Rector's Message

September Musings from Bishop Bob

“So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members of one another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us…” (Romans 12. 5-6a)

As I write this note, it is a beautiful late August morning. The ever-so-subtle indications of seasonal transformation have begun; an indicator of what is to come. Surely, the best season of all is our beautiful Southwestern Ontario Autumn! I must confess that this note for the St. Anne’s’ Newsletter is a first for me. This is the only time in my ministry that my initial submission for a parish newsletter is also my last. Hello and Goodbye! I came as your interim, interim pastor back in June and will conclude my time with you at the end of September. It has been over 17 years since I exercised ministry in a parish setting so I thought my hello/goodbye message would include some rumination of my time with you. Thank you for the blessing that you are as a community of Christians striving to be faithful to God’s Will in Bryon at the beginning of the third millennia. I have experienced you to be a caring, sensitive, loving family that loves the faith and loves St. Anne’s. These are incredible challenging times to be part of the Christian faith, but God gives us only our time, no one else’s. Since ‘we who are many are one’, we are more than equipped to face the future knowing that God’s Spirit in Christ strengthens and equips us for the task that lies ahead. You are indeed blessed to have the Reverend Val Kenyon as your next rector. I know you will warmly welcome her as you welcomed Rita and myself.

I will think of you often and pray for you as you journey to the next adventure-in-faith that lies in store. You have been a blessing for me as I transition into retirement; thank you for that! May you be a blessing to all and always shine as a beacon of God’s hope! Together, may you ‘discern what is the will of God—what is good acceptable and perfect’. (Romans 12:2b)

Faithfully in Christ,

To The Congregation of St Anne’s Byron
As we find ourselves at the end of the summer season and looking ahead to Fall, an unofficial fresh start in so many ways, I wanted to send a brief note along to you all at St Anne’s to say how much I am looking forward to the beginning of my ministry in Byron on October 1st. As I began to connect with the wardens and others as we considered all that God has done and will continue to do among and through us, I was reminded of the lyrics of one of my favourite hymns, I Feel the Winds of God Today.  

I feel the winds of God today; today my sail I lift,
Though heavy, oft with drenching spray, and torn with many a rift;
If hope but light the water’s crest, and Christ my bark will use,
I’ll seek the seas at His behest, and brave another cruise.
It is the wind of God that dries my vain regretful tears,
Until with braver thoughts shall rise the purer, brighter years;
If cast on shores of selfish ease or pleasure I should be;
Lord, let me feel Thy freshening breeze, and I’ll put back to sea.
If ever I forget Thy love and how that love was shown,
Lift high the blood red flag above; it bears Thy name alone.
Great pilot of my onward way, Thou wilt not let me drift;
I feel the winds of God today, today my sail I lift.

This hymn does not sugar coat the challenges that can be present to us at any point in our journey, or the distractions that may sometimes take us off course, but rather it affirms that it is hope and our confidence in the very presence of Christ on the journey that gives us the grace and courage to set out afresh as many times as we are asked, buoyed up by God’s Spirit, responsive to God’s call, eager to assume our place in God’s mission to the world around us. And so, by God’s grace and direction, that is just what we will do.  
Please keep me in your prayers during this time of transition, as I shall most certainly keep you all in mine. Until October, every blessing. 

Rev’d Val.  

Archive of Rev. Rita Harrison's Messages to the parish