So, as most of you have heard, I have been appointed the regional dean of the Sea to Sky Deanery. You might be asking, “what does that even mean?” Good question.
The Diocese of New Westminster consists of 66 parishes spread out all over the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley, right out to Hope; as well as the Sunshine Coast, and of course, the Sea to Sky corridor. For organizational purposes, the diocese is divided regionally into 6 archdeaconries, each with a regional archdeacon – a clergy person with some authority and oversight on behalf of the bishop for the parishes in that area. In turn, most of these archdeaconries are further divided into smaller areas – deaneries, each with a regional dean (that’s me.)
Our deanery, the Sea to Sky deanery, covers 7 parishes in West Vancouver, Squamish, and the Sunshine Coast up to Powell River. It is a very beautiful but a little bit of a far-flung deanery.
The role of the regional dean is not one of authority per se, rather, they exercise “the Bishop’s pastoral ministry in a local region.”
I am deeply humbled by this appointment, but also excited. I am excited to help encourage and facilitate relationships of prayer, cooperation and support amongst these communities of Jesus followers. I am excited to call up (and maybe even visit when that is possible again) my colleagues and check in, to see how they are doing, really doing, sharing in their joys, hopes and struggles. I also hope to be a teller of stories, sharing the good news that is happening around the deanery in different parishes, with you, and the wider diocese.
I hope that this clarifies a little bit about what all “that” means. I am not going anywhere – it is an added role (another hat if you will) on top of my work here at St. John’s that I am honoured to take on.
In the end, this system of deaneries and archdeaconries is just a way to organize – not every church does it this way. It has both its advantages and its disadvantages. However, I believe at its heart it points to something beautiful and good. These structures (at their best) remind us that we are not alone; that we are a part of something way bigger than just ourselves; that our loving God calls us to live and work not alone, but together. And for that I gratefully say…
Thanks be to God!