By Stuart Mann
For the second year in a row, more than 400 people tuned in to watch the Bishop’s Company Cabaret. The event, held virtually on Oct. 15, raised over $80,000 for clergy and their families in need of financial assistance and scholarships for theological education.
The Rev. Jesse Parker, incumbent of St. John the Evangelist, Port Hope, was the MC for the evening, and the program included a welcome from Bishop Andrew Asbil, a moderated conversation between bishops Riscylla Shaw and Kevin Robertson, and performances by a dozen individuals and groups from across the diocese.
Performers included Georgina Bird, Laverne Malcolm and the Rev. Leigh Kern, who sang songs to honour those who never returned from the Indian Residential Schools; Valentin Bogolubov, a pianist who is the organist and choir director at Christ Church, Stouffville; Isaak Bonk, a folk singer and TTC busker; the choir of Holy Family, Heart Lake, Brampton; Rachel Colman, a musician who brings pieces of liturgy and scripture to life in meditative song; John Deacon, a singer and long-time volunteer at All Saints Church-Community Centre; the Rev. Stephanie Douglas-Bowman, who played the violin for Scottish dancers; tenor Chris Fischer; Roger Gibbs, a singer, guitarist and recording artist who composes, arranges and performs Caribbean acoustic and calypso with his band Shak Shak; Gordon Ratcliffe, a flutist who performs frequently at St. Dunstan of Canterbury in Scarborough; the Thomas Trinity Band, an ensemble of musicians from Anglican churches in the Barrie area; and Water Guns N’ Daisies, a band comprising 10 youth, ages 12-17, from Markham and Durham, who play rock, jazz and pop.
In a wide-ranging discussion that was moderated by Judy Maddren, a distinguished radio announcer and host and co-owner of Soundportraits, Bishop Shaw and Bishop Robertson, who are the diocese’s suffragan bishops, talked about when they felt called to ordained ministry; what “takes courage” in their work as bishops; how they manage to juggle all their tasks and live a balanced life; how COVID-19 has impacted them; how funds raised by the Bishop’s Company help clergy; and how they know that God is present. The bishops also answered a series of quick questions that further illuminated their thoughts and work.
As the evening drew to a close, Bishop Asbil thanked all those who made the event possible and those watching. “As you can see, we have much in the way of diversity and musical interests. It’s my hope that this evening has brought you joy and encouragement. While we are unable to be together in person, we can nonetheless gather, celebrate and give to an important diocesan ministry.”
The cabaret can be watched on the diocese’s website, www.toronto.anglican.ca.