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September 12, 2012, a good-sized congregation gathered in the nave of St. John’s, Shaughnessy for a Celebration of New Ministry liturgy. All were gathered to welcome the newly appointed rector, the Reverend Father Michael Fuller, recently arrived in Canada after serving for many years in the diocese of London. This was an important day in the life of the parish and in the life of the diocese of New Westminster, for after less than a year of interim ministry provided by the Venerable Andrew Pike and the Venerable John Stephens it was time for the parish to begin building a new ministry and a new future.

We now move forward, 35 months later to 7pm, July 30, 2015, and 60+ people have gathered in the nave of St. John’s, Shaughnessy on a warm Thursday evening for a service of thanksgiving for the three years of Fr. Michael Fuller’s ordained servant-leadership. Many of the parish officers were present, along with: the parish staff; the retired bishop of the diocese, the Right Reverend Michael Ingham; the Executive Archdeacon of the diocese, the Venerable Douglas Fenton; a choral quintet; a trumpeter and director of music/organist, Michael Dirk. This was not the final Eucharist celebrated by Father Fuller during his incumbency as he would complete his ministry commitment at the two scheduled Sunday services, August 2.

The worship July 30 began with an organ prelude, Bach’s Fugue in G Major which led in to the Opening Hymn, Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven enthusiastically sung by the sanctuary party, choir and congregation and featuring the descant line in verse 5 played skillfully by the trumpeter. This rousing opening did a great deal to dispel some of the melancholy in the room and set the tone for what was truly a Thanksgiving Service and Celebration of the Eucharist.

Father Fuller presided and preached at the liturgy. Following the reading of the Gospel, Luke 12: 22-31, he climbed into the pulpit and began his sermon. He looked out at the congregation and asked quietly “Where to start?” For the next few minutes he spoke to his community sharing things that were on his mind at a very personal level. He said that in his opinion “preaching is not my strong suit, I tend to drone on…” at which point someone in the nave cried out “not true!”, he said that he feels that he has let St. John’s down and left the job “uncompleted”. He had not been able to do the amount of teaching that he would have liked to have done and was not able to redirect the focus of the parish (and the diocese) from “pre-occupation with matters that don’t bring us closer to God.” He wanted to do more to communicate the importance of the sacramental approach to the Eucharist. The importance of the Eucharist then became the subject of his homily.

Father Fuller said that “in consuming the Eucharist we become one with Christ literally…it is the central act of all liturgies…” Our commitment to Christ and to our faith “is sealed by the act of acceptance in taking Christ within us, and all that He is and what He represents…mystery and wonder that we all experience.”

He did share some satisfaction with what has transpired over the three years. “Out of the ashes of St. John’s has emerged a small but committed group of Christians who embrace doubt, celebrate diversity and don’t claim absolute knowledge of the Divine.” It was important to Father Michael to “concentrate on making Christ present in worship and dispensing with the entertainment aspect". In his conclusion he affirmed that the liturgy being celebrated that summer evening was “truly a service of thanksgiving…God is with us…for Christ is triumphant.”

During the liturgy, People’s Warden, Louise Hadley approached the lectern and shared with those gathered a letter addressed “To the Wardens and People of St. John’s, Shaughnessy Anglican Church” and written by the Right Reverend Melissa Skelton. This letter would also be read at Father Fuller’s last Eucharist as rector, August 2, it is as follows:

Dear Friends,

I am writing on the occasion of Father Michael Fuller’s final Sunday with you at St. John, Shaughnessy to express my appreciation and thanksgiving for him and his ministry.

Father Michael is a priest’s priest. His irresistible sense of humour and his gift for creating relationships have served your parish, our Diocese, and the broader community in an outstanding way. Given our recent history, his attempts at reconciliation with St. John Vancouver’s clergy were also important and notable.

In his time with us, Father Michael has shown tireless dedication to the development of the prayer and worship life of this Parish and its people. He has established daily prayer with lay leadership and weekly Bible study as features of parish life, while being attentive to a modern catholic liturgical style.

Father Michael’s diocesan ministry has included the ongoing development of support for chaplaincy at Vancouver General Hospital. As chair of the Evangelism Unit he spearheaded, “Back to Church Sunday”.

This week, as the Synod Office moves into 1410 Nanton Avenue, Father Michael’s contribution to development of the rental possibilities of that property are very much in our thoughts. Our new diocesan office owes much to his leadership and attention.

We will greatly miss Father Michael and his ministry with us. I know we all wish him the best for the future and his return to the UK.

In Christ


Following the Eucharist, Dismissal and Closing Hymn, (a stirring version of Onward Christian Soldiers complete with dramatic organ registrations, trumpet and tympani) there was a party held on the patio of the Trendell Lounge. As the sun set and the evening air cooled, members of the parish, clergy colleagues and friends of Father Michael gathered to toast his health, thank him for his service and wish him all the best in the next phase of his ministry.


Some Reflections

From the Reverend Karin Fulcher

I first met Fr. Fuller when I was asked to be Bishop's chaplain and deacon for the Induction service in September 2012. I was immediately struck by Fr. Michael's warm and welcoming personality and wonderful sense of humour (very British, so of course I related!!)

Since I had just retired from ministry at St. David's (Delta) I was looking for a new home in which to worship, and knew immediately that St. John's, Shaughnessy was where I wanted to be. The music and choir under the direction of the very talented Michael Dirk, and the wonderful and reverent liturgy introduced by Fr. Michael enriched my soul and spirit every Sunday, as has his excellent teaching and, sometimes uncomfortable, sermons!

One of the most important things for me has been the very warm welcome my dog Summer received from the congregation and she is now a regular attender on Sundays, and at the Parish Council meetings at which I serve the Parish as Vestry Clerk

I became involved in scheduling the Sunday ministry teams under Fr. Michael, and have now handed this off to the Parish Administrator, but this gave me a wonderful opportunity to get to know the people of the congregation, and I welcomed them into my home at Christmas and in the summer time to enjoy some fellowship outside of church.

This is the parish which Fr. Michael has fostered over his brief time with us and we are all very very sad to see him leave, but I believe we have the will and enthusiasm to continue.

I so appreciate his time with us, and I shall miss his wonderful "British-ness", warm and compassionate presence, and fondness for Marmite!! I have known him barely three years, and yet it feels like a life time and I shall miss him.


From Louise Hadley (People’s Warden)

Dear Father Michael,

Our parish family has been blessed by your leadership, care, love and grace.
We are grateful for all you have taught and shared with us theologically and socially - for introducing us to "seasonal libations".

Your Bible Study sessions were no less than joyful!

On a personal note, I am thankful for the positive influence you have had on my life - for your belief in me and your friendship. You have enriched my life.

Your SJS family will keep you in our hearts and prayers and keep your enthusiasm, love and spirit alive in our holy place.


As we in the diocese of New Westminster turn the page of the St. John’s, Shaughnessy story that covers the three year incumbency of the Reverend Father Michael Fuller we will remember his legacy, of how he inspired a group of people to have the courage and commitment to form a new Christian community in a place that had experienced more than its share of sadness and discord.

Perhaps the mission statement displayed on the SJS parish website homepage circa 2013 conveys Father Fuller’s vision for SJS best:


St. John’s, Shaughnessy is a small but flourishing congregation,
Living our calling as Christians by faithfully walking the Anglican path
Our road is less travelled.

We do not claim absolute knowledge of the Divine.

We really welcome everyone and are enriched by the dynamic tension of differing beliefs

We embrace doubt. Pray hopefully. And celebrate diversity.
We practice our faith in our everyday lives. Are strongly committed to social justice.
And believe in the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to transform lives

Come as you are. Leave uplifted.

Following Father Michael's resignation from his ministry position at St. John's, Shaughnessy in the spring of 2015, a call went out from the Bishop's Office for interim ministry applications. As of this writing in August there is a full roster of Sunday Supply priests through September. The leaders of St. John's, Shaughnessy and Bishop's Office are continuing to seek interim ordained leadership for the parish. More information will be communicated as it becomes available.



  • Father Michael welcomes the congregation July 30
  • The Peace
  • Bishop Michael and Father Fuller exchange the Peace
  • People's Warden, Louise Hadley
  • Michael Dirk
  • Concluding the Eucharistic Prayer
  • The Choir