Doreen Stephens, retiring archivist, examining documents at the diocesan archives, located at Vancouver School of Theology

You never know where a parish anniversary may take you! Many years ago, when I was a Warden at St. Augustine’s, Marpole, I was asked to coordinate our 70th Anniversary festivities. Following this event, we were left with photos and other memorabilia that we didn’t know what to do with. We contacted the Archivist for the newly [1980] formed diocesan archives for some help.

One thing led to another and after volunteering in the Archives for a number of years, I applied for and was selected to become the second Diocese of New Westminster archivist. I began January 1, 1986 and I will retire on December 31 – amazingly, 20 years later! It has been a wonderful experience and I want to say thank-you for the opportunity. I also want to thank all those who have supported the Archives over the years.

I want to thank parishioners – archivists, historians & others - who have realized the value of their parish heritage and have cared for precious parish records, transferring them, regularly, to the Archives for permanent safekeeping. I include in this number the faithful archives volunteers whose hours of work has permitted the Archives to accomplish MUCH more than would have been otherwise possible.

I want to thank parish secretaries who have unfailingly and cheerfully responded to my various queries over the years – just the other day, Janet Palin from St. David/St. Paul, Powell River, noted that we have been “telephone colleagues” for 11 years!

I want to thank diocesan clergy for their cooperation and support, especially during various microfilming and other archival projects. The Archives Advisory Committee, along with incoming Archivist, Melanie Wallace, plan to begin a Parish Archivists & Historians group in the near future to enhance this parish-archives relationship.

I want to thank the diocesan Synod Office staff, for their support, cooperation and fellowship. For the sometimes isolated position of Archivist, it is a blessing to be part og such a strong ministry team.

Finally, I want to thank “my” bishops - Archbishop David Somerville who hired the first diocesan archivist, retired layman Garth Walker, in 1980, and has continued to be a friend to the archives. I want to thank Archbishop Douglas Hambidge, who hired me and has supported both the archives and the archivist to the fullest during his episcopate and since. I want to thank Bishop Michael who has continued this episcopal support and friendship, ensuring that our Archival holdings are available to a broad array of users.

As my energy level begins to go down, I am so pleased that the bishop and diocese has affirmed the place of the Archives by hiring a recent graduate of the Master of Archival Studies programme at the University of B. C.. Melanie Wallace will bring her special skills, knowledge and energy to the position. I know she will be welcomed and supported by you all.

Thank-you for a fulfilling twenty years.