Saint James Anglican Church

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


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Rector's Messages

Message Archive


Annual Report 2004


"The parish of St. James, Armdale, seeks to live out the Christian faith in the Anglican tradition, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We strive to grow as a welcoming, friendly, parish family that has strong liturgical, pastoral and teaching ministries. We are dedicated to fostering the values of the Christian faith in our parish, and reaching out to the wider community."


Again this year, I want to reflect on the past year within the context of our Parish Mission Statement. It is important that our mission statement be a 'living' document, and not simply something written on paper.


We seek to live out the Christian faith within the Anglican tradition. Hopefully, you will recognize a distinctive Anglican character to the endeavors that are noted below. However, I think one of the hall marks of the Anglican tradition is characterized by the way in which local parishes are connected to the wider church. This past year, we welcomed Bishop Fred Hiltz to our parish. Our parish also hosted a regional meeting at which time bishop Fred provided leadership in a workshop on future possibilities for the work of our church in the Chebucto Region. It was terrific that members of St. James contributed a banner for display at the consecration of Bishop Susan Moxley. Some of our young people had opportunity to meet both Bishop Sue and Bishop Fred, and share in the 'councils of the church' at synod and at the diocesan youth conference. I have been pleased to give some of my time in support of our bishops: as a consultant to The Bishops Advisory Council; as a member of Dean and Chapter; and helping the bishops with their covenant in ministry. I enjoyed the educational opportunities afforded me in both preaching at Kings' College Chapel and conducting a set of workshops for theological students at Atlantic School of Theology. As diocesan chaplain of Mothers Union, I celebrated the Eucharist at the spring rally at St. Andrew's, Cole Harbour. I attended the clergy gathering hosted by the diocesan 'Leap for Faith' Capital Campaign.


The growth of our parish family can be measured, not only in numbers, but in the richness of our program and social life. It is wonderful to see people of so many ages participating in so many and varied ways in the life of St. James. The reconvening of the youth group, the ongoing development of our web page, and the production of a parish photo directory, and the beginnings of making our church more wheel chair accessible, will all enrich parish life. The character of ACW, Mothers Union, Social Club, Choir, orchestra, servers guild, altar guild, readers, and Eucharistic ministers, makes the parish distinctively "St. James".


Liturgy is another aspect of our parish life that involves the service and talents of so many people. As presider, I try to bridge both traditional and contemporary liturgies with a shared ethos. Hopefully our liturgies, both in church and in other locations, sustain and connect people at the seasons; at times of baptism, admission to communion, confirmation, marriage, funerals; and during visitation to the sick, anointing, and home communions. This past year it was a great joy to welcome The Rev. Neale Bennet back to St. James. He preached at the liturgy for St. Luke's Day as we celebrated the many connections between St. James and the health care community.


Over the past thirteen months I have had 211 pastoral appointments. I consider this central to the ministry of a parish priest. I remain truly excited by the work of our parish visitors who continue to enjoy mentoring by Canon Ed Fiander. I am also aware of the many ways in which people of the parish express concern for, and pray for, one another.


I suppose one of the things I enjoy most is the challenge and engagement of teaching in the form of Sunday sermons, children's stories, bible study, children and communion program, and Inquirer's Group. I appreciate the input, questions, and suggestions I receive from people in this regard. However, I truly enjoy the way in which others are involved in the teaching ministries of our parish as well. This year 18 candidates will be presented for confirmation. I know how thoroughly they have been prepared by Carmon Stone. The work of Audrey Li and the Sunday school staff makes a wonderful contribution to the spiritual growth of the children. The Sunday school program is vital for those young families either in the parish, or seeking a parish. We can also celebrate: the Lenten program led by laity; the teaching and instruction given to our choirs and musicians by Dr. Wilson; the musical instruction given to the Sunday School children by Colleen Hinchey Day and Brian Field; the instruction and training given to our servers by Alice Hadley. One of the groups who give direction to the fostering of Christian values in the parish is the "Faith, Worship, and Ministry Committee". Pam Williams and I co-chair this committee of Parish Council. I'm appreciative of the committee membership as they move projects from research and discussion to a tangible place in parish life.


Reaching out to the wider community brings us full circle in my reflections upon the past year. Our outreach committee, which I try and attend regularly, over sees that component of our budget which offers support to a number of programs and organizations in the wider community. St. James continues to contribute teams to St. George's soup kitchen. Our support of Halifax West Ecumenical Food Bank is ongoing.
The work of the Primate's Fund and Anglican Appeal is kept before our parish. This past year, I have increased my commitment to Glades Lodge by joining the newly formed pastoral care committee. This is a very exciting development for a community that is part of our neighborhood.


Our facilities here at St. James were identified as a major asset when we developed our Mission Statement and Goals. This past year the "Property Committee" has continued to meet the challenge of maintaining our buildings as assets for the future. Here I wish to note as well the work of the "Stain Glass Window Committee" of Parish Council. A great deal of time and careful consultation has marked both the work of "The Window Committee" and the deliberations of Parish Council on this project. I believe the completion of this project will enhance the distinctiveness of our church as a place of worship in our community.

This report is written with a sense of deep appreciation for the work and ministry of the many individuals, groups, and organizations at St. James. Some special thank you notes must be sounded. A thank you is extended to our parish staff both salaried and volunteer: Michael Hadley (custodian), Hugh McGinn (envelope secretary), and Betty Rice (Parish office), Allen Simpson (bookkeeper), and David Wilson (music director). Thank you is extended to our wardens Ernie Clarke, Carmon Stone, and Pam Williams for their multi-faceted involvement in the work of the parish. Thank You is extended to Bill Li, Betty Rice (secretary), and Phil Page (Parish treasurer) who have concluded terms on parish council that have been marked by a great deal of work. A Thank you is extended to Canon David Boston for both his support and his willingness to take services when I have been away. A very special word of thanks is extended to Wendy for all her support, encouragement, and patience. Wendy & I would like to extend a special Thank You to the parish for the major renovation program in the rectory this past year.


Our bishop has asked that annual reports include both a looking back and a look ahead.

As we move into 2005 and beyond, there are some things, which I hope we can explore together as a community of Christian Faith. I hope we can continue to focus on youth as a priority within our parish goals. Specifically, I trust we will endeavor to make our programs and facilities reflective of our priorities in this area. I encourage us to build on our outreach efforts by engaging in more justice education, and learning more about the problems of our world and community, and the ways in which we can be participants in helping to resolve them. I think we can strive to increase and develop the role of laity in the ministry of our parish-especially to families at times of preparation for baptism and admission to communion. I encourage us to continue to be attentive ways in which our church is a sacred space evocative of prayer, meditation and worship. I call us to continue to pray and study in the service of strengthening our understanding of our
relationships in world wide Anglican Communion, and especially with our partners in Moosonee, Keewatin, and Manicaland. The coming year will also challenge us as stewards of our resources, keeping before us the needs of Primate's Fund, Anglican Appeal and the diocesan capital campaign 'Leap For Faith'. May God continue to bless us as a community of Christian faith.


Respectfully submitted, The Rev. Canon Rod Gillis


Christmas attendance:
Dec. 24th: 4:30 pm (full house); 10:30 pm (132). Dec.25th: 10:30 am (24)
Dec. 26th: 9:15 am (50)


Easter Attendance:
Vigil (32); 8:30 (78); 10:00 am (325)