The episcopal area of York-Credit Valley, located on the western side of the diocese, held a farewell party for Bishop Jenny Andison on Feb. 21. After serving as the area bishop of York-Credit Valley for the past four years, she has become the rector of St. Paul, Bloor Street. The online party featured music and tributes, some of which are printed below.
Chasing after the Kingdom of God first
When I think of you and your ministry amongst us, words like faithful, hard-working, tenacious, prayerful, imaginative, joyful, playful, problem-solver, champion, coach, teacher and pastor come to mind. You lead always with the spirit of possibility, you steer always into the future with hope and with a sense of “we can do this.” You have an incredible capacity to keep going, to keep encouraging, to keep it all together, to keep communities moving – especially the ones that struggle. You have an innate ability to never give up.
You have served as suffragan bishop incredibly well and most especially the area of York-Credit Valley. You have been a champion for youth, a voice of change as the diocese’s Diversity Officer and an advocate of coaching and excellence in ministry. It has been a joy to serve with you and the College of Bishops, to engage in weekly meetings that would last four hours and more, every week. You always brought your very best to those moments, engaging in the struggles, the conflicts and the opportunities. Deeper still, I have appreciated profoundly the times when we, as a whole College, have set our work in the context of prayer and mutual support. There are so many scripture passages that come to mind to describe how I have experienced you and your ministry with the College, and yet there’s not enough time to list them all. But today, what comes to mind for me is Matthew 6:33: “But strive first for the kingdom of God in God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Bishop Jenny, it has been my experience that in all things, in all matters, you’ve strived to chase after the Kingdom of God first, trusting that everything else and all things will fall into place, that in Jesus all manner of things will be well. It’s your openness to the call of the Kingdom of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit that has unfailingly led you and your life to ministry and now leads you to take up your appointment as the next rector of St. Paul’s, Bloor Street. It is such a critical and important ministry that will utilize all of your finest gifts. We will miss your presence at the College of Bishops, and we will miss your leadership and pastoral oversight of York-Credit Valley, but we rejoice that you will continue to exercise ministry in this diocese and exercise your episcopal ministry in a whole new way at the helm of St. Paul’s. Thank you, Bishop Jenny.
Bishop Andrew Asbil,
Bishop of Toronto
Passionate about discipleship and evangelism
Our time together has been too short, Bishop Jenny. As I’ve been thinking over the last four years, I remember as if it were yesterday our first meeting at Pearson Airport on our way to the Community of the Transfiguration for our pre-consecration retreat, along with Bishop Kevin and Bishop Riscylla. What a rich, deep time of preparation that was for our consecration and entry into episcopal life. I remember the conference for new bishops at Canterbury Cathedral, where we formed friendships with our colleagues from around the Communion and the new learning that enabled us to step into our roles more fully. I hope the friendships that you have formed will remain with you in the years to come.
Bishop Jenny, the thing you were always most passionate about was discipleship and evangelism – or telling the good story in a good way and forming good relationships along the good road. You formed relationships in York Credit-Valley quickly and connected gracefully with God’s faithful people. I have loved seeing your regular Sunday posts on Facebook of all your parish visits. It has been a pleasure to share in ministry with you, and today I bring you the love and affection of your friends and colleagues from the Ontario House of Bishops, who wish you every happiness for a long and fruitful ministry at St. Paul’s, Bloor Street. We also want to express our gratitude to your family for their daily love and support of you. You are a beautiful family and we wish you well together.
Bishop Jenny, as you know, my predecessor in the Diocese of Moosonee, Bishop Robert John Renison, also served as rector of St. Paul’s, Bloor Street. In his memoir, One Day at a Time, as he prepared to leave St. Paul’s, he wrote of his philosophy: “When we are young, we think that life is a straight line. But as we grow older, we discover that it is a circle. The end crowds on the present and the end of the trail is where we began. I have come to feel that not only is there a plan and purpose in life, but that God cares for each one of us.”
God has revealed God’s plan for the next part of your life, Bishop Jenny, as you discern God’s call to step out in faith and return to parish ministry. God’s love is with you now as you go and will be with God’s people in York-Credit Valley when you leave. God bless you all.
Archbishop Anne Germond,
Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario
She held our hands through trying times
On behalf of the Ghanaian Anglican Church, I want to say thank you, Bishop Jenny. I was new in Canada and the bishop became a new suffragan bishop and yet she held our hands through trying times. Bishop Jenny took us from a place of uncertainty to a very hospitable place. Moving us from the former St. David’s church into St. Matthias, recreating a new community and finding ourselves again. I would like to say thank you. Your desire to see things worked.
The Rev. Kenneth Korsah,
Priest-in-Charge, St. Joseph African Anglican Church in Toronto and Brampton
A visionary leader who sees a thriving future for the Church
In Proverbs 29:18, it states, “without a vision the people perish.” That brief scripture is what comes to mind when I reflect on the leadership of Bishop Jenny Andison. She is a visionary leader who sees a thriving future for the Church and she shares it with enthusiasm. In addition to vision, there is need for imagination, wisdom and courage. And of course, you are only a leader if others are prepared to join you on the journey. Jenny takes risks for the right reasons.
I experienced all of this in Jenny’s initiative to encourage new opportunities in a number of churches in North Peel. Jenny encouraged us to be creative and offer some resources that would assist churches to tackle new opportunities or provide more resource for programs that are already working well and could be expanded.
Bishop Jenny has spent time with individual churches, preaching, engaging with the incumbents, meeting with the wardens and other lay leaders. At the same time, during her visits she was generous with her time to meet with parishioners and engage with them on issues of concern.
At Trinity, Streetsville, we began our search for a new incumbent just as COVID-19 appeared and made life very complicated. Bishop Jenny was right at hand to guide us through the complexities of recruiting during the pandemic. Her counsel lifted our spirits whenever the obstacles seemed to be taking over. We are so thankful for our new incumbent, Rob Hurkmans. Thank you, Jenny.
The bishop has inspired and taught us that the gospel calls for faith in Jesus Christ as well to pursue justice and love for neighbour. Her big-tent approach invites us to find the essentials that will draw us together and create synergies that focus on a Christianity that is inviting, challenging and Christ centered.
Bishop Jenny, on behalf of so many I express our deep appreciation for your leadership and example while at the same time wishing you all the success in your new appointment at St. Paul’s, Bloor Street. God bless you.
Churchwarden at Trinity, Streetsville and former president and CEO of World Vision Canada
Faithfulness sparked life and hope
On behalf of the leadership team, I want to thank you for your support and leadership and energy in the work of the gospel. Your example of faithfulness in your episcopacy in the mundane trivialities of day-to-day leadership, in the significant responsibilities that you have borne on behalf of the faithful of York-Credit Valley and in all of the in-between stuff, has sparked life and hope and energy and vitality and vision among the churches entrusted to your care. For that we are grateful.
The level of energy you’ve exerted in your episcopacy has been significant and a delight to be a part of, and we the Church are better for it. Your example of hard labour for the gospel every day is one which has inspired and attracted both clergy and laity of the area because it’s firmly rooted in and responsive to the truth that God is faithful, as you’ve reminded us over and over again. Your ministry among us has been winsome, clear-eyed, strategic and evangelical in the very best sense of that word.
This area which you have served holds a wide breadth of traditions and cultures and you’ve lived into them with humility and deep care, with joy and gladness, always directing us and re-directing us to Jesus. I know I speak on behalf of (regional deans) Chris, Susan, Philip and the whole team, God has blessed York-Credit Valley with a wonderful gift in your ministry and leadership that will continue to bless God’s people here in this place and time, and in the times to come.
The Rev. Patrick McManus,
Incumbent, All Saints, Kingsway and regional dean of Etobicoke-Humber Deanery
My heart is very full
This has been such a treat. My heart is very full. Thank you so very much. I’m particularly grateful that you’ve made this primarily a time to worship Almighty God together – not about me, about God and God’s faithfulness.
Yesterday I began putting away all my chasubles. As I put them away, I did begin to cry. I turned to my daughters and said, “Girls, Christianity is not for sissies. God inevitably asks you to do hard things.” And I didn’t mean putting away the chasubles.
Saying goodbye to you is a hard thing. I love serving as a bishop – it’s a joy. I’ve loved serving as your bishop. I move on trying to be faithful to the call of the untamable Jesus, with a treasure trove of wonderful memories, some of them that have just been created – memories of all of you, memories of how God is using each of you to bring glory to his name and extend His kingdom across our city.
I want to thank you for the singular privilege of serving alongside you for the past four years. Thank you for your prayers for me and encouragement of my episcopal ministry. Please know that I will be praying for bishops Andrew, Riscylla and Kevin as they lead you forward in this new season of ministry.
“The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you, the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. And the blessing of God almighty – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – be upon you and remain with you this day and forever more. Amen.”
Bishop Jenny Andison