The 11th Investiture of ODNW new members was celebrated within the context of Morning Prayer at the Massey Theatre in New Westminster, November 5, 2022, 10:30am following a four-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Investiture is a biennial event. The purpose of this liturgy and the investiture contained within it is to honour a new group of people who have distinguished themselves in living out their baptismal identity and commitment in an exemplary way through service within their parishes, in their broader communities and in the Diocese of New Westminster.
One of the major departures from past versions was the invitation to the 2020 members to attend and be seated in the front rows centre of the theatre in order to be recognized prior to the investiture of the 2022 members. There was no investiture liturgy in 2020, new members were invested in their parishes, mostly in gatherings of 10 people or less.
For 2022, forty-four Parish Nominees and ten Bishop's Appointees accepted the diocesan honour. Forty-six of the fifty-four were in attendance in person. One member was invested posthumously with a family member present to accept the ribbon and medallion, and the other seven will be invested at their parishes later.
This was the first ODNW Investiture of Bishop John Stephens’ episcopacy. Bishop John was the Officiant a Preacher. His homily is available here on the diocesan website.
Each of the Regional Archdeacons: the Venerable Kevin Hunt, Archdeacon of Burrard; the Venerable Stephen Muir, Archdeacon of Capilano; the Venerable Luisito Engnan, Archdeacon of Fraser; the Venerable Stephanie Shepard, Archdeacon of Granville; the Venerable Kelly Duncan, Archdeacon of Lougheed; the Venerable Richard Leggett, Archdeacon of Westminster invested the new members from their archdeaconry while the Executive Archdeacon of the diocese, the Venerable Douglas Fenton read the Citations. This was the first time since the inaugural that the Warden of the Order, Robert Watt, ODNW was not present to participate and read the Citations. The Dean of the Diocese of New Westminster, the Very Reverend Christopher Pappas invested the 10 Bishop's Appointees who were all in attendance.
The Massey Theatre staff did a wonderful job working with and guiding the diocesan production team who gathered early on Saturday morning to make sure that all was in readiness for the service.
In 2022, both greeting coordinator, Jane Dittrich and photographer, Wayne Chose were being invested which raised a couple of logistics challenges. However, Jane and Wayne were happy to reprise their ODNW event roles which they executed with their usual aplomb and were still able to be on the stage to be invested by Dean Pappas and congratulated by Bishop Stephens.
Music in worship was led by organist Michael Dirk, Director of Music and Organist at St. John's, Shaughnessy. A choral octet also from St. John's, Shaughnessy was led by Jaime Yoon. Michael arrived early to set up his portable electronic organ console with four separate speakers, integrated into the Massey Theatre sound system. The organ sounded great and the level in the theatre supported congregational singing.
The Offertory Hymn was the traditional “For All the Saints’ sung enthusiastically by the 400 plus in attendance as the 13-member greeting team organized by Jane moved amongst the congregation collecting financial gifts to be directed to the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF). The total collected during the Offertory was $3884.15.
A light lunch was provided onsite following the liturgy by Bette Geddes, ODNW and Sharing Abundance Catering. As there are no wall jacks for electricity in the room where the luncheon is served, Bette is tasked with coming up with a delicious light meal with a beverage that does not require heating or refrigeration. For 2022, she outdid herself with a choice of three delicious bunwiches with sides, desserts and drinks.
Near the conclusion of his homily, Bishop John shared some quotes from Saint Teresa (Mother Teresa) and how those words fit into the modern day saints being honoured that day:
"Saint Mother Teresa offered many thoughts that make sense to consider on this day. Let me share a few with you: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” “The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.” “A life not lived for others is not a life.”
Today in our diocese we are honouring people who know Saint Teresa’s words well. They have responded to the call to live out the gospel, the good news, the beatitudes, the Lambeth calls, the doing to others as we would have them do to us. They were not wanting the spotlight but merely wanting to get on with the work of loving one another but did it in the small responsibilities, the hidden chores that might not set the world on fire but do change perspectives of what is most important. These people are involved with all sorts of activities that paint a very different picture of the world than is sometimes portrayed on the news. They have offered themselves in ways that remind us of God’s love and God’s grace. We will hear in a little while about these diocesan saints who have been treasurers, Sunday School teachers, Christmas pageant organizers, meal providers, wardens, parish librarians, trustees, Synod delegates, bread bakers, choir members, gardeners, altar guild members, refugee sponsors, pastoral care visitors, drivers, outreach committee members, stewards of time and talent, environmental stewards, photographers, reconciliation animators, antiracism workers, housing and homelessness advocates, PWRDF volunteers… to name but a few.
The world needs people like these, people who are making a difference. The Church needs people like these, people who see their actions not about themselves but about blessing people beyond themselves. We need people like these so that we can see that saints are not simply those people who are etched in glass or have churches named after them. Saints are those people who help us to see that the Holy Spirit is alive and well in this world and is inviting us to respect the dignity of every human being as we do to others as we would have them do to us."
The next ODNW Investiture will take place the first Saturday of November, 2024. Time and location TBA.
Photos: Wayne Chose and Randy Murray
In the body copy a view from the theatre's orchestra entrance of the stage during Bishop John's sermon.