WITHIN OUR TERRITORY
Given the mostly rural disposition of our territory, and considering travel conditions especially during winter, the Territory of the People has hosted and facilitated a wide variety of initiatives and programmes over the years. Presently, some require new leadership or other rejuvenation. That said, historically or in the present moment, our witness has included: (Links are included in the text below)
The raising up, training and support of Lay Ministers of Word and Sacrament who are licensed annually by the Bishop and commissioned in one or more of four categories:
- Officiate at Morning and Evening prayer
- Read or preach sermons
- Take the Reserved Sacrament to those unable to attend regular church services
- In the absence of a priest, to conduct a public service of the Word with the administration of communion from the Reserved Sacrament.
The Ministry Committee along with the Bishop has been working on developing a clear understanding of collaborative ministry with the view of developing teams of locally trained priests and deacons to serve in parishes. The Bishop and senior clergy continue to develop a new model for community-based theological education through WECAN (Western Educational Collaborative Educational Network) which will likely give shape to the future of theological education for those selected for training for the orders of Priest and Deacon in our context. We continue to encourage the next generation of vocational deacons in the Territory. Coupled with other orders, a revitalized diaconate is ideally suited to the needs of our territory.
Every second year a community building programme event called EQUIP gathers interested participants for a three-day programme at various locations throughout the Territory. This is a non-business meeting.
The Territory Resource Centre supports theological education and spiritual growth through the acquisition and distribution of a wide variety of books and audio-visual resources for parishes. Collections of books are distributed several times each year.
A Territory Bulletin is sent out monthly to a large distribution list to keep parishes and individuals up to date on current news, activities and prayer needs of the whole Territory.
Since 2016 we have devoted resources and time to the development of a Territory website with local parish pages. This ministry is currently overseen by Territory staff and volunteers; additionally, social media is coordinated by a lay volunteer. Territory volunteers are presently in conversation with other BC interior dioceses to discern how an e-publication (e.g. Mailchimp) might adequately replace our now defunct LINK hardcopy newspaper.
The retreat ministry is presently nascent awaiting new leadership. A growing number of folks attend retreats either at the Sorrento Centre or in connection with the Sisters of St. John the Divine who visit the BC interior regularly from their Victoria house.
In recent years, on behalf of the Bishop, post-ordination support for recently ordained clergy has been provided through semi-monthly meetings by the Dean as Director of Formation for the Newly Ordained.
ECUMENICAL SHARED MINISTRY IN OUR TERRITORY
An ecumenical shared ministry is people working together and serving God in a unified way while maintaining their denominational identity and connections. There are many forms shared ministry can take, such as sharing programs and staff, or congregations may share a building only and maintain their denominational ministry and services, or have one ordained minister and alternate forms of worship of the participating denominations, or have one minister, one common service which meets the needs and requirements of each denomination, or share and maintain church buildings in a number of locations and rotate services.
Ecumenical shared ministries are most often formed when there are two or more small congregations which cannot support themselves but have a need for Christian fellowship and a strong desire to worship God together.
Ecumenical shared ministry allows a more unified Christian witness to a community; may be more economical; may provide more opportunity for programs; may allow a Christian congregation to exist where it otherwise would not.
Within the Territory we have three ecumenical shared ministry parishes. There are two in the South Thompson Deanery - The North Thompson Shared Ministry, the people of the Church of St. Paul, Barriere and Trinity Shared Ministry, Clearwater (Anglican, Lutheran and United) and St Andrew’s United and St Mary the Virgin Shared Ministry in Lillooet (Anglican – United). In the northern deanery, there is the Robson Valley Shared Ministry (Anglican – United) in both Valemount and McBride.
CONNECTIONS BEYOND OUR TERRITORY
For many years we have enjoyed a companion relationship with the Diocese of Montreal. The Bishop, Dean, and other clergy and laity have exchanged visits; a regular prayer cycle is maintained.
We enjoy a close working relationship with the Sorrento Centre where we occasionally meet together, sometimes with our neighbour Diocese of Kootenay. Territory folks attend other courses throughout the year.
In many significant ways the Anglican Foundation of Canada has supported many programmes and projects throughout the Territory in recent years.
Many parishes and individuals are connected with the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer supported by Territory volunteers.
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund is specially valued by many in the Territory. Especially in relation to wildfire experience, we have received generous support from PWRDF, and we welcome PWRDF staff and volunteers to our Territory on a regular basis. Volunteers can be found in many parishes all coordinated by a Territory coordinator.
Given our history, and our close connection with national healing and reconciliation initiatives (including the Anglican Healing Fund as both recipients and contributors), the work of healing and reconciliation is ongoing, no less so than through our Assembly gatherings, and most recently at Assembly 2017. A clear and detailed sense of our ongoing commitment to this work can be found in Bishop Barbara Andrews’ Address.
In concert with the Provincial Safe Church Committee the Territory is committed to the promotion of Safe-Church initiatives. Territory policy is updated on a regular basis and online training will now replace in-person conferences.