Welcome to this conference on the diaconate, jointly sponsored by the Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina. Our dioceses have been in a covenant relationship for over seven years now, built on significant common elements of faith, a longstanding ecumenical friendship and partnership, and the Gospel call to witness to our faith together so that the world may believe. The covenant has been a source of encouragement to walk together wherever possible: engaging in joint prayer, common mission at the service of the world, and sharing in the work of forming missionary disciples.
This international conference is a new venture in our covenantal relationship, building on the fact that both our Churches have a threefold ministry including the diaconate, and that diaconal ministry is being explored in significant ways by both Churches, including our respective dioceses, at the present time. It is our conviction that we can learn from each other as we engage in dialogue about the diaconate, can learn from scholars of our own and of our dialogue partner’s tradition, and can identify new ways of collaborating by virtue of this joint investigation into diaconal ministry.
In working together on this conference, we are being faithful to the encouragement given us by Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. I had the privilege of being present when in the autumn of 2016 Archbishop Justin and Pope Francis met with the members of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission. We were sent out as (Anglican and Roman Catholic) pairs, and in being commissioned, we were asked, among other things: “Will you strive to be united in preaching the Gospel in word and deed and united serving those who are most vulnerable and marginalised?” I believe that the diaconate is an integral part of the Church’s mission to those on the peripheries, and that this conference takes us an important step in that direction.
Yours in the Risen Lord,
Archbishop of Regina