In September, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams visited the college and presided at our Friday morning Eucharist. In his homily that morning, Archbishop Williams recalled a visit he made to a primary school during his ministry. He was later told that a young girl had returned home and told her parents that the “optician” had visited that day—the word “archbishop” was apparently too much for her to say. But it was not such a bad description of an archbishop, Dr. Williams said: someone who tries to help others see clearly.
Our ministry in the college also centres on sight. Students preparing for ministry need opportunities to see themselves as God sees them: as vulnerable and flawed but also blessed and gifted to minister in God’s world. Through daily prayer, pastoral supervision, and creative ministry opportunities, the college helps students see themselves in a new and transforming light. It is the foundation of all their future ministry.
Students also need to learn to see the world around them in a new way. The world in which our students will minister is different than it was 10, 20, or 50 years ago. As people preparing for gospel-shaped ministry, students in the college are asked to consider where they are seeing God at work around them, what the obstacles are to ministry, and what new avenues for proclamation are appearing in our midst. These are not always easy things to see, which is why in our classrooms and in our common life we try to help one another improve our sight so that we may discern how the church is called to minister.
In order for the college to continue to help students see clearly, we also need to look clearly at ourselves. We need to make sure that the courses we offer respond to the needs of the church and the world and prepares students for future ministry. We need to see that the gifts this college has to offer can enrich people across the church, not just in Quebec, and we need to spend time and energy telling others about our work here. We need to see our financial situation clearly and ensure that we have a path towards a sustainable future.
You will read about our new constitution elsewhere in this newsletter. This new constitution provides new opportunities for people to join in our ministry here by joining our Corporation. Corporation members pay a small annual fee to the college and in return receive various benefits that come from being part of our ministry. Membership forms and further details about the Corporation will be available early in the new year but you can register your interest in joining the Corporation now by e-mailing us at email@example.com and we will send you the forms just as soon as we have them.
Christ gave the gift of sight to the blind and called us to see ourselves and the world around us clearly. As I conclude my first semester in this position, I give thanks for the ministry of seeing which takes place in this college and pray that we may all help one another see clearly where God is calling this college in the future.
Yours faithfully in Christ,