Eleanor Johnston and Wayne Fraser
The Most Reverend Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Canadian Anglican Church, made good his nickname, Forty-Minute Fred, using this full time to summarize his gratitude and hope for the Anglican Church of Canada in the present and past, as well as for our future.
He was present at Bishop Michael Bird’s consecration in 2007, at his own of course and at Bishop Susan Bell’s in 2018.
Michael and Fred each brought a fresh perspective on the church, and we are beginning to understand how Bishop Susan, as one of only 14 female bishops in Canada, is in her person, a new perspective. He admires the recent efforts in Niagara, noting the courage, compassion and boldness that make our church relevant and vigorous.
Archbishop Fred, with the clock ticking, explained the discernment process in the town hall meetings to choose a new Diocesan vision. Intentional discipleship, being a disciple as opposed to a mere church member, is our goal. Moving in Christ’s name from breaking bread to providing bread, and choosing political stances in the name of justice, these are at the heart of God. It is inspiring to witness the movement of the Spirit in our midst.
“Coming fresh from the future,” God is using “liminal” figures, those who exist on the borderland of church inherited and church emergent. This term relates to the transitional stage of a process, a place of transformation and the calling of prophets. Archbishop Fred emphasized our spiritual ideals by quoting Isaiah, “Behold! I am doing a new thing. Can you not perceive it?” We must name what God is doing and draw others into seeing it.
The Primate praised Bishop Susan as such a liminal figure, living and working on the borderland of heritage and becoming. Both pastoral and prophetic, she is searching out new models of lay leadership, developing ministry teams, fostering a migrant workers ministry and addressing poverty.
What an amazing speaker!
In her response, Bishop Susan thanked the members of the Bishop’s Company for their support of this discretionary fund which allows her to meet the needs of leaders in the diocese who find themselves in a time of crisis or professional transition. The fund allows her to meet such need with compassionate care.
Bishop Susan concluded the evening by announcing an additional celebration for the Company to be held at the cathedral on November 29, 2019.