A refreshing viewpoint, compared to the content of my last post:
Before the decision was announced, David Short, Rector of St. John’s Shaughnessy (and Canon of St. Andrew’s Cathedral Sydney), released a pastoral letter to the congregation at St. John’s.
“The way we respond is a God-given opportunity to bear witness to Christ. As those who are disciples of Jesus Christ, this is not just about ‘what’ we do but also ‘how’ we do it. In some ways nothing will change with the decision on Thursday. We are still God’s family, and he has placed us in Vancouver to spread his glory.”
I am writing to let you know that this Thursday we will receive the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision on our Leave to Appeal Application. We have been in this unprecedented process for nearly 10 years, and this is the next step toward clarity about our future. I thank God for you and for our unity together in the gospel, and ask you to pray that God would bring glory to his own name through the unfolding events.
If the Supreme Court of Canada does not grant us Leave to Appeal, we will meet at the Church at 7:30 PM Thursday evening to pray together. This will mark the end of the Legal process for us.
From a practical point of view, a number of parallel processes will then be initiated.
We will have further discussions with the Diocese of New Westminster to secure an orderly transition. We will continue to develop our ‘Plan B’ options. Currently we are exploring and pursuing two different opportunities. We will begin preparing to move our ministries and with all the practical and physical tasks that requires. We have been working on this for a number of months and are prepared, but it will require some ‘extra hands’ to make the work light. We will continue to glorify God with all our hearts, to preach his gospel, to love one another and to pray, because nothing has changed concerning the mission or Lordship of Christ.
If we are granted Leave to Appeal, our Lawyers will begin working on the documents for the Trial. Currently the Supreme Court of Canada is scheduling hearings in the first quarter of 2012. It will then be another 6-8 months before we have a decision, likely late 2012 or early 2013.
Regardless of the decision on Thursday, the way we respond is a God-given opportunity to bear witness to Christ. As those who are disciples of Jesus Christ, this is not just about ‘what’ we do but also ‘how’ we do it. In some ways nothing will change with the decision on Thursday. We are still God’s family, and he has placed us in Vancouver to spread his glory. We are in an uncomfortable place and the words of Romans 12 encourage us to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
I thank God for sustaining and guiding us this far as a family, in partnership with our extended family of St. Matthews Abbotsford, the Church of the Good Shepherd, and St. Mathias & St. Luke. I do not know of many churches that have had the privilege of being so purposefully shaped and transformed by the Holy Spirit in such unusual circumstances; and I am constantly grateful to be a member of St. John’s, praying and expecting to see how God will use this for his own glory.
David Short, Rector
St. John’s Vancouver