This Week: When Clergy Leave

In his Annual Report, our priest, Brian Pearson, announced his intention to retire on March 1, 2019. We are planning opportunities to say goodbye closer to the time; but meanwhile, people are asking how the parish prepares for the appointment of a new priest after Brian has gone.

The rules (called “canons”) governing the Anglican Diocese of Calgary describe the process this way: If the office of Incumbent becomes vacant, the Bishop shall consult with the Parish Council prior to appointing and licensing a new Incumbent. (Canon 8.3)

In practice, this means that, with the concurrence of Parish Council, the Churchwardens appoint a search committee, traditionally called a Parochial Committee, its membership representing a cross section of active church members. The Committee’s first task is to create a Parish Profile. This important document conveys the history and character of the parish, its sense of call in terms of ministry and mission, and the specific leadership qualities being sought in a new priest.

The Diocese then advertises the vacancy—locally, nationally, or even internationally—and the Parish Profile is made available to any clergy who express an interest in applying. Applications are made through the Bishop’s office, which then passes along the names of suitable candidates for the Parochial Committee to interview. If, in the view of the Committee, none of the candidates is suitable, a new list can be requested. When the Committee has found a suitable match, it asks the Bishop to appoint that person as the new Incumbent.

When a parish priest retires, especially if the incumbency has been a long one, church members are understandably anxious about what happens next. Last week we described the process whereby a new Incumbent is selected and appointed. This week we look at the timeline of that process.

Our present Incumbent, Brian Pearson, will retire on March 1, 2019. Over the next few months, with the concurrence of our Parish Council, our Churchwardens will appoint a search committee, called a Parochial Committee, to assist with the process. Their first task, going into the fall, will be to create a document called a Parish Profile that describes the congregation’s history and character. This will be made available to any clergy interested in applying.

After Brian has left, the vacancy will be advertised through the Bishop’s office, and applications received. In the interim the Bishop will make provision for clergy leadership and support. Usually this means that an interim priest is appointed by the Bishop to ensure continuity of worship, pastoral care, and administrative support. Every effort is made to honour the customs and practices of the parish, and not to introduce changes. We will be fortunate to have our deacon, Charmaine Evans, on hand to provide ongoing pastoral care and coordination of our programs.

The interim period between Brian’s departure and the appointment of a new Incumbent could reasonably  be expected to last six to nine months, that is, until September or December, 2019—long enough to prepare for our next chapter.


ISC: Quartets

As of the nineteenth century, the string quartet has been regarded as the supreme form of chamber music. Beginning with Beethoven, composers wrote string quartets to give expression to their most intimate and powerful personal feelings. This program features two great string quartets written by Beethoven and Shostakovich in the prime of their careers, and a brilliant work written by Calgary Philharmonic violist Arthur Bachmann.

One Voice Chorus Calgary: OUT LOUD! Singing Love, Community and Strength

On Saturday, April 14, One Voice Chorus will present Out Loud!, a concert that celebrates love, community, and strength. With music like David McIntyre’s “Myself” and Bernice Johnson Reagon’s “We are the Ones We Been Waiting For”, we celebrate the personal and community strength of those who find their own voices.


The King’s Own Calgary Regiment Band, under the leadership of Captain Natasha Mellish, returns to St. Stephen’s again this year, on April 14th after an extremely successful concert last year. You have enjoyed their music as the King’s Own Regiment marches to St. Stephen’s for St. George’s Day. Come and support this 35 member military band who will entertain you with band music new and old. Entrance to this excellent concert is by donation to the Veteran’s Food Bank or the Military Family support Services.

“This Week: “Live, at Steve’s Place” [April 15th, 2018]”

Music is the great liberator. It cuts across all boundaries—social, economic, race, age—as people gather to celebrate the common of bond of being, simply, music lovers … which is to say, humans!

But the rising cost of ticket prices for live shows, the content monopoly of commercial radio stations, and the rarefication of successful musical personalities—all these conspire to place music at a distance from where it belongs, that is, with the people!

Thankfully, in the modern age, the internet delivers to our ears new music from an almost infinite variety of sources, and house concerts bring musicians into our living rooms … literally.

On Friday, May 11, St. Stephen’s is offering our own house concert, “Live, at Steve’s Place”, featuring local musicians, home-baked desserts, coffee and tea creations, and a great opportunity to gather with friends.

Ticket sales will support the work of NeST, our refugee resettlement committee, and specifically, the Al Jbawi family, as we come to the end of the year of their sponsorship.

Among the performers will be our rector, Brian Pearson, who is launching his new album, “Let the Dogs Run Free”, and Laurie Johnston, a local singer.

Tickets will go on sale next week at church, on our web site, and through our Facebook page. So watch for details and plan to hang with the homies, live, at Steve’s. The people’s music: Keeping it real … and bringing it home.