Project Canterbury

Pioneer Church Work in British Columbia
Being a Memoir of the Episcopate of Acton Windeyer Sillitoe, D.D., D.C.L.
First Bishop of New Westminster.

By the Rev. Herbert H. Gowen, F.R.G.S.

London: Mowbray, 1899.

Chapter XX.


EVERYWHERE throughout the diocese, upon his return, the Bishop was warmly welcomed by his people.

At Donald an address, signed by some forty persons, was presented at the C.P.R. station, in the darkness of a stormy night, to greet the Bishop. The next day, being Sunday, the Bishop recommenced diocesan work by celebrating Holy Communion, and preaching morning and evening to crowded congregations in the new church--fitly called S. Peter's--the first church in the Rocky Mountains.

At Kamloops the visit was marked by a Confirmation on the Monday, and a conference with the clergy on the Wednesday. A parish conversazione was also held, and an address of welcome presented on behalf of the citizens of Kamloops.

The more official welcome was given in New Westminster, where a large number of friends, including the Executive Committee of the diocese, met the Bishop and Mrs. Sillitoe on October 17th. An address was presented, and, what was more, the affectionate greetings of all emphasized the gladness of heart with which the inhabitants of New Westminster again saw their Bishop and his wife.

The year was marked by one other event deserving of notice.

On the Festival of S. Andrew an interesting ceremony took place in the church of the Holy Trinity, New Westminster, when a beautiful pastoral staff was presented to the Bishop in the name of the clergy and communicants of the diocese, as a token of personal love and esteem, and with the sincere hope that it would be many years before it passed into the hands of another.

The Bishop accepted the staff, and having laid it upon the altar, dedicated it to the service of God. He then gave a short address to the congregation, which gathered up in a few words the ideal he held of the episcopal office, and which he faithfully, to the best of his power, endeavoured to fulfil.

At least from the fourth century, he stated, the pastoral staff had been by all branches of the Church accepted as the symbol of episcopal rule--a rule, not autocratic as by a rod of iron, but as denned by the proper meaning of the word regula, a straight edge. A pastoral staff consisted of three portions, the central being the rod signifying the Bishop's rule over the flock committed to his charge by the Chief Shepherd, by drawing the straight lines of the Church's faith once delivered to the saints, so that his charge might stay in the old paths and walk therein. Another portion, the crook, typified the duty of the Bishop to seek the lost ones wandering from the fold, and with love and sympathy and tenderness draw them once more into the Church; and also to guide those who otherwise might stray away into the world without. The third portion, the point, symbolized the most painful portion of the episcopal duty, the exercise of Church discipline. As the clergy and laity, he concluded, had of their own accord presented him with this staff after eight years of episcopal rule, he judged that it was a sign that his rule had been commendable to them.

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