As with many parishes in the Diocese of New Westminster in 2020, on All Saints Day, the Parish of St. Michael’s, Surrey, gathered in a combined worship service at 9am, to witness the investiture of Leo Golden into the Order of the Diocese of New Westminster (ODNW) in the presence of 35 in-person worshippers; parishioners, family and friends. Others, including Leo’s sister, Beverly, from Ontario, joined through an online livestream platform.
The Venerable Louie Engnan, welcomed the congregation and gave a brief introduction about the Investiture liturgy. The Archdeacon said,
“The purpose of the Order is to honour and give special recognition to lay members of the diocese who have given outstanding service over a significant period of time in their volunteer ministry”.
This year’s Investiture (the 10th in its history) was quite different from the previous years. Archbishop Melissa Skelton empowered priests-in-charge and parishes to invest their parish nominees and Bishop's nominees if applicable. The parish leadership was able to choose the way to do this which would work best for the parish and the nominee. One of the options for parish investitures included investing their nominee on Sunday, November 1, at an in-person service.
One of the ministries Leo advocates is support of the Food Bank and he came to the church with a generous donation. Leo has done this on a regular basis. The parishioners who greeted him as he entered on November 1, all shouted: “Congratulations! and Leo quipped about his mask and fogged up glasses and straightened his silver striped necktie. Leo is known at church for his varied and specific assortment of neck ties and his smart appearance. On this day he looked particularly dapper. Leo and his wife Mavis sat in a pew close to the front as Mavis too would be part of the ceremony.
Archbishop Melissa Skelton and the Synod Office staff had supplied an All Saints Day/ODNW video sermon to all parishes. In the sermon linked here, the Archbishop referred to The Beatitudes (Matt.5:1-12; Luke.6:20-26). Part of her message was about God’s graciousness. The Archbishop likened God’s love to a big net. We are blessed to be part of it, ODNW members are blessed to be part of it. ”We are not a pull yourself up by your bootstraps religion" Archbishop Melissa said. The Archbishop told us that all we have done and all we will do is a result of our answering the love from God.
After the video there was deep silence. Then Leo and Mavis stood on the altar steps as Mavis put on Leo’s ribbon and medallion. They joined hands as Leo’s favorite hymn, “How Great Thou Art” rang out.
The Official Investiture Citation
Leo's nickname at church is "Mr. Breakfast". He began a "post service“ breakfast fellowship that started in parishioners' homes and continues at Ricky's Restaurant years later. Through his 30 years at St. Michael's, he helped renovate the original church building. He has been an elected Trustee to Church Council since 2012 where he assists as a contract negotiator. Leo is a lay administrator and reader. He is devoted to his family. People are his joy.
Photos by Andy Whitmore and Clark Norman