Rev. Miranda Sutherland, third from left in front row, poses for a photograph with her parish at her induction and installation on Sept. 11. Standing to Sutherland’s left is the Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster Right Rev. Melissa Skelton. (Submitted photo)

After years of lay sermons and visiting ministers, Christ Church gets Rev. Miranda Sutherland

Sutherland comes from Jamaica.

On Sept. 11, Christ Church Anglican received Rev. Miranda Sutherland, who will serve as the 21st rector of that church.

She will play a key role in leading the church and aspires to foster a culture of greater openness, transparency, connection, hope and choice.

“The church building is the most concrete sign of the presence of God in the community and so my aspiration is to lead Christ Church as their pastor, priest and teacher, proclaiming the Gospel and providing pastoral care to Christ’s people, in and through this mid-nineteenth century historic church, that stands as a beacon in the Hope community,” said Sutherland.

Her installation and induction as rector also ends three years of hosting lay sermons and visiting ministers.

“We are in the middle of what is called a ‘change management,’ … but I hope everyone will adapt and come on board,” said Sutherland. “I am very conscious of that, that they can’t just stop doing what they were doing.”

Sutherland said she works closely with the wardens, consulting them before undertaking anything and said that has worked well so far.

Her immediate tasks include creating a mutual ministry agreement with her church’s council, corporation and full parish that sets out three goals that would serve as a vision for the next 12-18 months and also to go through training as set out by the Diocese of New Westminster in areas such as anti-racism, sexual misconduct and parish development.

Sutherland is from Jamaica and was born into an Anglican family. She answered the call for ministry and was ordained a priest in 2011 in the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Her journey to Hope started two years ago when she received a one-year contract with the Diocese of Edmonton, followed by an extension for another year, on a part-time basis.

At that time, she was looking for a full-time position and found one in Hope. She applied and emerged as the chosen one, arriving on Aug. 26.

“Did I tell you that I drove all the way from Edmonton?” said Sutherland. “When I came, I was warmly received by the rector’s warden … and on the Tuesday they had a lovely wine and cheese welcome party for me.”

Asked about the challenging rental situation in Hope, Sutherland said she is currently living in a shared house, and expects to move out to a more personal residence.

Unlike her time in Edmonton, Sutherland’s role here is full-time and permanent. It comes with a review period to ensure that both Sutherland and the church feel that they are suited for the role.

“It’s ultimately as the Lord leads. The Lord might call me away because I am an ambassador for Christ,” said Sutherland. “I see myself as a missionary. I yield to the Holy Spirit and it is the Holy Spirit who is … guiding us as we look into the future as to what the Holy Spirit wants for us in this season of the church’s life.”