Thursday, January 31, 2008

Canon Pastor Annoucement

Bishop Paul Marshall named Father Andrew Gerns, rector of Trinity Easton, Canon Pastor to the Bishop. Bishop Paul made the following announcement during the 25th anniversary celebration at Trinity Church (Sunday evening, January 27) of Canon Gerns’ ordination to priesthood.
From 1996 until his death in 2006, The Rev. Canon Fr. Bryan Williams served this diocese as Canon Pastor to the Bishop. His duties were to provide the pastoral care which any Christian would expect to receive, but which our church oddly neglects to provide for bishops, with particular attention to the maintenance of the spiritual health of the bishop through stated retreats and repeated checking in, even when such checking might be unwelcome. Alone among the clergy, the Canon Pastor to the Bishop has the right and duty to nag the bishop.

Together with the Reverend Laura Howell, who created, asked for, and functions well in the office of Foole to the Bishop, the Canon Pastor has the task of assisting the bishop in maintaining perspective, hope, and a sense that God always works the divine purpose out, despite or through our best planned efforts. I note that Mother Howell prefers the Title of Foole to that of Canon. She is, oddly, no fool.

I have waited nearly two years to replace Canon Williams for a number of personal and professional reasons, but the time has come, for my sake and yours, to fill his place.

I have the joy tonight, as we celebrate his twenty-fifth ordination anniversary, to appoint the rector of Trinity Easton to this office and responsibility, and he may and ought from this moment style himself The Reverend Canon Andrew Timothy Gerns. He will, of course, find himself called upon to explain to Roman Catholics that this is our version of Monsignor, and he will be for the most part right, but they will not believe him.

Canon Gerns has been chosen for many reasons. Chief of them are his outstanding record as a chaplain, his intuitive pastoral sense, and his utter inability to lie to his superiors—as far as we can tell. He is a capable communicator, a clear thinker, and is possessed by a zeal for Christ’s kingdom.

It is no secret that Canon Gerns and I have been acquainted for the best part of thirty years. In appointing him, as was the case with his predecessor, I appoint someone I cannot easily deceive about the state of my soul.

Some canonries are strictly honorary. Inasmuch as no stipend attaches to this canonry (except for the occasional lunch) and it is for life, it may be considered honorary. Inasmuch as Canon Gerns accepts with it a job that will require all of his cunning as I avoid taking care of myself through the ruse of the complexity of my calendar and my many ghostly preoccupations, he will need your prayers and so must be considered a working canon.

Nothing in the foregoing is or ought to be read as endorsement of or encouragement to any baseball or football team headquartered more than a Sabbath day’s journey (on foot) to the north or east of the Cross Bronx Expressway at its eastern-most point.

Given under my hand this twenty-seventh day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand and eight.

Bethlehem VIII

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