Dinner brings Anglicans together

Group photo of people from Christ Church, Deer Park.
A group from Christ Church, Deer Park.
 on November 29, 2023
Blindspot Media

Sold out event raises funds for clergy in need

Bishop Andrew Asbil summed up the mood of the crowd as he addressed the first in-person Bishop’s Company Dinner since 2019. “How wonderful it is to be all together in this room and hear Anglicans chatting and catching up and meeting for the first time,” he said.

The dinner, held Oct. 20 at the Marriott hotel in downtown Toronto, was sold out, with 405 people coming from around the diocese to socialize, enjoy a delicious meal and listen to the music of jazz guitarist Nathan Hiltz. Blake Goldring, ODT, was the guest speaker and the Rev. Roshni Jayawardena, incumbent of St. Peter, Erindale, was the MC.

The annual dinner raises funds for clergy and their families in need and to provide bursaries for theological education. This year’s event raised more than $170,000.

Mr. Goldring, a member of St. Clement, Eglinton and the executive chairman of AGF Management Limited, gave a humorous and inspiring account of how his faith has influenced his personal and professional life.

“It provides me with the resilience, clarity and strength needed to overcome life’s challenges,” he said. “It helps me persevere in the face of adversity, find the clarity to make wise decisions – though my wife may not agree – and conditioned me to treat others with kindness, compassion and empathy.”

He said he practices servant leadership, a philosophy in which the goal of the leader is to serve others, prioritizing their growth and well-being. “Perhaps the very best example of servant leadership is Jesus. In Mark 10:45 he said, ‘For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’ As we all know, he certainly practiced what he preached. His example and his teaching influenced me from an early age, and they continue to guide me to this day, helping fuel my business success and inspiring me to make a meaningful impact on our society.”

Mr. Goldring has given back to the community in many ways. With his wife Belinda, he funded the development of Sunnybrook hospital’s first hybrid operating room, which opened last year. In 2006, he founded Canada Company, a charity that provides support for members of the military, veterans and their families. He also provided funding for the Anglican Military Ordinariate, a ministry to Anglicans in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Mr. Goldring has financially supported the Bishop’s Company over the years and encouraged others to do so as well. “Our clergy serve as the Church’s front line. Think about COVID-19 and what they did for us through that dark time – the impact they had. They brought comfort, they provided succor, they made sure to address the spiritual needs of our community. But we mustn’t forget that they are also from our community, and they too have needs. I hope that all of us can find it in our hearts to open up our wallets and help ensure that our spiritual leaders get all the support they need and deserve as they carry out their important work in the service of others.”

After Mr. Goldring’s speech, Bishop Asbil spoke about how important the Bishop’s Company is to him. “When we get calls from our clergy colleagues with real life crises, there are moments when the first thing I do is tap my heart, knowing the hurt the family is going through, but by golly, the ability to be able to help financially is such a gift,” he said.

The evening included a tribute to the late Bishop Michael Bedford-Jones, a retired bishop of the diocese who died of COVID-19-related complications in 2021. “What an amazing gift Michael was to us,” said Archbishop Colin Johnson in his tribute. He described Bishop Bedford-Jones as a gifted teacher and mentor. “We saw in him authentic Christian spirituality. He loved the Church and what it could be. His faith was joyous.”

Sponsors of the evening included a generous benefactor who wished to remain anonymous, the Anglican Diocese of Toronto Foundation, AGF, Ecclesiastical, NHI Nursing and Homemakers Inc., Mr. Ken Hugessen and Ms. Jennifer Connelly, Turner and Porter, Blair Franklin, Fiera Capital, Miller Thomson, Northleaf and VPC Group Inc.


Keep on reading

Skip to content