The Very Rev. Ansley Tucker is the Rector of Christ Church Cathedral and Dean of Columbia.
In this, as in most Canadian Anglican dioceses, the rector of the Cathedral also serves as the dean of the diocese. The dean of a diocese is second in ecclesiastical rank to the bishop. Thus, in addition to having a rector’s oversight of the vision, mission and parish-based ministries of the Cathedral, the dean also provides leadership and support at the diocesan level, and is expected to enhance the Cathedral’s role and identity as a leader in the wider church and community at large. Often these roles are intertwined.
For the dean, as for most of the staff, Sunday is the one day of the week which establishes clear deadlines and workflow. Our very identity as a worshipping community, fed by word, sacrament and hospitality that we might go out serve the world for yet another week, is our starting point. Sunday comes whether we are ready or not, and so being ready for Sunday is a priority!
Throughout the rest of the week, the dean serves as team leader for the cathedral staff and other parish leaders, both informally and formally. This includes “management by walking around,” and participation in somewhere between 35 and 45 meetings a month. (The latter, of course, also include responsibilities related to her diocesan work, to our Cathedral School, and to external organizations, such as the Centre for Christian Studies and Our Place.)
Although the dean has delegated direct oversight of such important work as education, pastoral care, engaging God’s world, and community life to other staff members, she also takes her place in these ministries as needed and appropriate. Even though it can be very time-consuming, for example, she loves to teach.
A good deal of the Dean’s work is to be mindful of the big picture: our vision; our strategy; societal, environmental, political and cultural trends; the future of the church; and the role of the Cathedral in all of these. In this regard, her work includes thinking deeply about these issues, and initiating, testing and implementing responses to our ever-changing circumstances. At any one time, she has several major projects on the go. Our visioning process, “Greater Works than These,” is an important example. She is also engaged at present in a review of cathedral governance; an experiment with seating in the cathedral; the development of a legacy/planned giving program; and collaboration with the Esquimalt and Songhees nations on an intercultural day camp.
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