(14 May 2015)
Over the past two weeks I have been approached by some people in the Diocese of Montreal who would like my name to stand in the nomination to become the next bishop of Montreal.
I have consulted widely both inside and outside the Diocese of Quebec. I have also spoken with the Officers of Synod. The reason I gave to them regarding the possibility of being nominated was that I believe that now would be an opportune time to unite the two dioceses.
As you know, although our financial house is now pretty well in order, we still face the fact that we will never have the critical mass of members that we need to ensure our future mission. I spent four years speaking about the possibilities of such a merger with people in Montreal. I believe there is some interest in that possibility.
It is for this reason that I am prepared to offer myself as a candidate. The election takes place on June the 6th. Whatever happens we of the household of faith believe that the Spirit will decide. I am content to see whatever follows.
I spoke with Diocesan Executive Council on Monday the11th of May to explain my decision to them.
Below you will find the essay I wrote for the members of Synod in Montreal so that you can see what is motivating me and what I am saying about my vision for the future.
God bless you all.
Vision for Episcopal Ministry in the Diocese of Montreal and Quebec
Prepared by the Rt. Rev. Dennis Drainville for the Synod of the Diocese of Montreal’s 2015 episcopal election.
A bishop is a symbol of and advocate for the unity of Christ in the life of the diocese, even as the priest is in the parish and all baptized persons are in the world.
This is both our scriptural and historical understanding of the exercise of authority and ministry in the Anglican Church. In today’s world, where so much is called into question, the bishop must be a leader who articulates and promotes a vocation for the church pertinent to our time. I believe that I can do this.
Since becoming bishop, I have traveled to communities throughout Quebec and to many places beyond Canada. I have watched and listened keenly. What I have witnessed has deeply affected my understanding of the state and needs of our Church. People in our pews and in our neighbourhoods, over-consume materially and are afflicted by depression, addictions and other forms of illness. Much of this is caused by want of the spirit in their lives. But despite our best efforts, too many remain unsupported and isolated.
Never have the needs of Creation and the created been so great. And never have we been at such a loss about how to respond. However it is not a crisis of faith that we as Church are suffering, but a crisis of identity. Who are we? What is our message? Where are we going?
My vision of the church has changed as a result of 8 years of episcopal leadership: I affirm the following key priorities for a sustainable and effective witness to Christ in Quebec:
Forming disciples dedicated to learning, prayer, and the life of the Christian community; hence, a greater emphasis upon lay training and leadership.
This priority recognizes the need for a transition in many of our churches where full time salaried clergy are no longer affordable
2. Promoting greater imagination in the ways in which we speak of Christ and act in the world as his agent.
This priority recognizes that in many ways we are simply not communicating with the world nor engaging in it in ways considered valuable.
3. Developing more francophone churches and respond better to the integration of immigrants into our communities
Historically, the development of a francophone church has been problematic. I believe that the present context opens up new possibilities.
4. Restructuring the institution.
This priority recognizes that the diocesan and parish structures, need to be redesigned to serve a smaller community in a very different social context.
This vision has sustained my episcopal ministry in Quebec. We have restructured our administration and ministries, enhanced support for Francophone communities, renewed and strengthened ecumenical partnerships, expanded work with young people and responded to the Crisis of Creation by increasingly becoming a “Green Church”.
We have also brought order and stability to our financial affairs by balancing the budget of Church Society and doubling our shared investments with the parishes. Our stronger financial situation has been guided by the step by step implementation of ethical investment guidelines.
I believe that by building upon the strengths of our two dioceses we will be better equipped to evangelize, to care for the people in our communities and our province, and to contribute to solutions for a sustainable future of all of God’s creation.