Dearest Siblings in Christ—
I am writing to you today from the traditional, unceded territories of the Sinixt, Syilx, and the Ktunaxa, in the city colonially known as Rossland, British Columbia.
As many of you know, Ericka, Jacob, Ezra and I came here in the earliest days of the pandemic when the Cathedral suspended in-person gatherings, and staff were asked to work from home. Ericka and I realised very quickly that our 850sq apartment was not an ideal place for two working-from-home parents and their two very active children. We spoke with Ericka’s parents who invited us to come and stay with them. We left early Monday morning after the Cathedral’s first livestream, and made the eight hour drive to the interior where we would stay in quarantine for three weeks before moving in to Ericka’s parents’ basement.
For those who are wondering, I never had “moving into my in-laws’ basement” as a goal for my 41st year. And yet, that is where I found myself from early April to mid-July.
Over the course of days, weeks, and then months, we shared meals, cleanup duties, childcare, and school instruction. There were moments of disharmony, but overwhelmingly, our experience was good. We discovered how amazing it was to have family close by. The kids were having fun riding bikes in the neighbourhood and on the local trails. We started to explore the region. The kids learned a lot helping Granny and Grandpa with yard work. We began to imagine what life might be like if we stayed.
At some point during this period, Archbishop Melissa asked me, “when will you know it’s time to come back?” I didn’t have an answer. With so much happening in the world, with a growing sense of connection to family and these lands, it seemed strange to think of going back. At the same time, there were so many people in Vancouver who we loved, who we missed.
For me personally, many of those people are Cathedral people. I started at the Cathedral seven years ago—temporarily and part time—and over the intervening years have discovered it to be more than a workplace. I deeply love the Maundy Cafe community and the Cathedral’s St. Brigid’s congregation. These communities, and the broader Cathedral community of which they are a part, have reciprocated that love and affection, and have been formational in my ever-evolving relationship to God, others, and myself.
Since offering my resignation to our rector on July 12th, I have encountered waves of sadness. I know that there is so much that I am leaving behind. There are so many people that I am going to miss. And yet, I am so excited for the Cathedral in this time and place. I am so excited for the vision that this Cathedral community discerned over the last two years. I am also excited for the arrival of our new rector, the Rev. Dr. Christopher Pappas.
In my letter of resignation, I shared these reflections with him:
As I think about leaving, what saddens me most is that I will not have the opportunity to serve alongside you at the Cathedral for much longer. I am so excited that the fruit of your mutual discernment with Holy Spirit (and the Search Committee!) has brought you to Vancouver. I look with anticipation towards the next steps in achieving the Cathedral’s vision, including the next stages of the Maundy Café. I am incredibly grateful to have been given the responsibility of leading this ministry over the last four years. I can’t wait to see where it goes next.
I want you to know that—even though you have only been here a short time—I already admire your leadership, your energy, and the way I have seen you care for the staff. Being at a physical distance these days, we have not had much time to get to know one another in person. That grieves me. And yet, I have faith that our paths will continue to cross. How can they not, as we continue to join with Jesus in his crazy, wonderful, world-changing movement? How can we not cross paths as we seek to embody reconciliation and to seek justice with and amongst all who we meet? How can we not, in a church as small as the Canadian Anglican church?
My friends—siblings in Christ—I want you to know how excited I am for the next chapter in the Cathedral’s participation in God’s mission. I am already impressed with your resilience in navigating the unexpected terrain of this pandemic. I am grateful for your commitment to adapting your ministry to serve God’s people in the midst of this apocalyptic moment. Your love of God and of neighbours is being revealed, and I look forward to hearing of the ways in which that love will continue to be made manifest in the days ahead.
After seven years of time together, I leave you with every expectation that our paths will cross again, and that we will continue to hold fast to the ministry with which God has entrusted us. I will keep you in my prayers. As you are able, would you pray for me too?