The April 10th, 2014, Induction of the Reverend Father Louie Engnan was the second in as many nights and the second induction of Bishop Melissa Skelton’s young episcopacy. There was a good-sized congregation gathered forty minutes before the scheduled 7pm start time and a lot of positive energy flowing in the bright, cheerful sanctuary of St. Michael’s.
The theme for the evening was defined in the sermon offered by the Reverend Michael McGee former rector of neighbouring Surrey parish, St. Helen’s and now rector of St. Christopher’s, West Vancouver. And that theme was Louie’s remarkable ability to quickly acclimatize to his new life in Canada after leaving his former home in the Philippines and resuming within a few short years his vocation as a priest in the Church of God.Michael began his address by summarizing his two year history as Louie’s mentor in ministry, a role he gladly assumed when it was offered to him by the Archdeacon of Fraser, the Venerable Stephen Rowe. When Michael and Louie met earlier in the week prior to the induction liturgy to reconnect and discuss some sermon themes, Michael could sense through their dialogue that Louie had acquired more knowledge of the Surrey area than he himself currently possessed and realized that Louie had absolutely come into his own. Michael then switched things up a bit and went on to explore the significant church figures who’s contributions are celebrated on April 10th, amongst them, William of Ockham, the English Franciscan and philosopher commonly known for Occam’s Razor, the principle that the simplest explanation is usual the correct explanation.
He concluded his address focusing on the theme of “shared ministry”, saying “We are here today to celebrate Louie’s induction but we are also here to celebrate the ministry of this parish. The church is more than about solving problems, it’s about being together in community with Christ-centred ministry.” Throughout his sermon Michael had peppered movie references and in keeping with that theme he ended his sermon with the classic line from the 1942 Michael Curtiz film, Casablanca, “This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”Prior to the Covenant in Ministry; the administration of the oaths and Subscriptions as required by the Canon of the Ecclesiastical Province, the reading of the License of Institution and the presentations of the Symbols of Ministry of the Whole People of God, the Executive Archdeacon of the Diocese of New Westminster, the Venerable Douglas addressed the congregation. Douglas also spoke about how quickly Father Louie had grown into his ordained leadership role after being recommended for an interim post by then-priest-in-charge the Reverend Sue Foley-Currie. Sue’s recommendation was echoed by the officers and parish leaders in a letter that they wrote to the Bishop’s office requesting that Louie be appointed priest-in-charge.
Following the presentation of the symbols of ministry by members of the parish, which is the final piece of the Covenant in Ministry, it was time for Bishop Melissa to say for the second time “let these be signs of the ministry which is mine and yours and is shared by all the people of God.” She then presented Louie to the faith community of St. Michael, Surrey as the leader of their ministry to enthusiastic applause and cheering.
Both the Regional Dean of South Fraser, the Reverend Craig Tanksley and the Archdeacon of Fraser, the Venerable Stephen Rowe were present to offer their welcome to Louie. Craig again touched on the theme of Louie’s remarkable gifts, his ability to within a few short years become a leader in shared ministry in a different country and using a second language. Archdeacon Stephen Rowe recalled the first time that Louie and his family had visited his parish five years earlier, the Anglican Church of the Epiphany located a few kilometres away in the Guildford neighbourhood of Surrey and how much the family has changed and obviously flourished in their new life in Canada.
Following a very moving intercession by parishioner, Natasha Kaweski, and prior to the new incumbent offering the Peace, the Bishop stood in front of the congregation and said “I just want to greet you all in the name of the Lord!” Looking around the congregation with a big smile she said that this place has “a wonderful feel,” and that she knows that “the Spirit is here.” She reminded the congregation that for a large part of her life in response to her vocational call she has pursued the ministry of congregational development and to see the life and vitality growing at St. Michael’s “makes my heart soar like an eagle.”
Following the Peace there was a prayerful but joyful celebration of the Eucharist punctuated with a variety of music led by: the St. Michael’s Parish Choir; organist, Coleen Whitmore; violinist, Shelley Novak; saxophonist, Sasha Abraham and guitarist/vocalist, Andy Whitmore.
At the conclusion of worship, Louie positioned himself in the narthex area and greeted everyone in attendance as they left the church building to walk the 20 or so metres to the Millennium Hall to enjoy a reception with sweets and savories that featured arguably the best samosas on the planet.In his bulletin notes Louie summed up his feelings succinctly and beautifully, “Thank you to the faithful of St. Michael, Surrey for walking together in this past 2 years of interim ministry. It was a challenging but fun-filled experience on my part to be working with people like you who continue to show your love and ministry to our beloved parish.”
Please keep Louie and his family: Chris, Dannah, Josh, Reaia and Bryce; and the Parish of St. Michael, Surrey in your prayers as they continue on their journey in faith together.
Images: Top and homepage, Bishop Melissa introduces Father Louie to the congregation as leader of their shared ministry. Top right, the choir. Top left, Dannah Engnan reads the Epistle2 Corinthians 4: 1-6. right, preacher, the Reverend Michael McGee. Middle, Louie receives the Canons and Constitutions from warden, Jeddy James. Lower right, The Regional Dean greets Louie. Bottom left, Louie in the receiving line. Below, arguably the best samosas on the planet.