The Dean's Page

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The Very Reverend M. Ansley Tucker was appointed Rector of Christ Church Cathedral and Dean of Columbia in July 2015.

Our new dean comes to Victoria having spent the past 10 years in the Diocese of Calgary, where she served latterly as an Archdeacon and the Rector of Christ Church. She is not entirely a newcomer to Victoria, having been born here, and lived here again during her primary school years.  She has powerful recollections of cherry blossoms, fog, a seagull on every lamp post, and (having arrived from Montreal), being the only kid on the block with a toboggan.

Dean Tucker turned to the study of Divinity after completing a degree in Nursing at the University of Ottawa. She attended Trinity College in Toronto in the mid to late 70s, at a time when the Anglican Church was undergoing a seismic shift in almost all aspects of its life. Along with much of the Anglican Communion, we were in the period of the trial liturgies (which led in Canada to a Book of Alternative Services); altars were being pulled off the east wall of most churches, so that priest and people could face each other, as if gathered around the Table. Our baptismal discipline was being strengthened, with baptism returning to its rightful place in the Sunday liturgy, and children being admitted to Communion on the basis of their baptism. Perhaps the hottest debate of the day, however, concerned the ordination of women. And the issue just creeping onto the horizon was whether or not the Church could ordain gay men (even celibate gays). These were heady and exhilarating times to be studying theology. In fact, it was so much fun, that Dean Tucker stayed on to complete a Master’s degree in Systematic Theology, whilst coordinating children’s and youth ministry for 10 parishes, and serving as the Tutor in Theology for first year Master of Divinity students!

Throughout her 35 years’ ordained ministry, our new Dean has held leadership roles at the diocesan and national levels. She has served on numerous committees whose brief was “Doctrine & Worship,” and she chaired D&W in the Diocese of Toronto during the time the Book of Alternative Services was being introduced. Dean Tucker is currently a member of our national Faith, Worship & Ministry Coordinating Committee, and has been cross-appointed as the Anglican representative to the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s Faith, Order and Doctrine Committee. She also spent 10 years in the Diocese of Toronto assessing candidates for ordination, three of them as the Chief Examining Chaplain.

Dean Tucker brings experience and skill which we hope will be useful to Christ Church Cathedral. For example, three of the parishes she served have experienced significant growth not only in such quantifiable indicators as attendance and revenue, but also in such immeasurables as a developing heart for service to the world, a commitment to spiritual practice, an openness to experimentation, and a longing for an expression of faith that is intellectually honest.  She believes that the immeasurables are what drive the measurables. If we are clear about a compelling vision for what it means to be Christian – and a Cathedral community of Christians—the rest will follow.

The Induction and Installation Service of our new Rector and Dean took place on Sunday, October 18. To view the photos of the occasion, please click here

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THE DEAN'S CORNER 

SUNDAY, MARCH 19, 2017

Last week, in this corner, I drew attention to Bishop Logan’s invitation to the Cathedral to take the lead in the diocese in establishing a relationship with the Community of the Cross of Nails in Coventry.

On November 14, 1940, during the Coventry Blitz of the German Lutwaffe, Coventry Cathedral was all but destroyed. The Provost (Dean) of the time, famously took up a nail, and scratched out on a charred wall, “Father forgive.” Not, “Father forgive them.” Just, Father forgive.
In a Christmas Day radio broadcast just six weeks later, Provost Howard said that when the War was over, he would work with those who had been enemies “to build a kinder, more Christ-child-like world.”

In due course, Coventry took up what became an international ministry of reconciliation. They are now home to the International Centre for Reconciliation, and while their work often relates to reconciliation between the churches and community groups, its work has also extended to international conflict involving terrorists, dictators, churches, and gangs in such places as central Africa and the middle east. Archbishop Justin Welby is a champion of Coventry’s work, and has undertaken a number of such reconciling missions.

The Community of the Cross of Nails is an association of over 200 churches in 40 countries who are engaged in the ministry of reconciliation in their own context, and who wish to demonstrate their commitment to this work. To become an authentic “partner” or even a “friend” of the Community of the Cross of Nails – which is what we are being asked to do – must mean more than attaining for ourselves a nifty designation (or for that matter, our very own cross of nails). It must mean that this Cathedral is intent upon taking up Jesus’ work of” reconciling all creation to himself, everything on earth and everything in heaven, all gathered into peace by his death on the cross” (Col. 3.19-20 ). Can the Cathedral see itself learning about interpersonal, systemic and societal conflict, and how to address and redress such hostilities? Can we imagine reconciliation as a lens through which we see our role as a Cathedral community in this diocese? This is the conversation in which our Parish Council is currently engaged. And Council welcomes ideas.

For a short and readable description of Coventry’s ministry of reconciliation, go to: http://www.coventrycathedral.org.uk/wpsite/our-reconciliation-ministry/, and for stories of this work, http://www.coventry.gov.uk/info/217/coventry_blitz/2644/coventrys_stories_of_peace_and_reconciliation/12


SUNDAY, MARCH 12, 2017

This past Wednesday, our newly elected Parish Council held its first meeting, with Bishop Logan as our special guest and presenter.

In the past year, the Diocese of British Columbia has adopted a wide-ranging vision to renew the Church, with the tagline, “Renewed Hearts, Spirits and People.” The vision has three foci:

  • Foundational work that is just part of doing business, but which can always be improved or renewed: Examples would be asset management and communications.
  • Work that assists in “forming” or equipping Christians for faith and ministry: In this cluster, we find youth and family ministry, enlivening worship, and helping all members of the Church to undertake their day to day ministry from the perspective of informed faith.
  • The work of the Church to be God’s hands and voice in a hurting world: This includes learning to do better at engaging God’s world outside the church doors; supporting creative initiatives to “do Church differently,” such as the Emmaus Community; and furthering the arduous work of reconciliation – with first nations people, within our own churches, within our families and neighbourhoods, within ourselves.

It is the latter of these, the work of reconciliation, that is the focus for getting the vision “off the ground.” Bishop Logan has called for a “Year of Reconciliation” – although it became clear to Parish Council that a year would be barely enough to get started! In particular, he has invited the Cathedral to take the lead in creating a diocesan affiliation with the Community of the Cross of Nails, based in the reconciliation-ministry of Coventry Cathedral in England. (More about Coventry next week.) For such an affiliation to be meaningful, and not just one more newsletter to which we subscribe, the Cathedral will need to put legs under the work of reconciliation. This could include anything from sending people on pilgrimage to Coventry, to training ourselves and others in Christian dispute resolution, to assisting in conflict resolution or management in church or neighbourhood disputes, to providing a peaceable space for those who simply need a safe haven to recollect their best selves. At the very least, as the diocesan mother church, it would include finding ways to advance and symbolize the Church’s journey towards reconciliation with first peoples.

Lent is an ideal time for us to consider this request, since the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus are all about restoring right relationships, forgiveness and peace. Parish Council had lots of good and penetrating questions both about reconciliation and about Coventry. We will return to the Bishop’s request at our next meeting.


 

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