This week we say farewell to a good friend and supporter of St. Stephen’s. The Venerable Barry Foster, one of our honorary clergy and, until recently, the executive officer of the Diocese of Calgary, has accepted a three-year contract as the executive officer of the Diocese of British Columbia, which comprises Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
We have not seen Barry often on Sunday mornings, as he was frequently on the road visiting parishes around the diocese. But we enjoyed his wit and his erudition whenever he was with us, filling in for our rector, or presiding and preaching at our annual outdoor Stampede service.
What many of our members will not know is how much Barry did behind the scenes to support and guide us, especially since our rector announced his retirement. Since the summer Barry has been assisting the rector and wardens in their transition plans by attending weekly staff meetings, as well as meetings of Parish Council, and offering advice to the corporation. His wisdom and experience have been invaluable.
Barry loved the worship life of St. Stephen’s, our lively and liberating faith, and our forward-looking witness in the world. We appreciated his advocacy and support within a wider church that sometimes appears to be headed backward rather than forward, and that has not always valued the work and witness of progressive parishes like ours. We will miss Barry, but we wish him well, pleased that his gifts continue to be a blessing for the church.