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From the Metropolitan - Prayers for the Synod of the Diocese of Moosonee

“But who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16.13

Timmins, Ontario


June 24th- 28th. 


Dear friends,


This week delegates from around the Diocese of Moosonee will gather in Timmins Ontario for its first Synod since it became a Mission Area of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario in 2011. The plan for it to become a Mission Area evolved after almost a year of discussions and consultations on the fate of the diocese, which had been burdened by extreme financial difficulties.  “What drove this decision so forcefully was the “parishes’ determination to stay together and keep the strong links and personal relationships that they have with each other.” (Bishop Corston).

This Synod will be an historic one as delegates will be prayerfully discerning whether the time has come to return to being a diocese in its own right, with a duly elected residential bishop. I invite your prayers as we take counsel together for the renewal and mission of God’s church in Moosonee. In Synod’s discernment on the resolution that is coming before them I pray that any decision will not be based on personal wants but on what is best for the greater good of the whole diocese, that will bring glory to God.

At the opening Eucharist we will pray that the Holy Spirit will sanctify our offering of bread and wine, and ask that we will be sanctified by the Holy Spirit as well. As a Eucharistic community, the church is the creation of the Holy Spirit. It is not an institution to which the Holy Spirit is later added, or which calls upon the Holy Spirit ONLY when we celebrate any of the sacraments.  It is always the church of Pentecost and is therefore utterly dependent on the Holy Spirit to do its work. As Moosonee gathers for Synod my prayer is that we will be open to the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

We are all disappointed that because of a health concern Bishop Victoria Matthews has had to resign as the Episcopal Administrator for Moosonee and Incumbent of our Cathedral Church and will not be able to join us for Synod.

Over the past 20 months Bishop Victoria’s contribution in her two roles, her generosity of time and energy and skill has been immense and for that we are grateful. We offer our love and prayers to Bishop Victoria as she undergoes surgery and further treatment, praying that God will restore her to fullness of health to enjoy the many things she loves to do.

In my Charge to Synod I will be asking delegates to consider whether the diocese is ready – spiritually, mentally, financially for our own diocesan bishop? These must all form part of our discernment and we must be attentive to the presentations which are made about our financial status.  Wearing my metropolitical hat I will be asking that Moosonee demonstrates that it can bear the cost of a diocesan bishop. This cannot be a short term decision but one that is sustainable.

I will be assuring Synod that neither I nor Archbishop Fred are trying to get out of being Moosonee’s diocesan and assisting bishop. Our faith has been increased through our leadership in their midst. We have come to love the people of Moosonee, even as we have served from a distance. We are committed to being there for Moosonee regardless of the outcome of the resolution coming before this synod.

This Synod we will be welcoming Archbishop Chris Harper as our keynote speaker, as well as Archdeacon Ros Elm our Canon Missioner for the Year of the Evangelistic Mission. PWRDF’s Executive Director Will Postma and the Anglican Foundation of Canada’s Executive Director Scott Brubacher will also be present. We are grateful for the generous grants two of Moosonee’s parishes have received from AFC in the last year, enabling them to complete large diverse infrastructure projects.

In a warm note of greeting to Synod delegates our Primate Archbishop Linda Nicholls writes:

“Moosonee has a long history of ministry that has faced challenges in the past and found faithful ways to respond. I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit will guide your discernment during your synod and lead you to the ways needed for this time across the diocese.

I am deeply grateful for the interim episcopal support you have been able to receive from Archbishop

Anne Germond, Archbishop Fred Hiltz and Bishop Victoria Matthews. You have been blessed indeed!

Our prayers go with Bishop Victoria in her journey of healing; with Archbishop Anne as she succeeds me as Acting Primate and Archbishop Fred as he commends you to your next steps. They have walked with you to prepare the way. Now – like the early disciples in the Acts of the Apostles – you are invited to grasp the possibilities before you to continue to live and proclaim the gospel in faith. May you be filled with courage – steady in hope and joyful in the Gospel!”


Indeed, may Moosonee go forward with hope and courage!


Yours faithfully


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