Where are you from? What is your family like? What’s your life like these days?
I am from Vancouver, where I’ve lived essentially my whole life. I grew up at St. John’s, went to UBC, and to Regent after that. I’ve been married for a little over six years. My wife and I have a son, Hudson’s two and he was born right before we started to go to this church. We now have a two month year old daughter, Julia. So we are right in the middle of a young family and all the craziness that that entails.

Can you tell me a little about the church that you work at? St. Matthias and St. Luke, is that two churches?
No, so basically there were two churches that were a part of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, and the bishop merged the churches together for various reasons twenty years ago. So this church was a bit of church plant from Good Shepherd. It was also merging together of two preexisting parishes, so they kept both names. So this church’s DNA, by
definition, is a conglomeration; merging of different people from different backgrounds, which you can see very much in their DNA and in their character. What makes this church what it is? What defines it? Yeah. So, it’s a small multicultural church, which in the Anglican scene sets it apart a little bit. It almost represents every nation in Asia. There are people there who, at sometime in their life, came from that region. So the makeup of the church is a lot of people who, at one time or another, were immigrants and are now Canadian, and their children have been born in Canada and raised in Canada. It’s a merging of people with European and Asian descent. A large proportion of people have ties to large proportion of people have ties to Hong Kong, so we have a very strong Cantonese ministry. There were a lot of families, so their are younger Christians and older Christians, but generally we are aging. But now is kind of an exciting new age of having young kids again for the first time in about fifteen years. And our parish is really unique in the sense that it’s not very big.here are 70-80 people there on an average Sunday, but it’s remarkably diverse and it seems to very successfully hold together people from very different cultures around a common cause. That always been implicit in the DNA of this congregation. It’s part AMMIC, Asian Multicultural Ministries in Canada, a subdivision inside of ANIC. It’s a very small subgroup trying to minister to visible minorities. So if you know Stephen Leong, he is the overseeing Bishop.

What’s your role in all of this?
So, initially the church was looking for a youth pastor, and by youth they meant everyone under forty, but they only had the means to provide a part-time job. There were no ideal candidates. So, through discernment and discussions with Artizo, were able to come up with a curacy for someone who would oversee the English side of the ministry, which in large part includes the young adults, and children, and youth, but now also includes the adults for whom English is their primary language. So I was hired as the curate initially, and now lead the English ministry. So are you running an English service right now? That’s right. So when they hired me there was only one service that was bilingual. Everything was said in Chinese and everything was said after in English. And just in the last month, we’ve gone to a place where we now have two concurrent services: one in English, one in Chinese, in two different areas of the church. And all of that is a result of my position. Since there was only one priest beforehand, they could only have one service, and now we’re able to have two services that better serve particular groups within our congregation.

What was your curacy like? Who supervised you? How was Artizo involved?
It was a Seed Curacy, which meant that Artizo supported the curacy financially. Without Artizo’s support, the curacy wouldn’t have existed, as the church wasn’t at a place where they could give any more in terms of financing towards this. Artizo couldn’t have been more supportive in the sense that the position didn’t exist, and they weren’t looking for someone because it was beyond their means, but Artizo stepped up and created the position. I was predominantly overseen by the Rector of the church, Timothy Fong, and he really mentored me, and I was a curate under him. It was a wonderful experience where he really prepared me for ministry, and taught me the basics. He let me walk beside him in his various pastoral roles. So Timothy was the main guy, but Eric Thurston followed up with me periodically, just to make sure that it was going well and that there weren’t any problems. But it was such a positive experience with Timothy that I think he knew he didn’t need to be overly involved. I was given a lot of support.

Can you describe to me what your duties were during your curacy?
I was responsible for overseeing the young adults ministry. Young adults were loved by the church, but they didn’t know how to disciple them. Everyone saw them as nieces and nephews, but they needed direction on how to raise them in the faith, so my job was really to get something going with a group of people that had grown up together, but hadn’t necessarily received in-depth teaching or Bible study. When I started, that was really my initial role, but then it became more and more Sunday responsible. When I started my curacy, I was preaching about forty percent of the time, and at nine months into my curacy we started an English service on Sunday afternoons that was solely my responsibility. I was preaching every week at that service and overseeing that service, and that has now morphed into our current English service, which is only a few weeks old. But that service is at 11 am on Sunday, and I’m solely responsible for that, as our Rector is leading the Chinese service that happens at the same time. My duties were primarily towards young adults, discipling them, and then overseeing this ministry, but it’s going to start taking on more and more pastoral aspects as I start trying to assist the shepherding of the English side of the church. I also was involved in a few other things, like I ran the catechism class (we had three teenagers confirmed by the bishop last month), and starting a young preschool Sunday school, providing support for the teachers who lead that. So those have been my primary responsibilities as well as serving on the church council and serving at wider Anglican councils and gatherings and such. But at the actual church, those are my primary roles. That’s a lot of stuff. Yeah, it’s full. Part of the joys of being in a smaller church is that you’re put to work in a faster way and you’re generally given a lot of responsibilities right off the bat. I’ve had a huge exposure to preaching that maybe in other curacies would have been much more gradual. Off the ground, I’ve had a huge amount of training through actually doing the various ministries. So what’s changed now that has allowed your position to continue after your curacy ended? Artizo supported my salary for two years. The church’s finances have not really changed in those two years – to support a second clergy full time is just as impossible now as it was two years ago. The church has discerned over my time there to use some of its savings to continue with my position, in the hopes that in a few years the church will have grown into a financial position where they can fund it. So they are stepping out in faith, recognizing that a two year curacy is a short time. They’ve extend my position another four years. It’s really exciting, as we can now launch this new English service and I now have time to let it mature instead of being under the gun to make ourselves financially sustainable. So the church through the curacy, through equipping and training me for two years, has now decided to keep me on for an additional four to try and grow a robust English ministry.

Looking back on Artizo’s role in your ministry career, how would you describe it?
Well, it started out with Artizo giving me very practical training. That’s when I was an intern. They also provided mentoring, but something that might be more significant is that Artizo also provided networking. They connected me with the church, they negotiated with the church to try and establish a position. I would not have ever been offered this job without Artizo because it wouldn’t have existed. So Artizo’s funding was what enabled a new full-time position and allowed me to do ministry in a local setting in a context that I could have never dreamed of. I didn’t even know that this church existed, and I’ve lived fifteen minutes from it my whole life. So Artizo discipled, they equipped, they mentored, and they networked. And without Artizo I wouldn’t be here! So I can’t really say enough about how Artizo was involved, because they were actively involved along every step of this process.

Chris Ley