Fr. Neil has been rector of Holy Trinity since May 2003. He moved to White Rock from Vancouver's West End where he had been at St. Paul's Church since 1988. During that time he served as both associate priest and rector as well as chaplain to the Anglican patients at St. Paul's Hospital. Prior to that, he worked at a number of parishes in London, England. He was trained for ordained ministry at St. Stephen's House, Oxford.
As a priest, Neil places a very high priority on the liturgy. "I agree with Matthew Fox, the theologian, that it is a great sin to bore people to death for an hour on Sunday morning and call it worship!" He says "We try to make our time together a really positive experience - involving as many people as possible with a balance of ages and gender as we equip ourselves by word and sacrament for our ministry". Growth was one of the priorities named by the parish when it produced its profile in 2002. This happens, Neil believes, when a Christian community meets two specific needs of its members. "People are increasingly clear about their reasons for choosing a church - they need help with the spiritual life and want to be part of making the world a better place. We need to look at how effectively all the things we do as a church help meet these goals".
Quite a lot of Neil's time and energy goes into helping people identify their gifts and talents and then encouraging them to use them in the service of the Kingdom. Holy Trinity is a church that sees itself as a ship with no passengers - all crew!
The Rector is in the office most mornings and is easily contacted at other times. Monday is his day off. He looks forward to meeting you and doing what he can to help and support you.
RECTOR’S REPORT 2016
It is said that the Chinese word for ‘crisis’ is actually a compound noun, settingbeside each other the two words ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’. This certainly makes a profound point – the things that alarm or frighten us and the situations we would prefer to avoid, can draw out of us hidden and unexpected resources. I feel very strongly that this is how we should approach our current financial challenges. As you know, in common with many other churches, we are finding it increasingly difficult to fund our ministry and mission from what currently comes in on the offertory plate. But this means we are thinking about our priorities with a greater seriousness and intensity than we would be doing if we were rolling in cash! Evidence of this is the way in which the report of the Financial Review Committee has stirred our congregation to move from anxiety to action.
I have written an article called “Counting on the Future” that collects together reactions to the recommendations contained in that report, and the steps that have already taken place. This document follows, as an addendum to this report - please read it carefully. One of the things it also contains is the results of the congregation’s survey to determine what people value most highly about this parish. The thing that the greatest number of respondents mentioned was the welcoming and inclusive nature of our parish family. We are a community that really cares for one another. Yet I know we are mature enough to realize that friendship, support and consolation within the congregation is there to equip and energize us for ministry outside. We have a wonderful visual aid for this connection in our deacon, the Rev. Paul Richards. As a deacon, he has a linked pair of responsibilities – pastoral care and outreach. And because he is a man of great energy, deep compassion and commitment, this visual aid is constantly encouraging us forward.
In my report last year, I talked about two areas of outreach – one locally, and the other much further afield. Progress is being made on both. Locally, we were founding members of Focus, a neighbourhood association which is already beginning to do impressive work on community-building through social activity. Our hope is that it will part of making our part of White Rock a safe, clean and enjoyable place to live. Internationally, we have moved forward with all the preparations necessary to support our sponsored refugee family. While there has been some progress, we still face the frustration of waiting for final approval. Further details of the process is set out in the Refugee Committee Report. Please keep the Rama family in your prayers.
One of the other things that, according to our survey, people greatly appreciate about Holy Trinity is the quality of the preaching and teaching. I do know how attentively you listen to the sermons, sometimes to the extent of answering questions that were intended to be rhetorical! There also was an enthusiastic attendance at our last course on Anglicanism, co-taught by the deacon and myself. This year we are going to look more critically at how we, as men and women of the twenty-first century, are meant to make sense of things like Jesus’ divinity, the miracles, his atoning death on the cross, and the Resurrection. Thinking caps on!
During 2016, we paid attention to both ends of our intergenerational spectrum. Paul organized a seminar on “End-of-life” issues – arranging a funeral, appointing a power-of-attorney and completing a will. At the other end of the scale, we are looking after our young people. The Sunday School and ‘R’ Team (Rite 13) may be small in number, but they are large in energy and enthusiasm. Along with an impressive bake sale, they put together a wonderfully moving Christmas pageant. And we all keenly await the completion of their DVD, documenting the life and witness of our church. In this regard, I am pleased to be able to report that we have received a Parish Development Grant from the Diocese. This will enable us to engage some professional expertise in the area of growing our youth programs.
This year, the leadership of our Spring Tea and Christmas Fair changed, but we continued the tradition of raising money while having a time of fun and friendship. Both the Pub Night and Refugee Concert Fundraiser were great successes. My personal thanks to all involved.
Long lists of acknowledgements are a little tedious, because we are a community committed to encouraging the ministry of all the laity. But I do express my appreciation for the faithful and generous ways in which members of the congregation carry out their baptismal promises. Thank you.
By tradition, it falls to the rector to express gratitude to our employees and the parish leaders.
Ülo Valdma, who is as concerned about the security and well-being of our buildings as he is with regard to the musical dimension of our worship.
- Joan Macleod’s personal Christian faith shines as strongly and brightly as the floors she cleans and the windows she polishes
- Jann Callaghan Cullen is never happier than when solving a problem or meeting a challenge. She takes multi-tasking to a new level. All with a smile.
- Our wardens, Bob Ives and Audrey Mistiades, are to be commended for dividing between them the many duties usually shared by three wardens. They are both ‘hands-on’ people, full of dedication and resourcefulness.
- We are fortunate to have four people to look after our financial concerns with precision and integrity.
Donna Shultz, our chief ‘counter’, Mary Ponsford, our book-keeper, Helen Davison, our treasurer and Peter Johnson, our envelope secretary. Everything by the book!
I always try to conclude my report with a detail from the past year that has something to teach us. This time, it is the upgrading of our sacristy. It was the inspiration of Robin Inglis, who has taken over significant responsibility for matters concerned with the building. Many hours were put in by him, Bob Ives and Herb Smart, and the result is very impressive! It demonstrated initiative, commitment and creativity. It also respects the ministry of our Altar Guild who do so much to help us worship God in ‘the beauty of holiness’.