Three local Anglican churches have consolidated into one ministry, and they’ve selected one man to take the helm: Rev. Jeff Donnelly, who is moving from Oshawa, Ont. this week.
“This will be a collaborative effort,” said Donnelly, who will be leading St. Saviour’s in Nelson, St. Michael and All Angels in Balfour and St. Mark’s in Kaslo.
“Their physical locations will remain. Each will have their own congregation, but we’ll be forming a three-point parish. St. Saviour’s will be the home base, and I’m going to be the leader. It was felt that we should recognize our small size and work together collaboratively.”
Donnelly first saw St. Saviour’s while visiting friends at Oso Negro last October.
He made a mental note to check out the church online, and when he did he was thrilled to find they were searching for someone to lead their newly formed collaborative ministry.
Donnelly, who has served all over the United States and Canada, was most recently the minister at St. Peter’s in Oshawa. He considers his spiritual gifts to be art, community outreach, family and youth.
“The main reason I was interested in Nelson was that for such a small community, a lot of people are amazingly, actively involved. It seems like people don’t just live in their homes; they’re out in the community, making a difference.”
He’s especially passionate about visual art, as an artist himself.
“It’s amazing in the Kootenays how everyone has a local artist up on the walls. I bought some prints for myself while I was there. That’s something that’s on the top of my list.”
Donnelly primarily works with inking, ceramics, stained glass and textiles.
He said he doesn’t want to duplicate services, but rather contribute where needed.
He noted that he admires the United Church’s abundance of community events, and Our Daily Bread’s ministry with the impoverished.
“The people who have been running the Anglican Church have been doing a really good job, but feel as though they’ve been a little bit in the background of the community and they’re not as active as they’d like. We’ll be looking for ways to get more connected.”
He said he hopes to create a congregation that is welcoming to outsiders.
“I told them we need to get more outside our walls and be actively involved in the community, and I hope that’s something that’s going to happen.”