Greg Lane is the lay pastoral care coordinator at St. Philip, Etobicoke, coordinating and helping to train a team of eight lay pastoral care members in the parish.
My responsibilities include coordinating visits within the parish, visiting, organizing meetings, providing some training and ensuring that our team members meet the diocese’s Screening in Faith requirements. I also coordinate with the incumbent on pastoral care team matters, lead prayer at meetings, and assist any team member with their own pastoral needs.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been working on coordinating telephone visits for all parishioners who are not able to connect to church through the Internet or otherwise. We have ongoing telephone visits with persons and families and have helped them with pastoral concerns and staying connected to the parish. I am excited about the new training that will be offered by the diocese in the future for lay pastoral care, as this will lead to high quality pastoral care.
The best part of my ministry is working with people, both those we visit and my fellow lay pastoral care team members. I find it very rewarding to be able to offer coordination, support and care to those in need, and to our team members as well. The worst part is paperwork. There can be a lot of paper to organize, and keeping track of it all can be a challenge at times.
I was born and raised in Weston, a part of Toronto, and have lived in this area all of my life. Before taking up this position, I had several roles such as a paramedic and an artist. I have a certificate in ambulance and emergency care from Humber College as well as an Hon. BA. in Fine Art from the University of Guelph. Today I am working at completing my Masters of Pastoral Studies at Emmanuel College, which is part of the University of Toronto School of Theology. My goal is to be employed as a spiritual care provider in an institutional setting.
My spiritual journey began as a teenager when I accepted Christ into my life in an evangelical United Church setting. Eventually, I found that this expression of faith did not work for me, and today I am developing a contemplative, sacramental and incarnational faith. My faith journey has taken many turns, but today I practise centering prayer, lectio divina, and the examen as my main spiritual practices to develop a deeper relationship with God, others and the world. I also have taken part in the rich Anglican liturgical traditions of worship on Sundays as well as other occasions by participating in roles such as server, crucifer, chalice bearer, intercessor and lay anointer for healing services.
I am not exactly sure where I will be in five years. However, I am being considered as a candidate for the diaconate and, if I am able, would like to serve the parish in the role of a deacon. Professionally, I hope to be working in a hospital or longterm care setting as a spiritual care provider. I hope to be able to combine my professional development and interest along with diaconal ministry to provide care for those in need or who need support for social justice. However, I am open to where the Holy Spirit leads me and do not see this as all set in stone. It comes down to what God really needs and wants me to do, and that is why I am in a discernment process at this time. The most important thing for me in this process is to be gentle and open and self-compassionate about the journey.
My favourite passage from scripture is John 13:1-17, Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. This is my favourite passage and image because it reminds me of what I am to do in my ministry – to serve others with care, empathy, compassion, to bring about peace, wholeness, and justice. This reminds me that my calling is to be a servant and follow the way of Christ as he demonstrates here to the disciples. Servanthood is a challenging role but a rewarding one that needs some wisdom and the willingness to wash feet. The humbleness and love of Jesus is hard to match, and yet I am called to emulate it as best I can in my life, knowing that I will not always get it right, but that is okay, as God is all about unconditional love for us.