In 2023, the parish of St. Anselm's, Vancouver will enter its 70th year of mission and ministry to the West Point Grey and UBC neighbourhoods. As the parish approaches this jubilee year, they are making this a year of pilgrimage. Pilgrimage into their history, pilgrimage into a deeper sense of community, all of which is preparing for the pilgrimage into the next 70 years of life together in the gospel. An anchor for their pilgrimage is prayer, which is a time of intentionality and sacred listening to the presence of God, that helps locate the sacred presence in the mundane everyday activities of life, like walking.
To begin the pilgrimage towards the 70th jubilee of the parish, Vicar, the Reverend. Alex Wilson, is embarking on a pilgrimage to their patron saint’s grave at Canterbury Cathedral. The Reverend Wilson is scheduled to be in London, June 5/6 for HM Elizabeth's Jubilee and will visit the shrine during that time. Accompanying him on the journey are the collected prayers, petitions, and intercessions of the congregation to be offered at St. Anselm’s grave. The Rev. Alex had this to say about his upcoming pilgrimage:
I am really excited about going on pilgrimage again after the long challenges of COVID-19 and travel. This will be my first trip to Canterbury and I pray that it will be a wonderful opportunity to walk a sacred path in prayer with my community on my heart. Pilgrimage, as a spiritual practice was introduced to me as a teenager as part of diocesan programming for youth, when we went to Taizé in France with Bishop Michael Ingham who was Diocesan at that time. That simple invitation to come and walk, in prayer, to a new place and new experience of what God is up to in my life and the world, has become an intersection point in the rest of my life. Pilgrimage has become a constant reminder that prayer can do more than I could ever ask or imagine. I am grateful to the parish for supporting this trip, for our shared ministry and for me. I pray that this year of pilgrimage as a parish will be a year of transformation and celebration as we recognize the grace of God’s Jubilee life active and alive in the ministry of this parish.
St. Anselm’s moved to its present location in 1953, and has seen the changes of decades of social challenges come through its doors. From the glory of packed pews to the grave side option of a “dignified closure'', this parish remains a living example of what the power of the Resurrection can do. New life floods every aspect. For the last 15 years, the parish has been a founding member of the West Side Anglican’s Neighbourhood Ministry, which, alongside its sister parishes of St. Philips, St. Helen’s, and St. John’s, Shaughnessy, seeks to serve and build community with those who are homeless and underhoused in their community. They take seriously the call of Christ to love their neighbor as they continue to discern and live a life which breaks down the walls and barriers of isolation students and seniors feel in an ever-changing world. The Parish of St. Anselm's continues to be a bedrock of support for the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), and recently expanded their commitment to support the work of the Vancouver General Hospital Chaplain and the work of the Urban Aboriginal Ministry. To find out more about St. Anselm's ministry, visit www.stanselm.ca