The Anglican Parish of the Church of the Epiphany (Epiphany) located in Surrey’s Guildford neighbourhood is excited and delighted to welcome two part time employees who began their ministry June 1, 2019. Talal Labbo and Albert Mikhael joined the Epiphany staff team as the principal facilitators for the developing translation ministry. They bring wonderful talents and gifts to the parish. Talal and Albert will interpret/translate Scripture and necessary day to day information from English to Arabic and Aramaic for those members of the Epiphany community who primarily speak those languages. Bridging the English-speaking community and Arabic/Aramaic- speaking community will foster inclusion and belonging. The motivation for this initiative is largely due to the cohort of Chaldean Christians, (many who are newcomers from Iraq) who began attending Epiphany in 2014. This new ministry will strengthen and unify the church community as a whole enabling the parish to better serve God, the congregation and the greater community.
Epiphany made successful application to the Anglican Initiatives Fund in 2018. Job postings were created and the search went out for qualified applicants. They were not successful on the first round. During her January 6, 2019 archiepiscopal visit to Epiphany, Archbishop Skelton requested that those in the community with the required skills consider coming forward. Within a few weeks, two candidates applied and were shortlisted for interviews. A panel from the parish which included regional archdeacon the Venerable Louie Engnan unanimously agreed to appoint both candidates. Both Albert and Talal came to Canada with professional backgrounds possessing the skills to translate Arabic and Aramaic verbally and/or in written form.
The translators and Epiphany have agreed to a 12-month commitment with a 3 month trial period. Albert and Talal will also participate in the process of aiding and assisting non-Arabic speaking leaders at Epiphany in order to help serve the needs of Arabic and Aramaic speakers who are members of the parish or who are seeking a church home.
(prepared with files from Doni Koskela and Stephen Rowe)
Albert Mikhael, Archbishop Skelton and Talal Labbo pose for a photo at the combined churches of Surrey Eucharist, Pentecost Sunday, June 9.