Dick Hunt's Blog

May 29, 2011

A Letter to Fred

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 5:22 pm

A Letter to Fred;
by Dick Hunt, Sunday, May 29th, 2011.
Tomorrow will be the 54th Anniversary of my Ordination as a Deacon in the Church of God, (Anglican type), on Ascension Day in 1957, in the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer in Calgary. I had served as a “Lay Reader” in a number of Parishes near where I ranched for some time before beginning studies for Ordination and so I  was used to preparing sermons and conducting Morning and Evening Prayer. I had also been reading my King James Bible and studying it for years before God called me to be first a Lay Reader, then a candidate for Ordination. As a Deacon, I was instructed to report to the Town of Stettler, Alberta and to be the interim Deacon in charge 0f St. George’s  Parish, which also had a number of Mission points to care for. I consider it a “God Incident” that St. George’s Church was the place where my Parents had been married on February 3rd, 1913.

I was ordained a Priest on St. Andrew’s day 1957 and a few weeks later I was officially inducted by Bishop George Calvert as the Rector.  While I was in Emmanuel College in Saskatoon Saskatchewan, I was employed half time as a Student Minister in a suburban Parish and that was likely the reason I was not instructed in the intricacies of conducting the Communion service. So I just served according to the Rubrics in the Book of Common Prayer and it worked fine. One of the great merits of the Book of Common Prayer is that it leaves little wiggle room for invention of new ideologies or Doctrines or strange practices and teachings. It rings with the truth of Holy Scripture and has been well dubbed,  “The Holy Bible arranged for public Worship”.  I strongly disagree with the liberal practice of adapting worship and doctrine to the wishes of the secular world.  That can never be the way to bring civilization to the foot of the Cross.  I have always preached the Word of God according to the revealed Word, to the best of my ability and in the Power of the Holy Spirit.

We spent seven years in Stettler, Ruth and I and our four children and they were happy and fulfilling years.  Some little time before I was invited to move to St. Peter’s Parish and Mission of Williams Lake, B.C., I had an urgent letter from Frederick Vaughn Birch, a former Rector of St. George’s, Stettler.  I can envision his cheerful face still.  He said that he had accepted appointment to another Parish in the Diocese and that he wanted me to apply  to move to High River south of Calgary and look after the Parish after he left it.  I replied that I could not think of leaving St. George’s Parish as I felt we had work in progress that must be finished. He was even more urgent in his next letter and I could almost detect the stain of tears on the paper.  Then I wrote  a longer letter in which I pointed out the Lay abilities of many of his Parishioners and what they ought to do until another Priest was appointed.  Some could train as Lay Readers and be licensed to  conduct Morning and Evening Prayer, Bible Studies and  teach the Catechism. Others could start Prayer Groups, teach Sunday School, look after the administration of the Parish.  That is when Fred began to challenge his people to do what they should have been doing anyway, both to enhance the Ministry in the Church and Community and to relieve him of some of the burdens he had kept for himself.

While we were still in Stettler, it was not unusual for me to be asked to help out in other Parishes where clergy were not available.  We had two capable Lay Readers in Stettler.  Following one Sunday when I was not available in the Parish on Sunday at eleven, I was strongly attacked by a member of the Parish Council for being absent.  I explained that I was in two other Parishes where they had no Priest that day. He said they should use their own Lay Readers.  I said, “they have no Lay Readers. that before I studied for the Ministry, I was their Lay Reader”.  Finally the other Council Members told him to be quiet.  Since coming to this Diocese, I learned that volunteer Lay Readers have not been used.

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