The Parish of St. Matthew, Abbotsford marked the tenth anniversary of the Rev. Allen Doerksen’s incumbency on Sunday, September 5, 2021.
After several years of imposed inactive presence in Abbotsford, the encouragement of Bishop Ingham brought a few Anglicans together for worship at St Matthew’s. The hall was used for the service in 2010, under the watchfulness of competitive ANiC members. This was a lay-led beginning.
In early 2011, Rev. Doerksen was appointed as “Missioner” to give leadership to the small group. The timing of this new ministry came as the diocese regained authority over the facilities of the St. Matthew’s buildings and belongings in July of 2011. Worship moved into the sanctuary. There were a number of new worshippers beginning to attend church.
The small beginning, under sometime hostile activities, has created a thriving congregation. This still-growing and ever-changing parish serves a wide variety of people of many backgrounds and all ages. Fr. Allen’s leadership continues to guide the mission of the parish, witnessing to the needs of Abbotsford and beyond.
Allen is now not only the Vicar of St Matthew’s, but also for St Thomas, Chilliwack. He has led the mission in Abbotsford out of dependence and into a sustainable parish, connected to the history of over 100 years of presence in this part of the Fraser Valley. Now, onwards!
Submitted by Art Turnbull
Here are some comments from former warden Linda Burton about the celebration:
"Cookies, Cromwell, cards and conversation marked the after-service celebration of the Rev. Allen Doerksen's 10 years at St. Matthew's, Abbotsford. The cookies were homemade by parishioner Mary Lee and distributed according to COVID protocols. Cromwell was in biography form -- a thick book on a topic of interest to Allen. Enclosed in cards of congratulations and appreciation were restaurant gift cards for Allen and Denise, while other cards and one-to-one conversations expressed various parishioners' thanks for Allen’s continuing ministry as vicar of the parish. Later, personal wishes came from Bishop John Stephens; former bishop, the Most Reverend Melissa Skelton; and the appointing bishop of ten years ago, the Right Reverend Michael Ingham.
As a symbol of all the challenges over these ten years -- moving from diocesan full support to now self-sustaining (half-time position at St Matthew's, half-time at St Thomas, Chilliwack) -- Allen found himself with a "Labyrinth" wooden puzzle that requires a marble manipulated via two tilting trays past many drop holes to reach its destination. The parishioners of St. Matthew’s enthusiastically agreed that it was good to have this joyful and good-humoured occasion to mark Allen’s decade of ministry in Abbotsford.
Photos by Dick Lee except where noted