St. Andrew’s, Woodhaven: New Ministry

Bishop Donald Phillips celebrates with Jonathan Blanchard at St Andrew's.

Bishop Donald Phillips celebrates with Jonathan Blanchard at St Andrew’s.

“I’m retiring.”  With these two words, our path was paved.  The Reverend Ian Mills, our much loved priest for many years, was leaving and now what lay ahead for St. Andrew’s?  Some thought we would just find a new priest and carry on, But it was not like that at all.

The time of transition had arrived, and we were so very fortunate to have Rev Aubrey Hemminger as our Interim Priest to calmly guide us through this period. Led by Aubrey, our transition team was very busy, developing parish questionnaires, leading Informative gatherings, parish meeting and presentations in keeping the parishioners aware of where we have been, where we are currently, and what we see ahead for St. Andrew’s.

A Parish Profile was developed by the transition team to be used in the search for an Incumbent.  The canonical committee, comprised of the Wardens and four Synod Delegates, was set to move forward in its search for the new Incumbent.  Meetings with Bishop Donald and Archdeacon Bardsley provided direction and information in the selection process.  It’s been a ton of work!

Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord

So here we are, on a beautiful Sunday, October 6, 2013 celebrating a New Ministry for our Incumbent, Rev Jonathan Blanchard.  What a wonderful “Gathering of the Community” it was, with The Bishop of Rupert’s Land, Rt. Rev. Donald Phillips as Celebrant, and the Archdeacon of Portage – St. James, The Venerable James Bardsley participating in the Service.

Parishioners, family, friends, and clergy, welcomed by the Rector’s Warden Judy Waters, joined hands in celebration of Jonathan, Incumbent of The Parish Church of St. Andrew, Woodhaven. Following the sermon by Bishop Donald, Archdeacon Bardsley and Wardens Judy Waters and Bob Pattie certified the “legalities” had taken place and presented Jonathan to Bishop Donald who read the Letter of Institution.  This was followed by Jonathan’s commitment to St. Andrew’s, and parish and visitors’ commitment to Jonathan.

Thirty-three Parishioners presented a wide variety of symbolic gifts to Jonathan, including the “outward and visible” sacramental bread and wine, a key to St. Andrew’s, and two tiny childrens’ blocks from the youngest of parishioners. It was a glorious day, with the proclamation of the word, the celebration of the eucharist, wonderful hymns enhanced by an awesome solo and flute presentation by Mrs. Deanna Blanchard. This celebration continued with a reception in the parish hall, hosted by the vestry.

Now, after travelling through two years in “A Time of Transition” we hold hands with Jonathan, Deanna, Samantha and Timothy as we “Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord”. Thanks be to God.

By Linda Everett