REGINA — The Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle and the Regina Roman Catholic Archdiocese in January 2011 signed a historic covenant that committed both dioceses and their parishes to work and worship more closely. In the almost six years since, much has been accomplished toward that goal, but as a 2015 Advent Newsletter put out by the Covenant Implementation Committee points out, not all parishes are on board.
In a joint letter preceding the newsletter, committee co-chairs Anglican Canon Michael Jackson and Susan Klein of the Regina archdiocese note accomplishments the covenant has achieved but also suggest there are some parishes “that don’t show the same enthusiasm” as the two dioceses have shown in their joint activities.
“We are seeking ways to address these issues,” the co-chairs said.
The accomplishments the newsletter highlights include annual joint services alternating between St. Paul’s Cathedral and Holy Rosary Cathedral in Regina, and in 2015 for the first time the two hosted a First Nations Ministry workshop with presentations from both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal individuals who work in First Nations ministry. More than 50 people attended the workshop held in St. Paul’s Cathedral.
One of the clear objectives of the Covenant is personified in the examples of St. Cecilia Roman Catholic Church and St. James the Apostle Anglican Church described in the newsletter. The two churches are about a block apart in Regina and have held joint services during Advent.
“We started last year and did the same this year,” said St. Cecilia pastor Rev. John Weckend in an interview with the PM. “We average between 30-40 people, with the largest group at our Blue Christmas which we hosted this year on the last Sunday in Advent.”
Blue Christmas is for people who have lost loved ones in the past year. “It seems to resonate with people at this time of year,” said Weckend.
In 2014 the alternate services had Weckend celebrating a Catholic prayer service with the St. Cecilia choir in St. John the Apostle Anglican Church and Archdeacon Malcolm French, Pastor of St. John the Baptist Church, celebrating a vespers service in St. Cecilia’s.
“This year it’s more of a combination of the two,” said Weckend.
“In doing things like this it makes the covenant live itself out,” French told the PM.
The newsletter also described several joint activities of other Anglican and Roman Catholic parishes in Regina as well as in Kenaston, Davidson, Swift Current and Qu’Appelle.
The Roman Catholic diaconate program had Jackson address the first deacon candidates and their spouses in 2014 and this year Archdeacon Catherine Harper addressed the group. Dr. Brent Salkeld, Archdiocesan Theologian and director of the diaconate program in return gave what the newsletter describes as a “stimulating address” to the Anglican deacons in May 2015.