"As many of you know, the parish of St John's are thrilled to have in their midst our new Deacon - the Reverend Juanita Clark - whose ministry began on October 17th!
Juanita's personal profile is set out below.
Please take a few minutes to read it.
It will give you a better sense of Juanita's life-long journey and call to Diaconal ministry.
Juanita will give a short presentation, following this Sunday's (November 4th) service, on her Covenant with the Parish and the Role of a Deacon.
I hope you will attend and support Juanita in the Ministry in which God has called her to serve"
Rev Patrick Blaney
Greetings! Thanks be to God, I am back home amongst the faith community who raised me up. I feel blessed to be your Deacon!
The October 17th our faith community shared in the joyful Celebration of New Ministry service. It was a heart-warming start to my vocation. There were many parishioners present – not only from the parish of St John's, but St James (where I did my Internship) and North Vancouver neighbouring communities.
My background As I begin my new ministry amongst you, I would like to share with you a little about my background. This includes my personal values, faith journey, secular career and future vision. I am a cradle Anglican and second generation Canadian. My maternal grandparents’ roots extend, deep down, within the Church of England (Isle of Wight) and can be easily traced to the 1600’s. I am very proud of my ancestry. Both sets of my grandparents immigrated to Canada in the early 1900’s. My paternal grandparents settled in Toronto, Ontario. My maternal grandparents settled in Merritt, BC and were founding members of St Michael’s All Angels. Even after their passing, my maternal grandparents would have a strong influence in the shaping of my life, and my Diaconate ministry.
Family values Altruism - putting the needs of others first - was a large part of the family values that my Mother (a registered nurse) raised her 3 daughters with, and her mother before her. My father was a civil servant, who rapidly moved up the corporate ladder of success. With each of Dad’s promotions our family moved from one Canadian province to the next. Despite the merry-go-round of schools and varying curriculums, I developed a great love for my country; an attachment to the land; a growing interest in the residing First Nations and their culture. Like my mother and my maternal Grandmother before her, I also liked being of service to others, both within the church and larger community. I soon developed a strong interest in church life and a yearning to strengthen my relationship with God. However, despite my faithfulness and regular church attendance, it would take several decades before my authentic spiritual journey would unfold.
Secular Work I was accepted into Vancouver General Hospital's School of Nursing upon graduating from Handsworth Secondary School (1975). Although I loved health, nutrition and working with people, I soon discovered that nursing was not my thing. I was trying to be my Mother! I resigned two years later. In the mid 1980’s I began working – at the grassroots level – with the federal government (Department of Indian Affairs). Despite my humble beginnings I would experience a rich and varied career path. It began with the provision of administrative services to the Fraser Canyon bands and the building of strong working relationships with its Chiefs and Councillors. Over the years I furthered my education – acquiring a Certificate in Human Resource Management (with Honours), from BCIT; a Certificate in Communications & Negotiations (Sauder School of Business), a certificate in Conflict & Dispute Resolution (The Justice Institute of BC) and a collection of Canadian History courses at UBC. Alongside of my work with the federal government, I also completed an Internship with the Vancouver Museum & Archives (developing a finding aid for their First Nations collection) and was an avid volunteer with the Vancouver Historical Society & North Vancouver Museum & Archives. This enhanced my work experience. I later qualified as a Research leader in INAC’s historical research centre. I eventually moved up to the position of Litigation Project Manager – all the while striving for fair and just settlements for Indigenous peoples; applying lessons learned from the past to ensure a better future for all Canada’s peoples. I retired from INAC, after 36 years service, in the spring of 2018.
My Faith Journey: Although I have been a devout Christian all my life, undertaking many leadership, advocacy and outreach roles in my faith community, it r wasn't until I joined St. John's faith community (2008) and entered into their 'Sounds of Silence' program that I realized the transformative power of the contemplative path that lay before me. Supported by St John’s many gifted female wisdom lay-leaders, I began to seriously discern God’s call; to pursue paths of Christian education; to explore new ministries, to go where I felt spirit calling me. With the encouragement of the Rev. Patrick Blaney, in the spring of 2015 I submitted my application to the Diaconate.
Discerning a Call The next three years were action packed and life-changing! The people of St. John’s formed two committees on my behalf: a Canonical Committee to update the parish profile and determine the needs for a Deacon in the parish; and, a Personal Discernment group to help me identify my gifts for ministry and explore my sense of call. I was later interviewed by St John’s Diaconal Selection Committee. The resulting report, submitted on behalf of the parish by St John’s Discernment group, advised the rector of my emerging gifts and that they fully supported my journey towards ordination and Diaconate ministry.
The Path Forward: Alongside working full-time at INAC, I entered into part-time Seminary at VST. This was necessary in order to complete the Diaconate’s various educational requirements. It was both a personally challenging, enlightening and humbling experience! At last, in the spring of 2018, having completed: a nine-month Internship with the Anglo-Catholic parish of St James; the necessary Diaconate workshops and Examinations, I graduated (with a Certificate of Theological Studies) from the Vancouver School of Theology. A month later, in June, I was ordained as a Deacon in the Anglican Church of Canada. Heart-felt thanks to the people of St John’s; your prayers and encouragement kept me afloat throughout my discernment journey.
A new Ministry Unfolds: In alignment with St John’s Discernment Committee report, I do believe that God is calling me to live out my ministry with a direct focus on:
Gathering and encouraging others to be God’s hands and feet in the world; Christian education to understand and spread the Word of God (with a focus on prayer, Christ at our centre, and taking God’s love out into the world). I will also be working together with Patrick in pastoral care, and – as my schedule permits – helping out with St John’s Caring ministry and St James street ministry (where I am being formed to be a visible sign of Christ in the world, especially amongst the poor, outcast and most vulnerable of society).
I ask for your ongoing prayers and support as I continue to discern my way forward – to go where God is calling me in our parish; to have the confidence to travel to those more difficult places in the greater community - with open hands and open heart - to give to God’s beloved on the fringes of society, and be an inspiration for others to follow in Christ’s footsteps .…
I hope you will join me, on Sunday November 4th after our Sunday service, for an information session regarding my exciting new ministry. Copies of my covenant will be available for you to read (and posted on the website in advance). A deacon’s role in the parish is very different to the work of a priest – and each deacon is called by Christ to live out his/her own unique ministry. Please, take time to attend my information session and learn about my vocational ministry - its about to unfold – I invite you to be a part of it!
Deacon Juanita [email protected]
604.986.1151 (to leave a message)