Bishop John Stephens’ first episcopal visit to his Parish of St. Timothy, Brentwood took place December 12, 2021, Gaudete Sunday. The bishop preached and presided at a Celebration of Sung Eucharist. This was also another anniversary of sorts as it was three years plus two days since the Reverend James Duckett had been inducted by Archbishop Melissa Skelton as rector of the parish on December 10, 2018. This would also be the final liturgy for the Deacon of the Word for the Eucharist, the Reverend Lilian Elliott who earlier in the fall had expressed to Bishop John her wish to retire from active ministry. Recently Deacon Elliott had served at St. Margaret’s of Scotland and then at St. John the Apostle, Port Moody following the merger of those two parishes in February of 2014. The Reverend Elliott has also served as a diocesan chaplain at Burnaby's St. Michael's Centre.
Bishop John began his sermon (which focused on the Gospel Luke 3: 7-18) with these introductory words:
“It is great to be with you here at St. Timothy’s. I have been Bishop of the Diocese for about nine months, and it is indeed a pleasure to be with you in worship and come to learn more about your ministry here in this place and at this time. I am so grateful to your rector, James and for his ministry as your priest, pastor, and teacher. He has done much good work in determining God’s calling for the parish of St. Timothy’s here and now, and as we look toward the future. I am also grateful to Deacon Lilian for her amazing ministry of pastoral care as a deacon. She will be retiring at the end of this year, but I wanted to say how appreciative I am of her ministry and her response to the calling of Deacon. It is great to be with all of you today.”
The Lower Mainland was beginning to recover from the atmospheric river events that took place during much of November, however the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was amping up and on December 12 nobody was quite sure what gathering for worship would look like over the next two weeks as Christmas approached. Although there was some concern, this liturgy took place in person with 30 worshippers gathered, carefully observing physical distancing except for those in family groups. The liturgy was livestreamed on Facebook using MEVO technology managed by a skillful volunteer who arrived early to set up the shots for the livestream. The flow of the liturgy was extremely smooth, providing a positive and prayerful worship experience for those gathered in the nave and for those gathered online.
These photos may help to tell the story of Bishop John’s first visit to St. Timothy's.
Photos Randy Murray