In conversation with … The Reverend Canon Dawn Davis, Faith Formation Coordinator

Dawn Davis
The Reverend Canon Dawn Davis

Niagara Anglican (NA): Tell us about yourself.

Dawn Davis (DD): Three key things to know about me:

  1. I am a follower of Jesus and I am passionate about helping people grow spiritually.
  2. I love the church because I believe it is the best community to help us form into the fullness of our calling.
  3. I am intentional about partnering with the creative energy of the Holy Spirit. It can be a bit scary, but it can take us to unimaginable places.

Other bits to know:

I am ordained, have a human resources certification and recently earned a doctorate in ministry in spiritual formation.

My husband, daughter and I have just moved from Trinity Church Aurora to Hamilton and are discovering how similar it is to our coastal roots in Halifax.

NA: Tell us more about your role in Niagara Diocese.

DD: I think for a long time we thought people would spiritually grow if they simply came to church. Our beautiful liturgies do help people connect with God, but because it is a private experience it can quickly fade. Consequently, lay leaders often say they are not confident as spiritual leaders in offering public prayer or using scripture in their daily lives.

In a nutshell, I am here to help the church spiritually grow in faith, so our people can confidently share their stories of transformation and live into the fulness of their calling.

NA: You are to spend 70% in the greater St. Catharines area (GSC). What will you be doing there and what do you hope to achieve?

DD: My goals are that:

  1. All eight parishes be equipped with spiritual practices and resources to help them discern their future and build suitable discipleship paths.
  2. All parishioners — lay and clergy — are deepening in their faith as they feel called.

To make this happen I will connect people’s needs with resources by creating an online bank of programs, books, conferences and spiritual mentors. I will offer area workshops, parish consultations, preaching, presentations, clergy peer group facilitation and a faith-formation blog based on the Sunday lectionary.

NA: Your other 30% will be devoted to the rest of Niagara Diocese. What are your plans there?

DD: A lot of what I do with the GSC churches will be extended to the diocese.

NA: What brought you to this ministry or how has your thinking about ministry changed over your career?

DD: About 12 years ago, my parish wanted to go spiritually deeper, but I couldn’t take people somewhere I hadn’t been myself. That awareness significantly changed my role from pastoral leader to spiritual equipper and began a new stage in my own spiritual deepening.

NA: You created a new resource. Tell us about its purpose and benefits.

DD: There are few spiritual formation resources for church leaders, so I created one. Revive: Equipping Church Leaders to be Spiritual Leaders was recently published online by Forward Movement, a ministry of The Episcopal Church U.S.A.
Revive is a 10-month, small-group discipleship program for church leaders that focuses on prayer, scripture and a call to ministry. I hope it is a resource, along with many others, that the church will find helpful.

NA: Any final thoughts?

DD: My question for each person is: Are you growing spiritually? How can your church help with the most exciting and challenging journey you will ever take … following Jesus!

The Reverend Canon Dawn Davis is Niagara’s Faith Formation Coordinator.