The Rev. Diane Hilpert-McIlroy: Mentor and Continuing Education Support
June 18th, 2020
“Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty.” (Matthew 13. 8)
Greetings to you as we begin the ‘green and growing’ season of Pentecost in the church year which sometimes coincides with the ‘green and growing’ season in Canada’s earth. While the corona virus pandemic kept people home many families started growing vegetables gardens in their backyards. Adults and children alike are watching green shoots sprouting out of the brown earth, and in a few months time they will be enjoying the fruits of their labours in salads, stir fries, and stews.
In the church calendar the ‘green and growing season’ gives us time to linger longer in the gospels and follow closely as Jesus instructs his disciples about what it means to be his follower. The Sunday Lectionary Cycle is divided into three years and in 2020 we are in Year A where Matthew’s Gospel (Chapters 10- 25) will be the focus for the Pentecost Season. Those chapters begin with Jesus summoning the twelve disciples and sending them out into the mission field with a list of instructions for how they will carry out their ministry. Jesus predicts that the work will not be easy – that they will face many hardships including being handed over to councils to be flogged. It’s a wonder that any of them actually set out to do the work to which Jesus called them – but they do go because he reminded them that they were of great value to him, of more value than many sparrows (10.32), and that they should not be afraid.
Like those early disciples you have been called by God to the ministry of a deacon or priest in the church and are serving in the mission fields of Moosonee. Your work is filled with times of great joy as you preside at services, preach and teach, celebrate baptisms and weddings. While funerals are occasions of sadness they are beautiful opportunities to speak words of hope at a time when many feel despair. There are also times of challenge in ministry and the last few months as we have lived through this unprecedented time of pandemic have been extra stressful. Thank you for all the ways in which you have continued to be the church, outside of your church buildings. The busyness of parish life sometimes means that clergy neglect to take care of their own formation through ongoing studies of the scripture and other reading for theological formation. Like the new green shoots sprouting from the earth, new clergy need to pay extra attention to this aspect of their lives.
In Moosonee the Senior Officers (+Fred, Larry, Patricia and myself) have been wondering how the newly ordained clergy in Moosonee might continue with their theological education and formation that began for each of you during your time in the Moosonee School of Ministry. This is the ongoing ‘green and growing’ time of learning for you. You will remember that you committed to ongoing formation through continuing education, and that on your ordination day you promised that you would be ‘diligent in the reading of holy scriptures, and in seeking the knowledge of such things as may make you a stronger and more able minister of Christ.’ (BAS pg. 647)
We want to encourage you to do this and have found a way to offer you this for the next eighteen months through the ministry of a new appointment in Moosonee whose primary role will be to offer training, mentoring, spiritual care and continuing education support to newly ordained clergy with respect to liturgy, preaching, administration, and pastoral care. This ministry will be undertaken online via telephone, Zoom, and teleconferencing. We are grateful to the Council of the North for the funding for this position.
I have appointed the Rev. Diane Hilpert-McIlroy to this position, and an announcement about her appointment will be posted shortly. I have known Rev. Diane for over thirteen years as she ministered in the mission fields of Algoma. She is a woman whose heart for God is reflected in her passion for the gospel and devotion to those she serves. Rev. Diane is a graduate of Huron College and has a Master of Divinity. She was ordained a deacon in the Diocese of Algoma on June 16th, 2007 and priested on October 16th, 2007. She served as the Incumbent of St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Nipigon for 13 years, retiring from that position last July. During this time the parish grew numerically and in faith, much of it due to Rev. Diane’s focus on discipleship and the care and nurture of souls. Over the years she has worked closely as a Spiritual Guide to those seeking or discerning a call to ordination, and some continue to find encouragement from her. Rev. Diane also served as the Regional Dean for the Deanery of Thunder Bay/North Shore.
One of the first things that Rev. Diane wishes to do is to call the newly ordained clergy in Moosonee (5 years or less) and make your acquaintance. I know that you will offer her a warm Moosonee welcome and partner with her as she begins this new ministry in our midst. Know that you will be in Archbishop Fred and my prayers as we all make our way through the ‘green and growing’ season of our lives.
With every blessing,
+Anne Bishop of Moosonee
+Fred Assisting Bishop of Moosonee