As many of you know by now, on Sunday at the opening liturgy of the 169th Synod of the Diocese of Huron, Bishop Bob Bennett appointed me to the Cathedral Chapter of Canons. It is a tremendous honour for which I feel undeserving. I was humbled by Bishop’s invitation to be a Canon of the Diocese of Huron. I thought of the words of St. Augustine who insisted, “The sufficiency of my merit is to know that my merit is not sufficient.”
In many ways, I feel that this is an honour that should be bestowed upon a congregation. I have ministered in this diocese for over twelve years. Every day my ministry has been alongside the people of St. Mark’s by-the-Lake Church who have done much to become an open, inclusive, mission minded church. There was a day when few knew much about St. Mark’s by-the-Lake. Those days are gone. Not because our community has become loud or outspoken, but because with grace and humility the ministers of this parish have taken up the call of Micah: do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God. I believe strongly that in honouring me with this appointment, the Bishop is also honouring the many ministers of St. Mark’s.
So for those who were not there on Sunday here is the blow by blow!
The Bishop appoints new Canons most years at synod. It is unknown who will be appointed until it is announced in the liturgy. (You can imagine the surprise of the St. Mark’s delegates when my name was called.) This year there were four new Canons appointed to the Cathedral Chapter of Canons; The Rev’d Canon Nancy Adams, The Rev’d Canon Lance Smith, The Rev’d Canon Perry Chuipka and me. We are called forward after the bishop’s charge to synod. When arrived at the front, we stood at the chancel steps. The Bishop then asked:
“Kevin, You are about to be appointed and installed as a Canon in the Diocese of Huron. Your role, when called upon, is to assist the bishop with counsel; to be a member of the Cathedral Chapter, to study and demonstrate the discipline of ministry which is of interest; and to be an influence toward the health and welfare of the diocese. Will you endeavour to do these things?”
I will, the Lord being my helper
The The Bishop says: Dean Dixon, I ask you to install the new Canon please.
He escorts me to a stall (in this case a chair) and says:
“By the authority of the Bishop of Huron, I receive and recognize you as a Canon of the Diocese of Huron. May God richly bless you in your association with this Cathedral Chapter.”
Then I am seated!
It was quite an operation! The night was fairly painless, a little embarrassing, it was very humbling, it was inspiring, and it was reaffirming. Those of you who know me well know that I am uncomfortable with being complimented, etc. So the embarrassment comes from being signalled out and raised up. The physical aspect of leaving the seating on the floor to sit with other canons in the chancel is an uncomfortable notion for me. I like it when we are together. It was humbling in the sense that while I feel that I am undeserving of this, I know that gratitude is an important aspect of faithful living and I need to accept gracefully this gift and this honour. I am humbled because I have looked to others who have been part of this Chapter to be my counsel at times and they gave me guidance. It is an awesome thought to be considered worthy to be someone that others might look too. It was inspiring to me because of the words quoted above. With God being my helper, I am inspired to do more to assist, to study more, to inspire ministry that is of interest more, and to seek to be more intentional about seeking general welfare of Huron. It was reaffirming because at times we all need someone to affirm who we are and what we do. I minister because I love Jesus. It is good when another of Jesus’ ministers affirms my love for God.
Many have asked what this means. Good question – I’ll search out the answer. It is an honour, it is a title and it comes with some responsibility as noted above. It is not an order. I am not relocated to the cathedral or anywhere else. It means that Canon Dibbs has to move over – really looking forward to his return. My name is still Kevin. I still love hockey and I am still looking forward to Hockey Jersey Sunday this coming Sunday. So come this week and see how a Canon conducts a liturgy on a ‘feast’ we call HOCKEY JERSEY SUNDAY.