Vicar, Christ Church Cathedral, Diocese of New Westminster (Ph.D., M.A., C.T., B.A.)
Phone: 604 682 3848 x25
Curriculum Vitae: Ellen Clark-King.pdf
I am honoured to have been nominated for the position of bishop of New Westminster, a diocese I have grown to love and value enormously since choosing to move here nine years ago. I hope that, as bishop, I would work with the synod to bring an energy of hope with a new sense of unity, a renewed awareness of shared purpose and a culture of mutual respect, of listening and of commitment to being the body of Jesus Christ in and for this place.
The biblical image which speaks to me most clearly of the work of a bishop is that of the good steward. The steward is first of all a servant: she does not have ownership of all that has been entrusted to her but cares for it on behalf of another. However she does have real responsibility in the household and should not shirk the appropriate use of the power she has been given: remembering always that it has been given from elsewhere and is to be used for the good of the household as a whole. The steward values those she works with, knowing that it takes far more than one person of vision to build a joyful and useful community. A good steward is committed to fostering abundance, to growing the household, to enabling others to find their own way of service, and, in all things, to remembering who it is that she serves – the God of love made known in Jesus Christ.
This is a role to which I feel called, and one for which I feel I have much to offer that meets the needs expressed in the diocesan profile. I continue to engage with contemporary theology: my experience teaching on the Doctor of Ministry courses at Virginia Theological Seminary in Ministry Development and Christian Education is expanding both my knowledge and thinking. Part of my own passion is to create a ‘choral theology’ in the church: that is a theology in which all Christian people’s experience of their faith and of God is heard, valued and allowed to find a voice. Spirituality, and especially time spent with God in prayer, is, for me, the essential grounding for theology and for all service in the church: it is this which keeps us in touch with the God who calls us. I constantly return to the simplicity of the Jesus Prayer in my own prayer life, and to the Eucharist as what feeds me in the community of faith. Without the companionship of Jesus - known in my heart, through scripture, and in the faces of other human beings – I would not have the strength to walk the path of ministry and service.
One of my greatest delights in ministry is helping other people find and develop their own gifts, and being one small part of God’s love at work in their lives. Both as the Cathedral Vicar and as archdeacon I greatly enjoy mentoring clergy and see it as an essential part of my role to be open and available to them. The dedication and wisdom of clergy and laity across the diocese is a constant source of inspiration to me. I am convinced that valuing and thanking those who work with us is crucial to effective leadership, as is seeing the worth in those who differ from us. My time as a Pastoral Tutor at Cranmer Hall, an evangelical seminary in England, helped me to step outside my own tradition and learn from those who saw the world, the church and God through a different lens than my own. As Archdeacon of Burrard I am continually delighted by the diversity of our diocese: dancing with a Filipino congregation, attempting a few words of Japanese at Holy Cross and sharing Dim Sum with Chinese Anglicans at coffee hour are some of my favourite experiences of being an archdeacon.
I was aware of the pernicious effects of colonialism around the world, but until I arrived in Canada I did not realize the nature of the suffering that First Nations people had undergone. My experience since living here, most recently of course at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, has opened my eyes to the continuing marginalization suffered by indigenous peoples. I am honoured to have been part of the Church’s listening area at the TRC and know that we need to continue the work begun in that week if it is to have true impact.
It is essential that the bishop and the wider church focus on communicating our good news to new generations, and opening up to them the richness and joy that we find in our faith. One of my ways of doing this is to make use of social media both to speak to folk outside our church walls and to listen to their concerns and priorities. Providing worship opportunities that reach beyond traditional times and formats is a necessity, as is talking without jargon or self-righteousness about the deepest truths of our experience of God. People of all generations respond positively to integrity, openness and honesty even while continuing to question.
My leadership style is one of collaboration and inspiration. I have experience of taking difficult decisions and helping people face hard truths both as archdeacon and as part of the management team of a parish with a large clerical, lay and volunteer staff. Leadership must involve listening and creating ownership as well as providing direction and accepting ultimate responsibility. It must also be by example: modeling the commitment, hard work and respectful interactions that are expected of others. The new bishop and our synod need to work with each other: to listen to the people in the pews, to build trust and to renew energy, so that we step forward into the future together, sure of our sense of direction.
We often talk about the bishop as having oversight of the diocese: the episcopal leadership that accompanies synodical governance. I would like to add another crucial attribute to this: the bishop should also be the one who looks over the horizon. So the bishop is the one who tries to discern the signs of the times and who works with the church to prepare for the future as well as to live in the present and build on the past. The bishop is also the one who helps local congregations feel they are part of the wider church: that their story is part of the whole narrative of God’s mission in the world. Together bishop and parish look at where God is at work in their life so they can discern what their next steps might be. This means that part of my commitment would be to gain a deep knowledge of local congregations and local communities so that we can make wise decisions together.
I hope these words have given you some insight into who I am and what I might offer to the diocese. I am also very happy to talk with individuals and answer questions on the phone or via email.