An Open Letter to Parishioners and Friends

June 21, 2013

Dear Friends of St. Stephens,

On this first day of Summer, I am writing to wish you happy adventures and good health!

I have been your priest for nearly five months and I want to praise you for being most welcoming and supportive to Joy and myself (in spite of my warped humour). In fact, you have been wonderful during a time of change and uncertainty in the parish, which usually occurs when a much loved priest moves on, especially on short notice. And then, a stranger comes into your midst and you have to once again adjust to s/he!

I want to let you know what, with the support of our Parish Council, I am planning over the next three months in the start-up of new ministry at St. Stephens.  I also want to assure you that I feel very confident, with God’s help, in delivering what Bishop Michael and you have asked of me, the continued development of new ministry in St. Stephens.

A good friend of mine who was the Adult Education Director of a school district says that he has a continued memory of one ‘bad’ example which always cautioned him what not to do when he was planning the start of a new program. He said that the root of poor adult education programming is when a staff person uses the ‘plan, advertise and hope’ approach. In other words, planning a new program without first researching its demand, then advertising it and being unrealistically hopeful that people would come’! A church’s version of this phenomenon is when we plan a program or event without researching its need, support, or probable outcome; and, then advertise it with the hope that people will be attracted to it. I am sure we all know examples of this in our life in the church.

Our Bishop has offered, the Diocesan Council approved, and our parish accepted funding over five years to assist St. Stephens with the continued development of a new ministry in our ‘multicultural’ Burnaby neighbourhood.  The diocesan funding is for 50% in year one, declining to 0% in year six. The expectation is that we will grow during the five years and will be self-sufficient in the sixth year.

To assist us in this new ministry, Bishop Michael has committed a newly ordained Korean speaking person, Ka Hyun Mackenzie Shin, to St. Stephens as a Curate. Ka Hyun will be trained by myself with your support, over the next two years both as a Minister and the development of an emerging ministry.  After ordination as a deacon all curates work in a parish with an experienced clergyperson, who acts as their colleague, mentor and role model. The vast majority of a curate’s training is done in this parish context where experience is gained and good practice is learned. Most deacons are ordained priest after one year and continue in their curacy for a further one year. During this time, Ka Hyun will be accountable to me and take direction only from our Bishop and me.

Our intention is that this ‘emerging’ ministry will be multicultural and inclusive. Ka Hyun’s Korean language and heritage will be a definite asset for our continuing relationship with the resident Korean population and may play a significant role in growing our congregation, as part of a multicultural faith-community.

St Stephens is an ideal place for this emerging ministry because we are already a multicultural parish. We have a congregation with many members who represent different nations, ethnic groups and languages. We are inclusive.

Over the next three months (July, August and September) Ka Hyun and myself will provide leadership with our ongoing worship and pastoral ministry. This will include spending most Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays in the church office and sanctuary. As well, we will continue to be available for pastoral care, worship and meetings during the rest of the week. Our work plan will include training for Ka Hyun in ministry practices including our worship services and pastoral care. A significant portion of our time will be talking with you and non-parishioners individually and in small groups in order to tap your wisdom and advice on the development of our St. Stephen’s multicultural ministry, as well as to get to know each other.

So, I am asking for your cooperation and support, especially during the next two years and more immediately during the next three months, as we continue laying the groundwork for our St. Stephen’s ministry. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel to contact myself at 604-838-8638, or ghamblin@shaw.ca or at the church office at 604-421-0472.

Yours in Jesus’ Name

Priest Siggy

The Reverend Gary Hamblin

Priest, St. Stephen the Martyr, Burnaby

About St Stephen the Martyr Anglican

St. Stephen the Martyr is an intercultural congregation, with members representing several ethnic groups, races and cultures. The congregation gathers for worship at 10 am on Sundays and church festivals, to celebrate Holy Eucharist and engage in Christian formation.
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