Hope residents Joan Cope and Beverly Kreller received the Order of the Diocese of New Westminster on Nov. 5 at an Investiture Service at the Massey Theatre in New Westminster.
According to a letter sent to Cope by Bishop Melissa M. Skelton, the Order “brings together laity from our diocese who have served faithfully and with distinction over many years.” It serves as a sign of their gratitude for all they have done in Christ's ministry.
“It also provides the diocese with a community of mentors who demonstrate what it means to serve God's mission through the work of the Church,” Skelton wrote in the letter.
Cope received her medal after Skelton appointed her to the Order with eight others, whereas Kreller received hers after members of the congregation nominated her. Kreller said she felt very humbled.
“Which means that they recognized my contributions even more so than I think I did,” said Kreller.
Kreller's nomination did not come as a surprise because she was aware that members of the congregation were putting forth her name. Whereas Cope's stunned her because Bishop Skelton only notified her when she called Cope.
Cope receives calls from the Synod's central office sometimes, but “this was the last thing that I could ever think of.”
“I thought, 'Have I done something wrong?' ” she joked. “When I received the medal, I said that I received it on behalf of the congregation because everybody takes part.”
Cope joined Christ Church in 1960 when she moved from Vancouver. For the last 20 years, she has been a delegate to the Synod and since 2014, she has served on the Diocesan Council. As a result of this, Cope and Skelton have rubbed shoulders with each other several times.
In her 56 years of being a Christ Church member, she highlighted this as a key moment in her time there.
“There's a feeling of family within this congregation,” said Cope. “It's a very tight community and a very helpful [one]. It's part of your life.”
Kreller joined Christ Church in 1982 after moving from New Brunswick. Kreller is from Tilley, N.B., a community between Fredericton and Edmonston, near the Maine border. Kreller grew up Anglican, was baptized and married in an Anglican church in New Brunswick.
“It wasn't a difficult transition, just a different community,” said Kreller. “Same church, same theology.”
Kreller is the People's Warden at Christ Church. That role requires her to act as the liaison between church members and the priest. She also chairs the monthly parish council meetings.
As Christ Church currently does not have a priest, Cope and Kreller also contribute by holding lay services.
The Diocese's boundaries runs from Powell River on the Sunshine Coast running east through to Yale.