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Pentecost 2016


Dear Friends,

Happy Pentecost!

In an effort to keep everyone up to date I have added a Pentecost letter to our annual round of regular letters from the Rector – I do want to keep everyone informed and this seems a good way to do it, as well as making sure that my monthly Ministry Reports to Parish Council are put on the parish website (copies available if anyone would like them).

Pentecost – a celebration of God’s generosity

Pentecost is the celebration of God pouring out the Holy Spirit on all people – the Spirit is not just for the religious leaders, or even just for the religious – but she is for all.  We as a community are seeking to live that reality, of generosity, of recognising the Christ who is all in all, of the Spirit who is within and beyond our walls and the life of the Divine in all things.  This generosity of spirit is something I see at work within our community and I am so grateful to be a part of this journey here in St. John’s.  I have said before that we are on a shared journey, I can say that I continue to feel that deeply, and am grateful for all I am learning from and with you all.  We don’t always get things right, and I know that things are not perfect, but thank you for being a part of this exciting stage in the life of our community.

We continue on a road of vision, growing spirituality, learning about and celebrating our diversity, inclusivity, and varied experiences.  We are a community seeking to worship joyfully with a breadth of music and liturgy, we seek to be a voice for the voiceless and to make a difference in our surrounding community and the world through social action and working towards social justice. Thank you all for your part in that.

Hearing your stories & Caring for one another

One of the great privileges I have enjoyed in my time at St. John’s is the many people who have come to talk to me and tell me something of their stories.  I would very much like that to continue so please be assured my door is open, and I am happy for anyone to come visit and tell me a little of themselves and (if you want) hear a little about me!  If getting to St. John’s is difficult then please be in touch with myself or Carol-Ann at the office and I will do my best to come visit you where and when it is convenient.

With regards to our Pastoral ministry, myself and Kevin Arndt are seeking to visit those who need care in particular circumstances, and I know that many of our congregation make sure to visit and care for one another all the time.  I am hoping that we can work again at creating a Pastoral Visiting Team, and if anyone is interested in taking part in that, with appropriate training and support, please do contact me.   If you would like a visit, or know of someone who would, please contact the office or email pastoral [at] and we will seek to make sure those who need it are well cared for.


A new Parish Council, and work being done

The Parish Council (PC) has met a few times now since our Annual Meeting and I am grateful for the vision and consideration they are showing as we work together in the service of our parish.  We have had an Orientation evening and meal together, and presentations from Ruth MacIntosh on our Families Ministry and David Stratkauskas regarding our music and worship.  We are discussing and working with recommendations from our Quo Vadis report, including communications and looking at the way in which our Church building can be used more fully, we have heard from our Refugee Support Group, and property committee and we constantly discuss how we might better communicate, how our finances are cared for, and the shape of ministry in our community.  Please do talk to our PC members, and to myself and the staff, about ways in which our community might meet the needs of those both within and beyond our walls.

I am grateful that following the Annual Meeting, the Property Committee has taken on, with some energy and commitment, the task of investigating our sound system and its replacement.  I know that a sub-committee has been struck and is already taking on the work towards a proposal to be brought to the Parish via the PC.

I am saddened that Trish Punnett has stepped down as our Deputy People’s Warden, and as I have said previously am immensely grateful for her wisdom, dedication, challenge and graciousness in our work together.  She is missed as part of our Warden’s group and Parish Council.  Thank you Trish.

As you may have heard, we have two Clergy starting at St. John’s after the Ordinations on May 29th. Patrick Sibley is at present on placement as a Deacon-in-Training and will be ordained as a ‘permanent’ or ‘vocational’ Deacon by Bishop Logan. We hope he will be with us for a while, but it is not yet certain as to the length of time he will be with us here.  Patrick joins us with a wealth of experience and is particularly engaged with a ministry of connecting the life of the church to the world beyond our walls, and the life of the world to the church.  Gillian Hoyer will be joining us as a Curate, meaning that she is with us for two years at the beginning of her ordained ministry for training and gaining experience, as well as offering her own considerable experience and learning to our ministry team.  I have asked them both to say hello to you here:


When Alastair asked me to write a short “who am I”? I wasn’t sure if I should give a short paragraph about where I came from and where I’m hoping to go, or the 13 page biography/miniseries. Lucky for all reading this you get the paragraph!

I was born and raised in Nova Scotia, and then later in Fort Nelson, BC. From an early age I always wanted to be involved in church. I began as a musician and later on as a liturgist and pastoral associate in the Roman Catholic tradition. At 25 I went to work in Orillia, Ontario in a large Catholic parish where I was Liturgy and Music Director for 19 years. Moving to Toronto I worked a further 3 years as a pastoral associate. In 2012 my husband Barry and I moved to Victoria from Ontario. We began attending Christ Church Cathedral. Not long after, thanks to a persistent Holy Spirit I began exploring my vocation to ordained ministry. In 2014 I made my profession of faith as an Anglican and in 2015 was accepted as a postulant to the diaconate here in the diocese of British Columbia. Barry and I both consider ourselves very lucky to be part of such a warm and loving community.  There is a visible Spirit that flows to and from this parish and I consider myself blessed to be doing my formation here among you all.

May the Holy Spirit continue to work in you and through you!


Hello! My name is Gillian Hoyer and I am excited to join St. John the Divine as curate this year! Some may recognize my name as I have been to St. John’s a few times over the last four or five years to speak about the work of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund. After three years of study towards my Master of Divinity (MDiv) at Huron University College in London, Ontario, it is wonderful to be back in Victoria.

After completing my BA at UVic, I worked for SALTS, the Sail and Life Training Society for two years, spending most of that as cook for the 2007-2008 Pacific Odyssey offshore voyage. I then returned to school and completed a MA in Counselling Psychology before working for the Victoria Cool Aid Society and then the Canadian Mental Health Association in London. While in Ontario, I became registered as a psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario, a certification I have been able to maintain even upon returning to BC.

Nationally, I have been fortunate to be involved with the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) for the last six years. The first four of those years were as BC/Yukon representative on the Youth Council and the last two years have been on the Board of Directors. I am excited about the work PWRDF does both nationally and internationally, and have had the opportunity to visit partners in Kenya, South Africa, and El Salvador to see first-hand the amazing work our partners do around the world.

As if that hasn’t been busy enough, I met my husband, Matthew, while at Huron and we were married in October. Matthew, who also completed his MDiv at Huron this year, and I will be ordained together on May 29th and he will be serving another parish in the city. Our family also includes our 16-month old rescue cat, Cricket, who is still learning how to meow.

I am looking forward to getting to know you and participate in ministry at St. John the Divine!

Thank you again!

As I often say, there is so much going on at St. John’s – but without the incredible hard work of my colleagues, the staff, and the incredibly hard working volunteers, indeed, each one of you, none of this would be possible.  May the life of the Spirit continue to inspire, challenge, and guide as we walk together – or ‘wi’la mola ma’nux’ we are walking together, as the theme for our Diocesan Synod reminded us.