The coal mines of Springhill, Nova Scotia were certainly not the safest places to be. There were three distinct events, 1861, 1956 and October 23, 1958. It was the third disaster, the result of a “bump” or underground earthquake possibly caused by removal of coal from the bedrock that killed 75 and trapped 99. The 99 were rescued incrementally over the next two weeks. This tragedy not only shocked Canadians and Anglicans but the entire world. The Church recognized a need to respond quickly to emergencies and one year later in late 1959 the Primate’s World Relief Fund was established. In 1969 the scope was increased and the organization became The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund.
On Saturday, April 6, 2019, approximately 60 clergy and lay gathered at St. Mary’s, Kerrisdale for a fund and awareness raising dinner in honour of the organization's 60th Anniversary. Responding to the invitation of diocesan PWRDF Unit Chair, Peter Goodwin, ODNW, Executive Director, Will Postma made the trip from Toronto to attend and offer an after dinner address. Peter Goodwin warmly welcomed all the guests and as usual his enthusiasm was contagious. Peter was joined by other members of the Unit including the Reverend Margaret Marquardt who is also Chair of the diocesan Eco-Justice Unit. Rev. Marquhardt assisted ED, Will Postma with a lucky number prize draw. The fundraiser theme was $60 for 60 years. Those who donated $60 were eligible to put their names in a bucket with 5 names being drawn for 5 take home bottles of wine. Donation envelopes were given to Will Postma to take to Toronto. Information about the totals will be circulated when available and will be included in this article when it is published in the June 2019 issue of Topic, the monthly magazine of the Diocese of New Westminster. One of the winners was former Synod staffer and current Parish Officer at St. Mary's, Kerrisdale, Glen Mitchell.
There were also two archbishops and one bishop in attendance. The Most Reverend Douglas Hambidge, the 7th Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster was there with his wife Denise Hambidge, ODNW. Denise has been a tireless advocate of PWRDF initiatives, a part of her substantial ministry in the Church. The 8th Bishop, the Right Reverend Michael Ingham was present and participated in the program as was the current Archbishop, the Most Reverend Melissa Skelton. Archbishop Skelton was joined by her husband the Reverend Eric Stoo, currently Deacon at St Michael’s, Vancouver. Archbishop Skelton also spoke to the crowd as part of the evening's agenda. Youth Council Member Jessica Steele and Provincial Youth Rep, Clare Urquhart were also present and addressed the crowd, sharing information about their PWRDF ministry.
Also in attendance were a number of veteran and newcomer PWRDF parish representatives. Present at the dinner were 12 parish PWRDF reps representing 12 parishes.
The diners reported that the food was excellent. Among the notable culinary offerings was a delicious chicken dish and an assortment of vegan choices. Caterer for the event were the unoffical official caterers of the Diocese of New Westminster, "Bette Geddes and Associates Catering".
An early highlight of the evening was the singing of a "Hymn" written by the Reverend Peter Niblock in honour of the 50th Anniversary of PWRDF in 2009. Everyone stood and sang. The chorus was led by a featured quartet on the dias.
In his message, ED Will Postma thanked those present for their support and also for the ongoing support of the diocese. He noted how PWRDF has grown in recognition by government and other secular groups over the past ten years and more importantly in funding. He pointed to the work of certain partner organizations and the positive conversations he's had with recipients of programming and aid. Beginning April 1, PWRDF moved to a new 5 year Strategic Plan going until 2024 with five chief objectives. More information on those objectives will be made available soon.
Archbishop Skelton in her address affirmed her enthusiastic support for PWRDF and how the organization is appreciated in the diocese. Her Grace thanked the diocesan unit and organizers/helpers at the event and all present for showing their support and aptly described a number of aspects of PWRDF's ministry worthy of all our support.
Many thanks to photographer Wayne Chose for these excellent photographs that are far more than just images of an event but truly capture the feel of the evening.
- Peter Goodwin, ODNW, long time Chair of the diocesan PWRDF Unit, Shirin Theophilus, ODNW a stalwart PWRDF supporter and parishioner at St. Anselm’s and Will Postma, Executive Director of PWRDF.
- Jane Dittrich, diocesan comms’ contributor and parishioner at Christ Church Cathedral handled the bartending duties. Here she is with Will Postma, Executive Director.
- A special quartet leads the singing Peter Niblock's Hymn to PWRDF.
- The 8th and 9th Bishops of the Diocese of New Westminster
- The 7th and 8th Bishop’s of the Diocese of New Westminster in conversation.
- Clare and Jessica offer information about the involvement of younger members of the Anglican Church of Canada in PWRDF
- Glen Mitchell receives his prize, a bottle of wine from Jane Dittrich
- The Group Shot taken at the end of the evening