Saint James Anglican Church

Joseph Howe Drive at the Armdale Rotary, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada             


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Primate's Foreword

I am delighted to offer these few words by way of preface to "The Letters of Rod". Canon Gillis and I go back almost forty years. We were classmates at the Atlantic School of Theology where we earned our Master of Divinity in 1978. We were ordained deacons together in 1977 and priests together in 1978. For a number of years we served in neighbouring parishes. Rod in French Village and I in Timberlea-Lakeside, Rod in Mahone Bay and I in Lunenburg. In the in between years Rod served in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and in the latter years in North Sydney. By then we were both serving the Bishop as Archdeacons - Rod in Cape Breton and I on the South Shore. While Rector of St. James, Armdale, Rod also served for several years as Archdeacon of Halifax and subsequently as a Canon of the Cathedral Church of All Saints. He was always a tremendous support to my ministry as bishop, offering good and practical counsel. To this day I cherish the friendship we have enjoyed as colleagues in ministry.


When I was asked to prepare this preface my mind went immediately to a gem of a book, "Here I am - Reflections on the Ordained Life", by Richard Giles. His reflections are based on the Ordinal in the Book of Common Prayer of The Episcopal Church. One chapter is entitled "Unfolding The Scriptures". He writes, "What the people of God are hungry for in the Sunday liturgy is not a learned paper but food", food for the "journey of daily living in the gospel". The very fact that Rod's letters and sermons are being collected and bound is a testimony that through them the parish family of St. James has been well nourished in the last fourteen years.


"Our boldness in the ministry of proclamation" writes Giles "will consist of using the opportunities given us - in the Sunday homily, the newsletter, the comment for the local press, the web page - with the utmost of care and a real sense of the power placed in our hands. Preparing words for such occasions is not a chore to be got through, but a scared trust".


That my friends is the way Rod has considered his writing and his preaching - as a sacred trust, among others, conferred in ordination. It is a trust he has honoured by his reading of the text (he is one of a very few priests I know who still uses his Greek New Testament), his study and thoughtful reflection. Well prepared and well delivered, his sermons have touched the lives of many, shaped their faith and informed their living as followers of Christ. To this ministry Rod has brought a brilliance of mind, and a passion of spirit for which we are ever grateful.


My own hope is that in retirement Canon Gillis will do some writing in the area of homiletics. He has much to offer the next generation of those who seek to be faithful ministers of God's Holy Word and Sacraments. He could mentor them in the ways of liturgical, pastoral, and prophetic preaching. I believe that could be a wonderful dimension to Rod's lasting gift of himself to the ministry of our beloved Church and its commitment to God's mission in the world.


I am so pleased the parish has taken the initiative to collect "The Letters of Rod". With you, I give thanks to God for his ministry as priest and pastor, messenger and steward of the mysteries of God.


"Well done good and faithful servant"


Your friend in Christ,


Fred J. Hiltz
Archbishop and Primate