It was Sunday, September 12, 2021, 731 days prior to the Celebration of a New Ministry held at St. Francis in the Wood, September 11, 2023, that the Reverend Angus Stuart celebrated the Eucharist as he had been doing the previous 16 years. But this would be his final time as rector of the West Vancouver parish located in the Caulfeild neighbourhood as he would retire on October 1, 2021. Prior to his departure, an interim had been appointed and the Venerable Stephanie Shepard served the parish well until the August 1, 2023 arrival of the 12th Rector of the Parish of St. Francis in the Wood, the Reverend Alex Wilson.

The sub-heading on the diocesan website parish page for St. Francis’ reads:

“There has been a church building in Lower Caulfeild since 1927, and over the years the worship and prayers of generations of people have been offered in this sacred space.”

The members of the parish love their building and they love their location and although defining success of a worshipping community is not something that is done (as there are so many factors to consider), the consensus is that St. Francis’ is a strong and caring community that recognizes what’s needed pitches in and gets things done.

The second paragraph of the letter of welcome written by the Reverend Alex Wilson that appeared on the inside front page of the order of service bulletin reads:

"Today’s service is the culmination of years and months of praying and wrestling with the Holy Spirit, grounded in baptismal and Eucharistic fellowship which has grown a community that made tonight possible. Tonight, is not just a celebration for us in isolation, but one for the whole diocese because this ministry we do here affects our neighbour and vice versa. We belong not just to St. Francis, but to a worldwide movement known as the Anglican Communion whose arms reach into every corner of the world. So as our diocesan family gathers to celebrate with us at the start of this new ministry, we gather on the shoulders of giants. Those generations before us who have sought to be faithful to Christ’s ministry, a ministry we all share at St. Francis’."

Bishop John Stephens presided at the Eucharist and inducted the new rector; the Venerable Stephen Muir, Archdeacon of Capilano and Rector of the Parish of St. Agnes, Grand Boulevard in North Vancouver led the Covenant in Ministry; the Reverend Aaron Miller, incumbent at University Hill United Church, UBC and the Reverend Wilson’s neighbour and chaplaincy colleague during his years as Vicar of St. Anselm’s, UBC preached; Archdeacon for Deacons for the Diocese of New Westminster and Deacon at St. Clement’s, Lynn Valley, the Venerable Peggy Trendell-Jensen was Deacon of the Word; Regional Dean of Sea to Sky and Rector of St. John’s, Squamish, the Reverend Cameron Gutjahr welcomed the new rector to the deanery; music in worship was led by the Choir of St. Francis directed by Karen Lee-Moring at the piano and violinist, Larisa Lebeda.

There was a good turnout of clergy, and a supportive group of folks from the Reverend Wilson’s former parish which is always considered a good sign of things to come.

Please keep the Reverend Alex Wilson and the members of the Parish of St. Francis in the Wood in your prayers as they continue their mission and ministry.


  • Bishop John leads the applause of welcome for the Reverend Alex Wilson, the new Rector of the Parish of St. Francis-in-the-Wood.
  • Bishop John greets the community.
  • The second reading, Colossians 1:24-2:3 shared by Roger Sweeny, ODNW
  • Deacon of the Word, Archdeacon for Deacons, the Venerable Peggy Trendell-Jensen proclaims the Gospel, Luke 6: 6-11
  • The preacher, the Reverend Aaron Miller, Minister at University Hill United Church, UBC.
  • The Venerable Stephen Muir begins the Covenant in Ministry
  • Following the first section of the Covenant in Ministry, Archdeacon Muir presents the Reverend Wilson with the Bishop’s License
  • Receiving the ewer of water for the font from Theresa Odishaw, ODNW during the Presentation of the Symbols of Ministry
  • Receiving symbols of Reconciliation from Roger Sweeny
  • Receiving symbols of children's and youth ministry from Fiona Galvani
  • The welcome from the Regional Dean, the Reverend Cameron Gutjahr, Rector of St. John's, Squamish.
  • Rosalind Irving leading the Prayers of the People.
  • For the first "official" time as rector, the Reverend Wilson says "The peace of the Lord be always with you".
  • The former interim priest-in-charge of St. Francis, the Venerable Stephanie Shepard shares a sign of peace.
  • The Eucharistic Prayer
  • Holy Communion
  • Larisa Lebeda
  • Karen Lee-Morlang
  • The Choir
  • The posed archival shot of bishop and newly inducted rector.
  • Reception
  • Reception

Photos Wayne Chose, ODNW