In a recent clergy day in our diocese we had Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the Primate of our Anglican Church of Canada, visiting and sharing with us. In his address to those gathered, Archbishop Fred shared how he has been working on changing his language from “National Church” to “Church national” when describing the work of the Anglican Church of Canada at a national level and those who do that work. For him, it is a way of emphasizing that we are all a part of the “Church national,” whether we are in the diocese of Algoma, British Columbia, Caledonia, or at the offices of the General Synod in Toronto.
Reflected in Fred’s comments I also heard echoes of the conversations we have been having within this diocese – conversations that remind us that the synod office in Victoria is not “the Diocese” but rather we are all a part of the Diocese of British Columbia: Port Hardy to the West Coast Mission, to Oak Bay and all points between. And that things which happen in and to one part affect us all.
Part of understanding our connection between ourselves and other parts of our church is how we engage with the other parts of our church. As clergy, we are ordained to the whole church, not only the parish or diocese within which we live. However, recognizing our relationship with other parts of our church is not only for the clergy! We are all connected.
As a part of my ministry within the “Church national,” I sit on the Board of Directors for the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the arm of our church which is responsible for relief and development work both in Canada and internationally. Last week, the PWRDF Board of Directors, Diocesan Representatives, and Youth Council met together in Toronto for four days of meetings. In addition to the Board’s work of governance, which accounted for the majority of my time, our whole group was able to hear from PWRDF partner organizations who are engaging in important development work in Rwanda and Burundi with our assistance. These partners are providing essential health services to isolated communities in both of these countries, and funding from all of us through PWRDF and from Global Affairs Canada makes this work possible.
It is exciting to see how Anglicans in Canada are connected not only with each other across our “Church national” but with those living into the ministry of the gospel and bringing life into our entire world. We are a part of something so much bigger than ourselves, thanks be to God!