“It began in the 1970s when I was Ecumenical Officer at Anglican Church House. Marion Niven, CCS Principal, was a member of the parish I attended (St. Barnabas). I was invited to a learning circle to talk about Anglican polity, and another time to talk about church union. From those first encounters I was deeply impressed by the Centre’s educational approach, by the deep sense of community among the students. Then there were several ad hoc meetings on how to get more Anglicans involved with the Centre, leading at one point to a delegation to Archbishop Garnsworthy of the Diocese of Toronto. No success, but we kept working at it through the 70s and 80s.
After I left Church House in 1981 and worked in a parish in Georgetown, ON. I became a member of the CCS Central Council (in fact, the vice chair) and worked for a few years on strategic planning with Gwyn Griffith. I guess I would have become co-chair then, but I moved to Calgary, and teleconferencing wasn’t feasible in those days.
In the mid 90s I was again a member of Central Council while I served as General Secretary of the Anglican Church. These were years of uncertainty, tension, turmoil as we moved toward a decision about the building at 77 Charles St. When the general meeting failed to reach a 2/3rd vote on moving to Winnipeg, Carl Ferguson of the United Church and I were asked to re-study the question, and our report, a few months later was presented to another general meeting and the required vote was easily attained. Those were difficult years, but the Centre took a bold step, with much anxiety, but it enabled rebirth and significant strength grew in Winnipeg, as the national character of the Centre was nourished in new ways.
Then in the late 2000’s I was asked to serve on the search committee for a new principal which led to the hiring of Megan McKenzie. Soon after, Ted Dodd called to ask if I would be the Anglican co-chair. I declined the first time, but he called back a few weeks later and I yielded to his persuasive ways.
The last six years as co-chair, first with Tammy Allan and then with Carolynne Bouey-Shank have been a delight. I’ve never been part of such a happy and cohesive board, yet one that has been effective and forward looking. The Centre is blessed with experienced and caring staff, strong financial management, an impressive endowment fund and a core program and educational approach that maintains the strengths I encountered in the 70s, while evolving with the times and the technology of our age.
In all, I think I’ve served on the Council a total of 15 years. Through the decades the emphasis on ‘community’ is one of the keys, and one of the gifts that the Centre offers to the churches, and indeed to the world. May it thrive, and go from strength to strength.”