The Rev. Canon Jenny Andison

the Rev. Canon Jenny AndisonOrdinations

Deacon: 1997, Diocese of Ontario
Priest: 1999, Diocese of Toronto

Age: 44

Video Interview

What is your favourite passage of Scripture? Why?

The raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-44). “Lazarus, come out!” This passage is a visceral reminder of the power of resurrection and grace in the face of human suffering. Jesus enters into the grief of Lazarus’s sisters and turns their anger away from their present circumstances (“if you had been here my brother would not have died”) and towards the real foe, death itself. When faced with pain or loss, my natural response is to turn to judgment, hatred or despair. The raising of Lazarus points me to the resurrection of Jesus, and another way. Because of his own suffering and death, Jesus is able to speak with authority in times of tragedy. Not only does he enter into my grief and bring consolation, Jesus is then able to lead me beyond, through his own resurrection, to new life. The power of the resurrected Christ reshapes my heart and mind so I might grow in humility and hope for the future.

Academic Background and Professional Qualifications

Bachelor of Arts (Hons.), Queen’s University, 1994 (Political Studies, Comparative Religion)
Master of Divinity, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, 1997

Parish Placements and Ministry History

St. Clement’s Eglinton: Incumbent (2013 – present)

  • Set the stage for parish renewal through purposeful reshaping of key aspects of ministry and development of a collaborative ministry team.
  • Grew average Sunday attendance by 23% and annual financial givings by 18%.

Diocese of Toronto: Archbishop’s Officer for Mission (2010-2013)

  • Pioneered a culture of missional ministry and fresh expressions of church in parishes across the theological, demographic and size spectrum.

St. Paul’s Church, Bloor Street: Associate Priest for Church Development (2006-2013)

  • Co-led ministry team that re-designated all aspects of The Bridge into a healthy and flourishing worship community within St. Paul’s.
  • Led the welcome ministries and oversaw the formation of new believers through 1:1 mentoring and teaching the Christianity 101 and Following Jesus courses.

St. James’s Church (Diocese of London, UK): Associate Vicar (2001-2005)

  • Ministered in this resource-strapped inner city parish re-boot; built bridges to the neighbourhood through moms and tots groups and coming alongside local YMCA.

St. Timothy’s Church, Agincourt (Diocese of Toronto): Assistant Curate (1998-2000)

  • Gained critical experience and perspective serving in a multi-ethnic parish in a rapidly changing context.

St. Alban’s Church (Diocese of Tokyo, Japan): Deacon (1997-1998)

  • Introduced and led the first Alpha course in Japan.

Parish of Lansdowne Rear (Diocese of Ontario): Deacon-in-Charge (1997)

  • Led all aspects of this three-point rural parish.

Identify no more than 3 significant leadership roles you have played in your Diocese. In each case, what was your role, what did you learn, and what was the outcome?

1) As the first Archbishop’s Officer for Mission, I cultivated the re-discovery of a missional understanding of the work of the Church in the world. I learned that limited resources often call forth the most creative and innovative ministry. During this time, I collaborated with diverse stakeholders to produce new educational resources and encourage fresh expressions of church and church plants. Under my leadership, a mission-focused culture in the Diocese began to take root.

2) I led the team that produced the Future of Ordained Ministry report for the Archbishop, and learned that ordained ministry – which at its core is the ministry of Word and Sacrament – can be deployed in an increasingly creative set of circumstances and environments. This report has influenced the choice of candidates for ordination and the ministry environments that newly ordained clergy are placed in.

3) Developing and implementing the Reach Grants program allowed me to watch parishes try new things and take risks. I learned how important it is to have structured reflection after an initiative does not evolve as anticipated. The Reach Grants have enabled parishes to try new approaches to connecting with their neighborhoods in Christ-centered ways.

What is the most significant challenge you have faced as a priest to date? How did you address that challenge?

My most significant challenge has been leading St. Clement’s through a process of renewal. God had prepared the way through previous ministry, and the parish was willing to take courageous risks. Building on the parish’s desire to grow, I partnered with the lay leadership to introduce new Christian formation programs for all ages. These are proving pivotal in forming new people in the faith, while re-invigorating the faith of long-time members. I spearheaded a review process of all our ministries, resulting in a Rhythm of Life that called people to shape their lives around five spiritual practices: worship, prayer and study, stewardship, invitation, and service. As I invited people to embrace these practices and reflect on the generosity of God, the congregation has responded with its own generosity, which has enabled: pioneering ministry to young adults in the condo towers; re-imagining ministry among busy two-income families; and raising money to sponsor a Syrian refugee family of ten. This review process has also led to new ways of worshipping that are life-giving for new and long time members.

In one sentence, of fewer than 30 words, describe your vision for the Diocese of Toronto for the next 5 years.

My vision for the Diocese: people from all walks of life, growing in their experience of the power of Jesus Christ, and transforming their neighborhoods through compassionate service.