskatoon Elects New Bishop

The Rev. Chris Harper (pictured here at a Water Blessing at Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto) was elected bishop of the diocese of Saskatoon September 8. Photo: Michael Hudson

The Rev. Chris Harper (pictured here at a Water Blessing at Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto) was elected bishop of the diocese of Saskatoon September 8. Photo: Michael Hudson

The Rev. Chris Harper, Indigenous native priest for the diocese of Toronto, was elected on the fourth ballot during an electoral synod in the diocese of Saskatoon September 8. Harper is to be consecrated as bishop of the diocese November 17.

Harper says he is “incredibly humbled by the encouragement, blessings and prayers” that he has received since the election. “It’s stunning,” he says, adding that he has received messages of support from within the dioceses of Saskatoon and Toronto as well as across Canada and internationally.

“It’s overwhelming what has to be done now, now that the rubber’s hitting the road, so to speak.”

For Harper, who was born in Paradise Hill, Sask., and spent much of his life in Saskatchewan and Alberta, the transition to the diocese of Saskatoon is somewhat of a homecoming. “Wherever parish ministry has called me…that’s always been home,” he says, “But this actually feels like going to true home, where I’ve got relatives, I’ve got my friends and a lot of acquaintances that I’ve known for many, many years.” He also knows many of the parishes and clergy in the diocese, he says.

As one of the smallest self-supporting dioceses, Harper says Saskatoon is well-positioned to accommodate a “family structure,” where “everyone recognizes each other as family, sharing resources, sharing and supporting each other in prayer.”

He hopes he can encourage this “familial feel” both in the culture of the diocese and the way it is structured, he says. While the church often talks about being a “community,” Harper says, the word “family” denotes something deeper. “To be family means you’re going to disagree. Anybody who has brothers or sisters knows you’re going to disagree. But still, you always come back to the same table, and you always share what you have, and you will always love and forgive. That’s the difference between a community and a family.”

For a diocese, “You share resources, you share the meal in that way, and you become a little more open and conversational in that sense, too. It’s a different way of looking at things, but I think it may work.”

But first, he says, he wants to hear from parishioners. “My first agenda is to hear the people…to get to just about as many of the parishes that I can and try to let them know that I will be there, and I am there, for them and with them, and that we can do anything together. Especially if we do it prayerfully and as the spirit leads us.”

Harper’s other goals are to foster greater unity and reconciliation in the diocese. “Oftentimes, the way I see it is, we bubble ourselves. My community, my church, this exists, this is it. This is all we do. Anything outside that bubble doesn’t really exist. I want to try to pop the bubbles of expectations, of self-need and desire, and instead to see where everybody’s together at the one table.”

Harper, who is Plains Cree, has been the diocese of Toronto’s Indigenous native priest since 2016. The position has taught him a lot about the realities of working toward reconciliation in the church.

“The church right now has a real desire to go right into reconciliation, looking at a timeline. ‘All right, well, we’ll be all reconciled within the next two years,’ ” he says. But before that can happen, he says, there must first be “knowledge, understanding, acceptance, acknowledgment, [then] hearing of the stories, and then you go into reconciliation.”

Indigenous people, he says, “are still at the stage of wanting to tell their story—tell their history, tell their need, tell their pain. And they need somebody to listen. But if everybody’s already left the table to become reconciled and work on reconciliation, they’re still missing half the table. So, I’ve been really pushing the churches to truly listen, and that becomes part of reconciliation.” This is especially important in the lead-up to General Synod 2019, he says.

Indigenous Anglican leaders are hoping to present a resolution to create a self-determining Indigenous church within the Anglican Church of Canada to General Synod when it meets in 2019.

Another issue that looms large over the upcoming meeting of General Synod is the proposed marriage canon amendment. When asked his views on the amendment, Harper says, “I can never give anything in the short, because a short answer is either a yes or a no, which is divisive. But a long answer is a…bit…more…open to interpretation and invitation to understanding in the broader sense, so I give long stories.”

Indigenous communities traditionally survived by recognizing the value of change, he says. “Whenever somebody came into the community and they brought something new, it was embraced, because it only meant that they were getting better at doing something. They were finding out something new and exciting, a new way of looking at things…No community ever survived by staying the same, otherwise they’d still be with sticks and rocks.” It didn’t matter who was coming into the community, he says, “whether they were male, female, by all the divisive labels we put on ourselves now. As long as they had something to contribute to the whole, they were embraced, and they [became] part of a family.” Rather than labelling people, he says, he wants to “see people as children of God—it sort of takes down those barriers. We start to look at each other just a little bit differently and hopefully with the same sense of peace.”

Harper says that it is with some regret that he leaves the diocese of Toronto—“I still feel I was just getting started”—but that “the Lord brings us all to the field to do some things, as we hear in Scripture. Some are there just to plant the seed, others to nurture, others to watch over it, some to weed. We all have these things for the final harvest.”

While he is looking forward to what’s to come, “right now there’s the little things that one’s never thought of,” he says, giving the example of a lesson recently learned shopping for bishop’s attire—“Did you know there are different types of purple?”

His very first order of business, he says, will be to sit down and thank everyone who has offered their congratulations. “I’ve been asking everybody for prayer…I know this in the back of my mind, I don’t do this alone. I walk with a great, wonderful, strong leadership.”

Harper was an emergency medical technician before completing a certificate of Indigenous Anglican Theology from James Settee College in the diocese of Saskatchewan and a masters of divinity from Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto. He was ordained as a priest in 2005. He served as a priest in Saskatchewan and Ontario before becoming Indigenous native priest in the diocese of Toronto in 2016.

The current bishop of Saskatoon, David Irving, will retire at the end of September. Irving has served as bishop since 2010.