Open House draws a crowd
By Gisele McKnight
When Sandra Craft, vice-chair of Diocesan Council, began planning the first Diocesan Open House, she didn't know what to expect. Would anyone be interested? How many people would attend? Did people want to know about the buildings and ministries of the diocese?
Her questions were answered with a resounding yes on Saturday, June 18 in Fredericton.
"I was really pleased — for the first time we have done such a thing!" she said. "I had hoped for around 50-60 and that seems to be about right. We had folks from all over the diocese."
People visited from Chatham, Moncton, Kingston Peninsula, Richmond Corner and even Ottawa.
There were five buildings open for visitors: Farraline Place, the Synod Office, Bishop's Court to learn about Discipleship House, Christ Church Cathedral and Cathedral Memorial Hall, where visitors found more than two dozen ministries on display.
Throughout the afternoon, there was a steady flow of people to check out the sites, talk with exhibitors and enjoy fellowship.
"I never sat down!" said verger Hank Williams at the cathedral. "Around 2 p.m. people started arriving and they never stopped. It exceeded my expectations and people seemed to enjoy it."
One piece of cathedral trivia was particularly enjoyable and memorable, he said. The stained glass windows arrived from England perfectly intact. So how did they survive an Atlantic crossing? They were shipped in molasses, which provided the perfect buffer from the rolls and storms of an ocean voyage. (There is no information on what happened to the molasses!)
Colin Rayworth worships at Christ Church Cathedral, but had never seen Bishop's Court or the Synod Office.
"I wanted to see," he said, while admiring the bishop's residence. "I was always curious to get inside these buildings. I'm happy I came. I'm impressed."
At the Synod Office, Sandra had arranged to have visitors leave notes of encouragement for Bishop David Edwards, and visitors did not disappoint.
Most of the action was at Cathedral Memorial Hall, where visitors took the opportunity to learn about many ministry activities around the diocese. Among them were members of Lucy's Sewing Group, busy demonstrating their craft through the afternoon. They make and repair altar linens for Christ Church Cathdral.
"I spoke with several displayers in the hall and they were quite happy with the interest shown in their particular display," said Sandra.
Brenda Arbeau, of St. Margaret's in Fredericton, and her sister, Karen Arbeau of St. Mary's in the Parish of Chatham, took in all the sites.
"I'm enjoying myself," said Brenda. "We learned a lot about the cathedral," adding she'd never been in the Synod Office until now.
Karen was eager to make the two-hour trip to the event after walking with Bishop David on his pilgrimage earlier in the month.
"I wanted to know where they make decisions," she said. "I knew nothing about the Synod Office and I wanted to see it."
She was not disappointed she came, she said.
Gina and Eddie Quann and Holly Gallant set up their ragdoll workshop display to educate visitors on the plight of human trafficking. They did a workshop in Cambridge-Narrows in April and have another planned for Quispamsis in the fall.
"We're hoping people will take it and run with it," said Holly.
Erin Hodge set up a booth to illustrate the work of Inner City Youth Ministry in Saint John, which works with at-risk children in the city.
"It's a great idea to know what else is going on in the diocese," she said. "Being new, it's great to connect with people."
The Diocesan Open House could become a more regular event, considering year one's success. "Maybe this will lead to more such events as attendees go back to their parishes and spread the wonderful news of how great it all was," said Sandra.
The following ministries participated in the exhibition:
Cathedral Matters Guild; Guild of St. Joseph; Canadian Bible Society; Cathedral Quilters; Threshold Ministries; Inner City Youth Ministry; Holy Trinity After School Sunday School Program, Hammond River; Anglican Diocese of Fredericton Layreaders; NB Parish Nursing; Diocesan Choir School; Central Saint John Community Ministry (the Chandras); Creation Matters Working Group; Diocesan Stewardship Committee; A Foundation For Life; YIG – youth and intergenerational ministries team; Diocesan Mother's Union; Spiritual Development Team; Ragdoll Project; ACW; Anglican Fellowship of Prayer; Diocesan Archives Committee; Camp Brookwood; Camp Medley; Fire Watch Ministries; Companion Diocese of Ho; Lucy's Sewing Group; Refugee Sponsorship Program.
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Before hosting the open house, Diocesan Council met one last time before the summer break. The highlights are below:
Bishop David Edwards spoke briefly on the story in Luke 8 where a demon-possessed man is healed and the demons driven into a herd of pigs that subsequently dies.
"Jesus demonstrates his power over sickness, nature and the supernatural," he said. "The other interesting part is what happens later when he returns to Gadarenes."
After he drove the demons out, the man wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus told him to go to his home and tell others of this miracle.
"Jesus was told to get out [of town] the last time, but later Jesus returns and receives a tremendous welcome," said Bishop David, adding that clearly, the healed man had spread the news of the miracle.
"This idea of telling what God has done is very important," he said. "Too often we don't do that. We run through our Christian week, our Christian services without an opportunity to tell what Jesus has done."
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Diocesan Council approved motions that the Rev. Canon Tom Stradwick, Parish of Sussex, be appointed to the board of the Anglican Church Homes Inc.; and that the Ven. Cathy Laskey be appointed to the Godly Play Maritimes board as the diocesan representative.
Diocesan Council approved motions granting the Parish of Denmark and the Parish of Fundy and the Lakes approval for rental of rectories not currently required to house parish clergy.
The Parish of Salisbury and Havelock was approved for a grant, from the Ministry Development Fund, of up to $20,000 for a proposed playground, subject to certain stipulations.
Council approved the extension of a loan guarantee for the inter-parish loan between the Parish of Fredericton and the Parish of the Nerepis and St. John, which was renewed for an additional three-year period.
Council approved a request from the Parish of Upper Kennebecasis to accept an offer received for the former St. Luke's church and lot in Norton.
Diocesan Council, after much discussion, approved in principle and will recommend to Synod for enactment, proposed amendments to Canons Four, Six and Seven. Some of these amendments deal with new wording, formal recognition of lay ministers, the election of a bishop and the appointment of a diocesan administrator.
This motion was simply to forward the proposed amendments to Synod for discussion and enactment in November.
The bishop's second annual performance review took place this spring, with the report was forwarded to Diocesan Council for review. The highlights include his achievements over the past year, his gifts, his vision for the diocese, his desire for more professional development and training, and a concern that he take more time for himself to avoid burning out.
You can read more about his review in the September issue of the New Brunswick Anglican.