Wednesday, October 26, 2016, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Most Reverend Fred Hiltz made his first visit to the current location of the Diocesan Offices at 1410 Nanton Avenue.
Archbishop Hiltz had just completed a visit to the Diocese of BC so Bishop Skelton collected him at the ferry terminal at 10am. The principal purpose for his visit to the D of NW is to attend the Anglican Church Women’s (ACW) National President’s Conference the evening of October 26 and then to install the Executive Officers of the ACW during a Eucharist at St. George, Fort Langley on October 27. He did however, make time in his schedule to tour the offices, have lunch with the staff and spend some time in informal Q&A with clergy of the diocese.
The Synod staff were delighted to welcome the Primate.
Bill Siksay, Administrative Assistant to the Bishop and Executive Archdeacon found out early in the morning that catering for the lunch would not be available so he quickly went shopping and put together a soup, sandwich, fruit and sweets luncheon in a very short span of time.
As the staff, Bishop and Archbishop stood in a circle in the Trendell Lounge, the facility that is shared with the parish of St. John, Shaughessy, the Archbishop led the group in prayer, offering grace. Then it was into the kitchen to fill up the plates, with the Executive Archdeacon, the Venerable Douglas Fenton staffing the soup pot and ladle.
About fifteen minutes into the meal, Bishop Skelton asked the Primate what really “energizes” and “challenges” him in his ministry. Following that question, Archbishop Hiltz informally addressed the staff for about a half an hour, sharing that what really energizes him is visiting different places around the Anglican Church of Canada. He said that he had only been in the national church offices for two days in October of 2016. The Primate spoke about visiting very small parishes and very large parishes and how he is sensitive to the feel of the liturgy and of all that goes with the liturgy, the announcements, the bulletin text, how long people linger after worship. What is reinforced for the Primate as he visits the faith communities of the Church is that this is so much about being in relationship, with each other, with other dioceses, with other provinces of the Anglican Communion. He spoke about the worldwide Anglican Communion and the Anglican Church of Canada’s place in that Communion. As the time approached for him to begin his conversation with the clergy of the diocese he concluded by thanking the Synod staff for their ministry. He said that bishops need to be surrounded by competent people and that Bishop Skelton is “blessed” in this regard. It was a blessing for all who were present to have this opportunity to hear these words from the Primate delivered in this relaxed context.
Following the luncheon, Archbishop Hiltz and Bishop Skelton adjourned to the main conference room where they participated in a two hour conversation with a approximately a dozen clergy of the diocese.