Rev. Gail Williams (Rector) and Rev. Jennifer Rumbolt (Deacon)
Easter Week in Labrador April 28, 2019
In the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches, the Easter Triduum is a period of three Holy Days beginning on Maundy Thursday, continuing through Good Friday and Holy Saturday, before climaxing with the celebration of our Lord’s Resurrection at the Easter Vigil. As the holiest part of the Christian Year, the Easter Triduum remembers and celebrates the Passion, Death, Burial, and Resurrection of our Lord. Most clergy are pretty tired by the time the Triduum ends because of their great responsibilities throughout Lent and especially during Holy Week. Many clergy take time off in the days that follow Easter. Some of us, on the other hand, head to Labrador! This year Easter has been extended for me in a wonderful way in the Big Land!
On Easter Sunday, after presiding and preaching twice at our Cathedral in St. John’s, I headed home to pack up for Labrador. During the week that followed I conducted services and visited communities along the Coast of Labrador, presiding at Confirmation in Mary’s Harbour, Pinsent’s Arm, and Cartwright. I think I’ve had Labrador Bakeapples every day! At Mary’s Harbour it was great to also visit the Harbourview Manor for a time of Prayer and Praise. At Cartwright the Confirmation Class even took me snowmobiling for a “Boil-Up” across the bay! If you want to see those photos just check out our diocesan Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/AnglicanEastNL/
My traveling companions have been the Reverend Gail Williams, who is based at Cartwright but has responsibilities for the entire Parish of Southeast Labrador, and the Reverend (Deacon) Jennifer Rumbolt who lives in Mary’s Harbour and has responsibilities in the southern part of that parish. Oversight for the Archdeaconry of Labrador lies with the Territorial Archdeacon, The Venerable Julie Brace. Reverends Gail and Jennifer, along with some of the finest Lay Leadership anywhere in our church, ensure that there is ongoing pastoral care and (in most cases) public worship in the communities of Lodge Bay, Mary’s Harbour, Port Hope Simpson, St. Lewis, Pinsent’s Arm, Charlottetown, Norman Bay, Paradise River, and Cartwright. You can easily cover 1000 kilometers in a visit to all these places and everyone is to be commended for their faithfulness and dedication. The history of the Anglican Church in Newfoundland and Labrador is very much a history of local people taking responsibility for their church, and that responsibility and care continues at a very high-level in Labrador today. I cannot imagine another place in all of Creation as beautiful as Labrador, and I really believe there are no finer people than the People of Labrador.
Weather permitting (for one is always at the mercy of nature in Labrador) I will get back to Newfoundland by Tuesday. My spring visit to Labrador was planned and scheduled in 2018 before some things changed around at Queen’s College this week. The College wanted to honor our Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, but had to work with his schedule and so Convocation was moved earlier in the week than originally planned. When I heard that the Primate would be here for Sunday in St. John’s, I thought it appropriate for him to preach at the ordination of the Reverend Neil Coffin in Mount Pearl, who is being ordained by his brother, Archbishop Percy Coffin. Because of my previous schedule putting me in Cartwright today I could not be present for the ordination and will also miss some events at Queen’s College this week, however, I do intend to be at the Convocation itself as Chancellor. I wish the brand-new Reverend Neil Coffin every blessing on his day of ordination!
Somebody recently described our Diocese as containing “many moving parts” these days because of all the changes and adjustments that are happening. Certainly, those changes and adjustments have been underway for some time now, however, following our Diocesan Synod last November they have accelerated. By the time I get back to Synod Office this week, Archdeacon Samuel Rose will be on sabbatical, and Archdeacon Charlene Taylor will be the Acting Executive Officer for the next three months. But the changes don’t stop there: because Archdeacon Gregory Mercer will also assume his new role as Mission Archdeacon in the Diocese on May 1. I remain very hopeful for positive developments as we move forward, and wherever I find myself, from the Coast of Labrador to downtown St. John’s, I see people and parishes embracing a different way of being the church today. The real treasures of our church are people, and our church is filled with people of faith and courage.
In the weeks ahead, as spring gives way to summer, I have about thirty more visits to parishes ahead of me along with other kinds of public events, plus many times that number of private events and meetings. I look forward to seeing as many of you as us possible and I think everyone for their continued support and dedication to God’s church. As I seem to keep saying, I really do believe that it is not the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador that has a Mission, is it God’s Mission that has a Church in AnglicanEastNL!