Gary Thorne in Egypt

Father Gary Thorne, Chaplain at the University of King’s College, Halifax Nova Scotia is a friend of our Diocese.  He went on a trip to Egypt as the Anglican Foundation’s Saint Basil the Great Scholar to learn about the Orthodox Coptic Oriental Church and experience life as a Coptic monk.


Mr. Thorne asked if the Diocese could provide him with gifts of beadwork for the people he would meet on his trip.  We put together a package for Gary with beadwork crosses, bookmarks and other items made by Maggie Charles and Liza Halkett from our Diocese and some crosses made by the women in Kingfisher Lake in the Diocese of Mishamikoweesh in northern Ontario.


As he gave the gifts of the beaded cross, he talked about the wonderful spiritual life of our Indigenous Peoples.   He was struck by the ways that the Indigenous Peoples of the ACC and the Copts seem to share a common approach to the Christian faith: by the direct way they read the Bible as the Word of God and a guidebook to Christian living; by the way the First Nations people do not simply reject their indigenous spiritual heritage but continue to value it as revealed, akin to the Copts who see themselves as proud descendants of the Pharonic culture and who consciously and unapologetically incorporate the ancient religion of this land of the Pharaohs into their Christianity; and finally (for now!) how like the Indigenous Peoples of Canada, the Copts consider dreams and visions to be conveyers of spiritual truth.


He began his trip at the Monastery of Saint Macarius which was a perfect introduction to the Copts.  The Copts are an ethno-religious group situated in North Africa and the Middle East, mainly in the area of modern Egypt, where they are the largest Christian denomination, but also in Sudan where they are the largest Christian denomination, and Libya where they are the largest Christian denomination.

 In 1969  Matta El-Meskeen and his disciples were invited to take over the Monastery of Saint Macarius that was in ruins with only several very elderly and discouraged monks.   Matta El-Meskeen is the one who has revived Coptic monasticism (there are now 140 monks at Saint Macarius and each year many more young people seek to enter the monastery than the monastery can accept).   Matta El-Meskeen is recognized as responsible for the renewal of Coptic spirituality and the attraction of young people to the Coptic faith both in Egypt and throughout the diaspora ( including Canada).


As a guest at the Monastery Fr. Thorne attended all the worship of prayer, praise and liturgy and spent the rest of his time mostly in his cell. It is expected. They bring your meals and leave them outside the door of the cell so prayer and contemplation need not be broken and meals are taken alone in the cell.   The Coptic Church is so dependent upon this monastic tradition -  all bishops are chosen from among monks.     It is impossible to understand monasticism from the outside.  When they say that prayer is the foundation and the anchor for the church, they really mean it.


Before he left Canada one of Gary’s closest colleagues asked earnestly (on two different occasions) that if he chanced to meet Father Lazarus that he ask for prayers for him. His friend informed him that Father Lazarus lived as a solitary in a cave above Saint Anthony’s monastery.  He is likely the most well-known ‘anchorite’ in the world today.   Born in Australia, Father Lazarus was a university lecturer and what he called an ‘aggressive atheist.’ The story of his conversion from atheism to his ending up as an anchorite on Mount Colzim has been told many times in print and on video.


Fr. Thorne felt he would not want to disturb a true solitary but upon asking a young monk assigned to assist him if he had any advice about how best to spend his time in Egypt the monk told him “Go to Saint Anthony’s and see Father Lazarus”, the monk said, “That is something I dearly wished I had done before I took my profession here.” (Once ordained, monks generally do not leave their monastery except to receive necessary medical treatment).


He decided he would go to St. Anthony’s.  Upon his arrival at St. Anthony’s he learned that Fr. Lazarus would be celebrating the Liturgy at 11:30 pm that night at a small chapel that is up the mountain halfway to St. Anthony’s cave. There are so many pilgrims that seek him out during the day that this is his only opportunity to pray the Liturgy. The following is an excerpt from Fr. Thorne’s blog.

“The sky is dripping with stars. I wait for a few minutes for my night vision to reveal the path before taking my first step – tonight I want to be guided by the stars, embraced by the silence, and clothed with “the darkness which is God.” I shall not use a flashlight unless absolutely necessary. I begin my climb in a slow steady rhythm as I recite the Jesus prayer. It turns out that the climb is not as difficult as I was told, and I will reach the Church in less than twenty minutes, but I did not know this.  Alone, yet not alone: I feel blessed in every way, at one

with my God, and ecstatic with gratefulness. After ten minutes I meet one boy on his descent (the monastery has a full youth programme on the go).  Because I am not using a flashlight he assumes that I do not have one, and he insists that I take his extra flashlight. Of course I have my iPhone, and a flashlight as well, so I try politely yet firmly to decline his offer. In the end he is so insistent that I take it. I turn it on, stand still, and wait for him to disappear down the trail before turning his flashlight off and continuing my climb. I hope I do not run into more such good Samaritans or else I will end up with a pocket-full of flashlights before church! But I meet no-one else”


I hope we can convince Fr. Thorne to visit our Diocese to tell us first hand all about his adventure.



Dear friends,


FYI the new Diocesan Facebook page is up and running. It is a work in progress and I welcome your suggestions.


I encourage you to like and follow the page and to invite those in your congregations to do so as well. Please also post your parish events and photos to the timeline. The main purpose of the page is to improve communication within the Diocese. I will be posting the events from the Synod Office FYI to the Facebook page.


Finally, I'm hoping to have a rotation of photographs from throughout the Diocese for the banner at the top of the page, so please send me your best photos of your churches, events and landscapes.


Chris Dow


Parish of Birch Hills, Kinistino and Muskoday 








Suicide – Diocese of Saskatchewan


When you visit the Synod Office in the Diocese of Saskatchewan you will see an area in the corner of a large bulletin board that is edged in black and covered in funeral cards.  These cards are from the funerals of people who have committed suicide.  Whenever one of the clergy officiates at a funeral of a person who has taken their life they are asked to bring the card into the office to put on the bulletin board.  There are many cards there but they are only a small representation of the number of suicides committed every year. 

In Saskatchewan 138 suicides were reported in 2011 and 5% to 25% more unreported.  Suicide is the second highest cause of death.  There are 1,686,485 people with thoughts of suicide many of them high school age and aboriginal.

On January 15 and 16, 2015, the Diocese of Saskatchewan held an ASIST Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training workshop.  There were 24 people in attendance for the two day session.  Students learned the concepts of PAL (Pathway for Assisting Life).  The first step is to explore invitations by observing a person’s actions, words, emotions and physical well-being.  They are signs of distress that invite help, anything the person at risk says, does or makes you feel might be an invitation.  Accept the invitation, follow your intuition and explore the meaning of things you see and hear.  Next is to find a turning point (a reason to live) and to expand on this and follow through with a plan to keep the person safe from harming themselves.  Students participated in role play exercises with input from the instructor and other students.  This was an intense workshop that all students felt they benefited from.

On the first night a service was held in St. Alban’s Cathedral for the lighting of candles to remember victims of suicide and also for people who are thinking of suicide.  At the Diocesan Synod delegates were given small pictures of a lit candle and asked to “light” the candle in memory of someone who committed suicide.  These are the candles beside the funeral cards on the bulletin board.  Suicide is a serious health problem worldwide.  Any of us or someone we love could be at risk of suicide.   Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  No problem is so big that we cannot, with God’s help, find a solution and reach out to one another.






Arborfield – Church of the Good Shepherd

5:00 p.m. Christmas Eve (Bishop Hawkins)

Big River First Nation – Christ Church

7:00 p.m. Christmas Eve

Birch Hills – St. Mary’s

9:00 p.m. Christmas Eve

Christopher Lake – St. Christopher’s

7:00 p.m. Christmas Eve

Cumberland House – Church of the Good Shepherd

10:30 p.m. – Christmas Eve

Fort a la Corne

5:00 p.m. – St. Luke’s Christmas Eve

8:00 p.m. – St. Stephen’s – Christmas Eve

Grandmother’s Bay – St. Peter

10:00 p.m. – Christmas Eve

Hudson Bay – St. Patrick’s

4:30 p.m. Christmas Eve

John Smith (Muskoday)- St. James

11:00 p.m. Christmas Eve

LaRonge – All Saints

7:00 p.m. & 11:00 p.m. Christmas Eve

Leask – All Saints

7:00 p.m. – Christmas Eve (Bishop Arthurson)

Little Red Reserve

Midnight – Christmas Eve

MacDowall – St. Stephen

7:30 p.m. – Christmas Eve

Melfort – All Saints

7:30 p.m. – Christmas Eve

Montreal Lake – St. Joseph

10:30 p.m. – Christmas Eve (Bishop Adam)

Nipawin – St. John’s

7:00 p.m. – Christmas Eve (Bishop Michael)

Pelican Narrows – St. Bartholomew’s

10:30 p.m. – Christmas Eve

Prince Albert

St. Alban’s Cathedral

7:00 p.m. – Choral Communion – Christmas Eve

11:00 p.m. – Choral Communion – Christmas Eve

10:30 a.m.  Christmas Day H.C. (Bishop Hawkins)

St. David’s

8:00 p.m. – Christmas Eve

10:30 a.m. Christmas Day

St. George’s

9:30 p.m. – Christmas Eve

10:00 a.m. – Christmas Day

Sandy Lake – St. Simeon & St. Anna

10:30 p.m. – Christmas Eve

St. Louis – Emmanuel

4:30 p.m. – Carol Sing – 5:00 p.m. H.C. Christmas Eve


Shellbrook – St. Andrew’s

9:00 p.m. – Christmas Eve (Bishop Arthurson)

Stanley Mission – Holy Trinity

10:00 p.m. – Christmas Eve

Tisdale – St. Matthew’s

7:30 p.m. – Christmas Eve

Weyakwin – St. Michael & All Angels

7:00 p.m. – Christmas Eve





◊   The Synod started with the Eucharist and the Bishop’s Charge on Friday Evening. 

◊   A banquet was then served for all of the delegates and after the banquet the business of                                  

           Synod   began

◊    14 clergy delegates were in attendance out of a possible 23

◊    23 Lay delegates were in attendance out of a possible 56

◊    Nominations for members of various committees were received on Friday night


◊  On Saturday morning there was a Bible Study held at numbered tables where delegates

    gathered for Morning Prayer and a Bible Study.  Refreshments were available at

    each table.

◊  Throughout the Synod Canon Don Skinner and Amy Dow led the delegates in singing 


◊  Dr. Cam Harder spoke on Rural Ministry Saturday morning and told the synod that in all his  

travels and in all denominations he could  see that this Diocese  has made connections     with the Indigenous people and have really formed itself around the model of rural ministry that he is talking about. 

◊  Displays in the hall included a suicide display with funeral cards of people who committed

    suicide.  Small cards with a picture of a lit candle were available for delegates to “light a

    candle” in memory of someone they knew who had committed suicide.  There were about 20  

    candle cards put on the display

◊  Another display was of the students that the ACW and others sponsor at the Bishop

    McAllister College in Uganda. Friday’s collection of $600 went to the College.

◊  The  theme of the Synod was Disciplines of Disciples – Marks of Mission – delegates were

     asked to put down what their Parishes were doing regarding the theme.

◊  When the delegates register their picture is taken and the next day they get a picture of

     another delegate who they find and trade pictures.

◊  On Saturday evening Jeremy Boehr was ordained as a Deacon – his home parish,

    of Christopher Lake, and the Parishes of Nipawin and Arborfield put on a reception following

    the ordination.  The collection of $650 at the ordination will be sent to the PWRDF


◊  The following are the people voted to be on the various diocesan committees


 Clergy Delegates to General Synod

The Reverend Gethin Edward

The Reverend Chris Dow

 Lay Delegates to General Synod

Caron Hallen

John Rye

Youth Delegate to General Synod

Joshauna Haukenfrers


Clergy Delegates to Provincial Synod

The Very Reverend Kenneth Davis

The Reverend Richard Custer

The Reverend Patricia Martin

The Reverend Patricia Langlois

Lay Delegates to Provincial Synod

Carol Spencer

Eric Bear

Jane Parrott


Clergy to the Executive Committee

The Reverend Patricia Martin

The Reverend Wilfred Sanderson

The Reverend Chris Dow

Lay to the Executive Committee

Robert Hryniuk

Larry Brewster

Nancy Carruthers

Harry Kostiuk


Clergy to the Constitution and Canons Committee

The Reverend Patricia Langlois

The Reverend Gethin Edward

Lay to the Constitution and Canons Committee

Caron Hallen

Fred Payton

Ben Fiddler


Clergy to the Diocesan Court of Appeal

The Reverend Sam Halkett

The Reverend Morris McKenzie

Lay to the Diocesan Court of Appeal

Helen Steele

Gwenda Young

Ben Fiddler


Anyone is welcome to attend the synod and observe the proceedings

but only the elected synod delegate can vote.


FYI - November

Synod Office Hours


Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

9:00 a.m. – Noon         1:00 p.m.  4:00 p.m.

Closed Mondays and Fridays

Please leave a phone message


  mail can be dropped off in the mail box at the front door





(Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training)


Wednesday, January 15 and Thursday, January 16, 2015


The Diocese is offering an ASIST Workshop to help caregivers recognize risk and learn how to intervene to prevent the immediate risk of suicide. 

This is open to all members of the Diocese and aside from a refundable registration fee will be offered free of charge. 

There is a limit of 30 to be registered

 Please contact the Synod Office to reserve your spot.






  • Ø  Please pray for Doris Wideen-Bazley.  Her husband Ernest Roy Bazley died on Friday, October 24, 2014.  He was stepfather to



To Jeremy Boehr who was ordained to the Diaconate on Saturday,   October 18, 2014.  He will be serving the Parish of Nipawin and Arborfield.


Upcoming Events


  • Ø  October 30 – Post Synod arrangements meeting at noon
  • Ø  November 2 – Turkey Supper – Christopher Lake 4 – 6:30 pm
  • Ø  November 2 – St. Alban’s Fall Supper
  • Ø  November 15 – Workshop on Singing the Service of Morning Prayer –               St. Albans 10am – noon –

 register with Pat Langlois 306-752-5155 by Nov. 10

  • Ø  November 27 – Workshop on Protocol Training –                                        St. George’s, Prince Albert – 7:30 p.m.
  • Ø  November 29 – Cookie Walk at St. David’s 9:00 am pick up numbers

10:00 am Cookie Walk begins

  • Ø  December 4 – Executive Committee Meeting
  • Ø  December 13 – “A Country Christmas Concert and Sing-Along” at St. David’s  $15.00 for tickets call Carol 763-5204 –proceeds to the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign.






  • Ø   there are items for sale at the Synod Office (see attached poster)
  • Ø  Please see the Appendix M on Confidentiality from the Handbook of General Synod



Bishop Michael’s

November Schedule


  • Ø  November 2 – Hudson Bay
  • Ø  November 9 – Pelican Narrows
  • Ø  November 12-20 – C of N, National House of Bishops
  • Ø  November 23 – St. Albans
  • Ø  November 30 – Stanley Mission, Grandmother’s Bay
  • Ø  December 4 – Executive Committee meeting
  • Ø  December 7 – Leask Shellbrook
  • Ø  December 14 – Nipawin
  • Ø  December 21 – Ft. Pitt, Deer Creek



Bishop Adam’s

November Schedule


  • Ø  November 2 – Little Red
  • Ø  November 9 – Big River First Nation
  • Ø  November 15-20 – National House of Bishops
  • Ø  November 23 – Turtleford
  • Ø  November 30 – Hall Lake
  • Ø  December 4 – Executive Committee meeting
  • Ø  December 7 – Meadow Lake, Loon Lake
  • Ø  December 14 – Weyakwin
  • Ø  December 21 - LaRonge







Trinity XX Sermon by Bishop Michael Hawkins

I’ve been kicked out of quite a few joints! Sometimes I never even got in the door or to a seat, because I didn’t have a tie on, or a jacket, or a reservation. And while not bound hand and foot, more than once I’ve been made to leave in the middle of a meal, booted out of a fast-food joint for teenage behaviour. The days of dress codes seem all but gone. Semi-formal now means “no jeans,” not “black tie optional.” In many ways, this is liberating. We put less emphasis on dressing up for events, there is less pressure to conform to arbitrary standards, and in Church, especially, there is less stress on dress.

Click to read more ...



Indigenous Council Highlights

  • Ø  Letters will be sent to the Parishes regarding funding for the position of  Indigenous Bishop
  • Ø  The Council will be sending letters to the Chiefs asking for support for the Indigenous Bishop
  • Ø  An invitation to meet with the Council will be sent to SIGA and NLCDC


  • Ø   Gilbert Flett of Shoal Lake brother to the Rev. Rita Nawakayas died on July 12th after a long illness.
  • Ø  Allen Bear husband of Josephine Halkett-Bear (a member of the Order of Saskatchewan) died on July 19.
  • Ø  Even though some time has passed your prayers would still be appreciated.


  • Ø   Mr. Jeremy Boehr has been appointed as a full time stipendiary student in the Parish of Nipawin and Arborfield effective September 15, 2014.  Jeremy and his wife Jane will be living in the Rectory in Nipawin.
  • Ø  Pastor Brock Shaver, United Minister, will be serving the Partners in Faith congregation in Spiritwood.
  • Ø  Amy Dow has been appointed as a Catechist in the Diocese of Saskatchewan.  Kathryn Hawkins is also a Catechist in the Diocese.

Please Note

  • Ø   We still need an ACW to cater coffee breaks for the afternoon on Friday and Saturday for the Diocesan Synod.    Please let the Synod Office know if you are interested.  We will pay $200 for each break.
  • Ø  Library Books – Forest Prairie Edge  (Place History in Saskatchewan) author Merle Massie,  is a new acquisition in the resource centre  you can borrow.


  • Ø   

Resources for the Cree translations of the Doxology and Amazing Grace

These recordings will help those trying to pronounce the Cree translations of the Doxology (tr. Archdeacon John Mackay) and Amazing Grace (tr. the Reverend James Settee).  Thanks to Deacon Sam Halkett for his voice. 


The Doxology

Amazing Grace 




Bishop John Inge on Assisted Dying.

My wife knew she was dying – but she chose life   Read the article