Fresh face for Anglican faithful

Thanksgiving arrival of new rector gives congregation cause for gratitude

Reverend Anne Privett

Reverend Anne Privett

“It’s a good time to begin.”

That’s how Reverend Anne Privett characterizes her Thanksgiving Day sermon to the congregation of St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church. It will be her first sermon to the parishioners and it will come only a few days after her arrival at the 101-year-old Oak Bay institution.

Privett is taking over from Reverend John Macquarrie, who recently retired from his duties at St. Mary.

“Reverend Macquarrie did a wonderful job at revitalizing the church,” said Rosemary Cameron, a longtime parishioner. “We have a children’s choir now and the Canadian College of Performing Arts is using our parish hall. We even have a preschool sharing our space, so a lot is happening.”

That wasn’t always the case. In 2011, when St. Mary was celebrating its centenary, Macquarrie acknowledged that a few years earlier the attendance at Sunday services had been sparse. In fact, St. Mary had survived what Macquarrie called a near death experience.

The Anglican diocese of B.C. had contemplated merging the congregations of St. Philip Church and St. Mary, amalgamating them under a different name. That consideration was ultimately discarded and by the time of the centenary, the drop in attendance at St. Mary had been reversed, with the church showing a strong and sustained increase in the number of parishioners attending its services. That improved attendance has been maintained, and today the attitude at the church is buoyant.

Catherine Young, the Rector’s warden at St. Mary, feels that despite the congregation’s sadness at losing Macquarrie, they are looking to the future with a grateful and hopeful attitude. “Every last person (in the congregation) is excited and pleased,” said Young. “We have so much to be grateful for.”

It’s a gratitude that’s shared by Privett. “I’m very pleased and very grateful to be called to St. Mary,” she said.

“Newness often brings perspective,” Privett wrote in her Thanksgiving letter to parishioners. “It heightens how we see things, how we interact with what we observe and, as I have learned in these last few days, it can indeed bring forth gratitude.”

That newness, and new perspective, will certainly face the congregation of St. Mary when Privett begins her Thanksgiving service. She is 28-years-old, female and as the new spiritual leader for a congregation that is still predominately made up of older adults, she knows that there may be a period of adjustment for some. “That’s yet to be seen,” she said. “I’m not concerned.”

Borrowing from the Book of Common Prayer, Privett writes that this is an opportunity for everyone to give thanks, “not only with our lips, but in our lives.” She writes that giving thanks is not simply a matter of cultivating an attitude of gratitude but (involves) seeing things again.”

For Privett, that new attitude is intricately linked to her faith in Christ. “It’s a whole new way of beholding life, one another and the world that challenges the predominant narrative of our society,” she said.

“It’s a lesson that might be taken, not just by the parishioners of St. Mary, but by everyone. … A lesson that gratitude can often come from looking at things with new eyes, a new attitude and an appreciation for what we’ve been given.”

Information on St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church can be found at stmarysoakbay.bc.anglican.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Victoria for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

(Courtesy Saanich Police Dept.)
Police hope boot search will help find missing Saanich man

Sean Hart is known to walk for miles, with or without his boots

A Colwood couple has set up over 140 Christmas inflatable decorations around their property at 555 Girdou Rd. The home is lit with Christmas music playing from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Colwood house decorated to the nines with Christmas inflatables

Display on Girou Road open to spectators from 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday

Shopping in the evening in downtown Victoria can be a good time to go, with relatively few people in store and plenty of room to physically distance, as this photo from Government Street shows. (Don Descoteau/News Staff) 
Shopping in the evening in downtown Victoria can be a good time to go, with relatively few people in store and plenty of room to physically distance, as this photo from Government Street shows. But thanks to a new program from the Downtown Victoria Business Association, many downtown businesses will soon be able to provide free delivery for customers across the region. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Downtown Victoria businesses offered free delivery for regional customers

DVBA launches ‘Downtown Delivers’ program Dec. 7

Victoria police seized drugs, knives, two firearms and ammunition off a man early Nov. 4. (Victoria Police Department)
VicPD makes early morning drug and weapons seizure

Officers seize drugs, knives, two firearms and ammunition

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

The opening day on Mount Washington this year was Dec. 4. Screenshot
Mount Washington opens on time, COVID-19 protocols in place

“We’re super excited - it’s been six months in the planning.”

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty respirators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020, featuring COVID-19 relief payments promised for most households. (B.C. NDP photo)
Next $1.5 billion in B.C. COVID-19 cash ‘prudent,’ Horgan says

New round of payments for household incomes up to $175,000

Most Read