By Rev. Kristen Aikman
In February of 2015, I invited Rev. Canon Dr. Judy Rois, the Executive Director of the Anglican Foundation to come and address our deanery council and introduce the Foundation’s ministry to us.
Canon Judy was so open and proud of the work the Foundation does. She spoke passionately about the fantastic projects that have been funded by the generosity of Anglicans across the country.
There were only a couple in the room who had ever heard of their ministry, making it one of the best kept secrets in the Anglican Church of Canada.
After the presentation, Deanery Council proposed a motion that the deanery become a contributing member and encourage all parishes in Lambton to offer a donation to the Foundation in their annual budgets. This motion was unanimously passed. That night, I had no idea that I would someday count myself among those fortunate to receiving their funding.
In 2015 the Diocese invited Rev. Bill Brosend from the Episcopal Preaching Foundation (and head of the Advanced Degree programme in Preaching at Sewanee) to offer a preaching workshop for clergy. About 30 of us gathered in Niagara Falls to listen and learn and preach in front of our colleagues.
That first evening in conversation with our speaker and my bishop a whirlwind month of paperwork, applications, funding requests and VISA applications began. Five weeks later I found myself standing in the lobby of the faculty of theology on the campus of the University of the South, in Sewanee Tennessee, beginning a D.Min in Preaching.
I have been able to study with some of the best preachers and scholars in the communion, and can’t believe how lucky I am to have this opportunity. Learning from Amy-Jill Levine and Rev. Martin Smith and, this summer, Lauren Winner and Tom Long will offer their wisdom. My inner preaching geek is really looking forward to classes in June!
I’ve noticed a shift in my preaching skills since beginning these studies. I’m more confident in ability to tell stories, and weave the gospel narrative into something that more fully answers the homiletical question “What does the Holy Spirit want the people of God to hear from these texts in this time”.
Without the funding assistance of the Anglican Foundation, and the support of my bishop, I wouldn’t be able to afford to do this and bring the gifts they teach me back to my parish. I am grateful for all the support I have received and for the generous donors who make the foundations ministry possible.
Rev. Kristen Aikman is the Regional Dean of Lambton.