From the Dean’s Desk…

How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard,
on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordained his blessing, life for evermore.

(Psalm 133)

Jan Osborne, Dean Paul N. Johnson, Dean Emeritus Bob Osborne - Toronto, April 2013

Last week (April 11-14) I enjoyed the great pleasure and privilege of attending the annual North American Deans’ Conference gathering, this year in Toronto, hosted by The Cathedral Church of St. James, its Dean, The Very Rev. Douglas Stoute, and also the Archbishop of Toronto and the Metropolitan of Ontario, The Most Rev. Colin Johnson.  Thank you, St. John’s, and Bishop Don, for encouraging me to go, and funding my attendance. Thank you also, Douglas, and ++Colin.

As always, the best part of the gathering is the networking and learning that happens when a group gathers who share a unique and challenging role in the church, while also sharing unique opportunities and joys.  This year’s gathering was larger than last year’s in Denver, with many brand new deans included.  In total there were 23 Canadian Deans present (A record?), including 6 retired Deans, among whom was our very own Bob Osborne.  What a happy surprise it was to see Bob!  And Jan!  Both of them remain dear friends to me, and I thank God for them.  There were 31 Episcopal Deans present, including two who are retired.  Also along were 39 spouses (including Jan), for a total of 94, with our guest, the Dean of Jerusalem, The Very Rev. Hosam Naoum.  It was truly a gift to have him present with us, to remind us of how critically important it is that we support the church in the Holy Lands, so that we don’t end up with only a dead museum of Christian history, but continue in a living relationship with the oldest part of the Body of Christ.  Shukran iqtir (Thank you very much), Hosam!

As always, the agenda was full and rich:

North American Deans Conference, April 11 – 14, 2013

St James Cathedral Centre, Toronto, Ontario

“Future Tense – Tools for Cathedral Ministry in the 21st Century”

Thursday April 11
4:00 pm Orientation for New Deans / Spouses / First Time Attendees
5:30 pm Choral Evensong (Cathedral)
6:00 pm Welcome Reception
7:00 pm Archbishop’s Dinner
9:00 pm Hospitality Suite
Friday April 12
9:00am – 12:30pm Program
 Welcome and Introduction – The Very Rev. Douglas Stoute, Dean of Toronto
 Presentation – The Rev. Fr. Darren Dias, O.B., St. Michael’s College, U of T
– “Can Liberal Christianity be Saved?”
– Panel and discussion
 Presentation – The Rev. Michael Blair, United Church of Canada
– “From the Garden to the City”
12:30pm Lunch Break
 2:00pm – 4:45pm Program
 Presentation – Rt Hon Wm. Graham, PC (former Liberal Foreign and Defense Minister)
– Canada US Relations – “How Can a Mouse Sleep next to an Elephant?”
 Conversation with Mary W. Rowe: a shared culture of cities
 Presentation – Rosanne Haggerty
– “The City as Sanctuary”
4:45pm ● Site Visit: Coach to St. Bartholomew and Walking Tour of the Regent
Park Revitalization Initiative
– with Michael, Rosanne, Mary, joined by Derek Ballantyne (former head
of Toronto Community Housing) and Mitchell Cohen, President of Daniels Corp.
7:00pm – 9:30pm Dinner (Paintbox Bistro, Regent Park)
– return coach to the Cathedral Centre
9:45pm Hospitality Suite
Saturday April 13
9:00 am – 12:30pm Program
 Presentation – The Very Rev. Hosam Noaum
– “The Holy City”
 Presentation – Michael, Rosanne and Mary
– “The City: From Garden to Sanctuary to Prophet”
12:30 pm Lunch Break
1:45 pm Business Meeting
Afternoon & Evening Free time
9:00 pm Hospitality Suite
Sunday April 14
10:30 am Group photo (Cathedral steps)
11:00 am Choral Eucharist (Cathedral)

We also had on offer all the regular Cathedral Liturgies:

Monday – Friday
 – 7:30 am – Said Eucharist
 – 8:30 am – Morning Prayer
 – 12:30 pm – Said Eucharist
 – 5:15 pm – Evening Prayer
 – 8:30 am – Morning Prayer
 – 12:30 pm – Said Eucharist
– 8:00 am – Said Eucharist
– 9:00 am – Sung Eucharist
– 11:00 am – Choral Eucharist
– 4:30 pm – Choral Evensong

After the program, after the good meals, after worship, and after meeting and getting to know Deans and spouses from the Arctic to the Bahamas, from Cornerbrook to Honolulu, plus Jerusalem – our earthly mother church, along with our heavenly mother, the new Jerusalem – I came away feeling refreshed, feeling like I had absorbed much good experience, like I had even learned a few things, and grown in many relationships, especially in my journey within the Anglican Communion, but more importantly within the whole Body of Christ in this world which God loves so much.

So, with the ancient Psalmist I too can say again,

How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! 

Thanks be to God!