A Word from the Bishop: June 2024

The Bishop and the Venerable Lydia Constant spend some time together at Provincial Synod in Calgary in May 2024.

As you may be aware, my path to becoming the 8th Bishop of Brandon was a long and winding one, which allowed me the gift of worshipping and celebrating the seasons of the Christian year in many different iterations of Cathedrals.  From the gothic and overpowering (in the eyes of an 8-year-old) St. Paul’s in London, Ontario to the white and awe-inspiring Cathedral in Halifax, and many in between, I have always been fascinated by the architecture, stories, history, sense of prayer and strife and celebration, the walls of our Canadian Anglican Cathedrals hold.  Our own Cathedral of St. Matthew’s holds just as much allure and inspiration for me now as all those Cathedrals of my past.

However much the architecture and history of the buildings themselves may call upon my heartstrings to do and be more within the Church, it isn’t the building or the trappings that truly call me to serve within the Church and outside the Church.  The true call for me lies in what a Cathedral stands for and what it speaks out into the Community surrounding it – both the city within which it exists and to the Diocese for whom it exists.

​The ‘cathedral” is named that because it is the building which houses or “hosts” the cathedra – the Bishop’s Seat.  I love the reality that every Church I visit and within which I am privileged to “come home and celebrate the sacred mysteries” essentially becomes the “cathedral” when I am there.  It is a reminder to me that where I go, so goes the work of the entire Diocese, and that really means that every single person who gathers to worship with me is an intrinsic and important partner in the work we all do together as the Diocese of Brandon.  We all worship, from time to time, in the Cathedral or a cathedral, as you and I worship together.  And do you know what that means?  It means that our Christian work and call to serve Christ in the community we live in, emanates from each and every one of our various “cathedrals.”

I have been having some powerful and energizing conversations of late about the role of Cathedrals within the Christian Church.  The Cathedral is at one and the same time two very distinct entities.  It is the Parish Church of the local congregation who call it home.  It is that place where congregants gather on Sundays and other days to break open the Word and share the Gifts of God in sacrament and actions.  It is the home of Bible Studies and AA groups.  It is the seat of arguments about whose pew is it or whether flowers should be on the altar or elsewhere.  It is a real, working parish church that does the local work of Jesus within the congregation.  That’s the first identity that a Cathedral holds.

​The second, and equally important identity a Cathedral holds, is that of being a shining light of Christ out into the community.  The Cathedral may be one of many, or simply a few, Anglican churches within a region, but it should always strive to become the heart of the Christian-Anglican presence for the entire community and Diocese.  It should do the work of serving the homeless, comforting the inconsolable, feeding the hungry, speaking truth to power on behalf of the powerless.  The Cathedral should be a safe harbour in a stormy sea for its own people (congregation and diocesan) and for all those who are Christ among us seeking to know that we are actively looking for Christ among us.

Some of you may be aware, and all of you should become aware, that our Cathedral Church of St. Matthew’s – like many of our local and smaller churches – is finding itself in a difficult financial place.  It may seem to many that the Cathedral is treated differently.  And oftentimes it is … as it should be.  It is the physical and geographical centre of our spiritual home as Anglicans in the Diocese of Brandon.  It is not more important; it is not more spiritually powerful; it is not more beautiful than any other of our Diocesan churches.  It is simply that touchstone which every single Anglican within Western Manitoba is encouraged to call their own.  The Cathedral is yours – it belongs to all of us.

​To that end, I would ask two things of all of you.  First, I ask that you share the following prayer together and individually each week.  Second, I ask that you take the time to read the monthly article that will be in The Mustard Seed entitled “The Cathedral Cloister” beginning in September.  You are also encouraged to send in your own thoughts, memories, hopes, dreams, possibilities for the relationship you have had or hope to have with your Cathedral.  St. Matthew’s needs you and we all need St. Matthew’s.  Together we will support and encourage our Cathedral to be both the congregational home for the regulars at St. Matthew’s and we will support and encourage our Cathedral to become all a Cathedral is meant be as a Beacon of Light and Hope in the Community and our Diocese.


A Prayer for Our Cathedral

 Creator of life, hope, and service, we uphold our Cathedral of St. Matthew. Open our hearts, eyes, minds, and hands, that we will know how You wish us to support our Cathedral.
May it truly become home for all of us. May it truly serve Your people in ways we cannot yet see. In Christ’s Holy Name we pray.  Amen.


Keep on reading

Skip to content