Melanie Delva, the Anglican Archivist was very happy on the afternoon of August 31, 2016 because the new archival display cases had just been delivered to 1410 Nanton Avenue. She had to wait over the weekend to open things up and get some content in place but as scheduled skilled contractors showed up the morning of September 2 to assemble these beautiful new additions to the entrance and foyer area of the Synod Office. The six archival display cabinets were purchased in 2016 with a generous donation from the Diocesan Board of the Anglican Church Women (ACW) of the diocese “in recognition of the faithful work of all WA and ACW members of the Diocese of New Westminster, in particular those who had the foresight to purchase and establish WA Memorial House”.
On the morning of Tuesday, November 29, 2016, 10 members of the ACW in the Diocese of New Westminster including President Margaret Warwick and other members of the Executive arrived at the Synod Office to join Bishop Skelton, Melanie Delva and members of Synod staff for the official blessing of the archival display cabinets. Melanie prepared the liturgy consisting of: Psalm 78: 9-18, the Gospel Luke 20: 9-18, a brief reflection from Bishop Skelton, an intercession that was led by Sylvia Enga, ODNW of St. Agnes, words of Blessing, asperges, (Bishop Skelton sprinkling the cases using cedar boughs soaked with water) and closing prayers.
In her reflection, Bishop Skelton spoke of the importance of having this furniture so that we may display the things we treasure about our past. She said that this is not about the objects themselves but what they tell us about who we are, and that we have taken the intentional care to create a space where we can see and interact with our past. And then she made reference to the current displays: the 40 year anniversary of the ordination of women as priests in the Anglican Church of Canada, items that tell some of the history of the ACW, archived items that were used or belonged to previous bishops of the diocese. She said that we are blessing the cabinets, however it is not just the blessing of the physical, in this case it is blessing the spirit of these treasures from our past.
The intercession that followed the bishop's reflection concluded with this prayer:
Gracious God, as we celebrate our past and rejoice in our present, we also look forward with eager eyes to the future. We pray that you would continue to make your love known among us. We thank you for every memory that the display of our heritage revives, and for the great number of witnesses who have made the gift of these cases an occasion for celebration. We pray that you will deepen within each of us a sense of gratitude for the many sacrifices made for us by those who have gone before us, and thereby find in our heritage a source of refreshment and strength. May we continue to see, by faith, the needs of those around us and the needs of those who shall come after us, and do all that is possible to show to them our witness in word and deed of the riches of life with Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
After the prayer Bishop Skelton said the following Blessing:
Eternal God and Father, by whose power we are created and by whose love we are redeemed: guide and strengthen us by your Spirit, that we may give ourselves to your service, and live this day in love to one another and to you; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.
Following the dismissal, Diocese of New Westminster ACW President, Margaret Warwick of St. Catherine, Port Coquitlam quickly moved toward Bishop Skelton holding a cheque that still required one more signature, which was hers. Margaret signed the cheque for $25,000 and presented it to Bishop Skelton who gratefully accepted the donation on behalf of the diocese. They posed for a few photographs and then Bishop Skelton quickly passed the cheque over to Business Administrator, Rob Dickson.
Many thanks to the ACW for: the good work that they do, for their generosity, for their ongoing commitment to their church, their faith and their service to others.