Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I grew up in Coventry, England, was baptized as a baby and grew up in the Roman Catholic tradition.
What were your early religious experiences and influences?
The greatest spiritual influences in my life were the religious sisters of St. Paul and my high school experience, which was grounded in daily prayer and a spiritual environment that was positive and nurturing. An important experience for me was the annual school retreat when I was fifteen. During a talk about missionary work in Africa, I had a clear experience that God was going to ask me to do something like that, but not yet. Later, after I graduated from teachers’ college, I came to Canada to volunteer and live in a community setting with a lay organization called the Frontier Apostolate. This was my introduction to Canada and in a special way to the First Nations people in Northern B.C.
Tell us a bit about your previous work both within and outside the church.
I have been a grade one teacher for many years, and previously spent seven years as coordinator of adult faith development in a Saskatchewan diocese. My journey has taken me from England to various parts of Canada including Fort St. John, Vanderhoof, Fort Smith, NWT, Prince Albert and Saskatoon.
What studies have you pursued?<
My first degree is a Bachelor of Education with a focus on fine arts. A number of years ago, I did a one-year, full-time program for lay formation at Newman College, Edmonton. Five years ago, I began the Master of Divinity program at the Vancouver School of Theology, graduating last May. I am also a qualified spiritual director.
What made you decide to pursue the role of deacon?
My call to priesthood includes being ordained first as a transitional deacon. I felt an attraction to priesthood for a number of years but didn’t see a way to respond as a Roman Catholic woman and I didn’t consider it even after becoming Anglican. Five years ago, after the death of my dad, I was in Coventry Cathedral and experienced an irresistible desire to pursue this call. I began my studies at Vancouver School of Theology a few weeks later and the call has been sustained and confirmed in various ways during the past five years, particularly through the people of God in the parishes where I have served as an intern.
Who are some of the people that have inspired and guided you during your journey to deacon?
My M.Div. journey at the Vancouver School of Theology brought me into discussion and friendship with professors and students of various Christian and other faith backgrounds, which I appreciate. My internship experience with Dawna Wall and the community at St. Michael & All Angels, Victoria, provided the support and generous opportunity I needed to develop liturgical skills and preaching and was a very unique experience during the pandemic. My learning continues with the opportunity to broaden my ministry at the Church of the Advent, Victoria, with Paul Schumacher.
How do you see the role of deacon within the church?
To be of service to the world, particularly those in the greatest need, to be active in working for justice, to bring the needs of the world to the church, to assist in the sacramental life of the church and to nurture the faith of the church community.
What have been your posting highlights so far?
Assisting with the liturgy, proclaiming the Gospel, preaching, working in a team ministry situation and visiting parishioners and residents of a long-term care home.
What do you see as the greatest challenge in the Anglican church?
Recognizing that younger people are facing challenges that are specific to their time in history and that many see church in quite different ways to their parents and grandparents. I believe that the church of the future will look quite different to how it looks now though we have no concrete grasp of what that will look like. We have to wait for the Spirit to show us the way and be willing to try some different ways of being church.
What was the most unusual sermon you have ever heard?
A sermon about the ascension, described by the preacher as “the feast of letting go.” The sermon presented the concept that before we can receive the Spirit for something new in our lives, there are experiences, positions, places and even people that we have to let go of in order to really open to God’s Spirit for “now.” This is the only sermon I have heard that has had a continued influence on me. I constantly refer back to it and apply it to my present reality.