The Rev. Canon Kevin Robertson

the Rev. Canon Kevin RobertsonOrdinations

Deacon: 1997, Diocese of Toronto
Priest: 1998, Diocese of Toronto

Age: 45

Video Interview

What is your favourite passage of Scripture? Why?

My favourite passage is 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”For me, this is at the heart of the Christian Gospel, and emerges in related forms elsewhere in the Biblical narrative, including the angelic message to Mary at the Annunciation, and then again to the women at the tomb on Easter morning: “Do not be afraid.” Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, every cause of fear – even death itself – is defeated. This means that we can live with boldness, as we strive to be co-workers with God in the transformation of the world through love. And though “perfect love” is elusive in this life, it is also aspirational. It sets before us a vision of the harmony that God intends for the whole creation, and gives us a glimpse of what God ultimately has in store for us. This passage is also evangelistic. In a world that lives in fear of loneliness, meaninglessness, violence and terror, we have a message that the perfect love, made known to us in Jesus Christ, prevails over everything else.

Academic Background and Professional Qualifications

Holy Trinity School, Richmond Hill Diploma 1989
Huron University College, London B.A. (Hons.) 1993
The University of Trinity College, Toronto M.Div. (Hons.) 1997

Parish Placements and Ministry History

Assistant Curate, St. Philip on-the-Hill, Unionville 1997
Assistant Curate, Cathedral Church of St. James, Toronto 1997-2000
Incumbent, St. Peter, Oshawa 2000-2005
Incumbent, St. Nicholas, Birch Cliff 2005-2011
Delegate to Provincial Synod 2006
Incumbent, Christ Church Deer Park 2011-Present
Regional Dean, Eglinton Deanery 2015-Present
Delegate to General Synod 2016

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. Diocesan Postulancy Committee
For the past six years, I have served on the Postulancy Committee. My responsibilities have included interviewing applicants, assisting with discernment, walking alongside postulants through the process leading to ordination, and mentoring some of them as advisor. In this role, I have learned how to better discern gifts for ministry. In hearing the stories of people who bring a variety of experiences of life and faith, I have learned that vocations also come in different expressions, and that we need a breadth of strong clergy and lay leadership to meet the needs of a rapidly changing Church and world. The outcome has been the raising up of some very fine leaders for ministry in our Diocese, and a legacy of leadership on which the future Church is being built.

2. Bishop’s Liturgical Officer
From 2006-2013, I served as the Bishop’s Liturgical Officer in York-Scarborough. In this
role, I assisted the bishop in planning ordinations, services of new ministry, and other
liturgical celebrations within the episcopal area. I organized the liturgies with parish leaders, led rehearsals and served as MC. This was a tremendous opportunity as I travelled around the episcopal area, experiencing the rich diversity of liturgical life within our Diocese. It reminded me again that worship is central to who we are as Christians, and that the worship of the living God lies at the heart of all we are and all we do. In each place, local customs appropriately differ according to context and community, yet we are always united in our gathering together to hear the Scriptures anew, and break bread together in the pattern of our Saviour Jesus Christ. This has helped me to be more creative about liturgy in my own context, and has given rise to new forms of worship, including a Friday evening service at Christ Church Deer Park called Church on Tap, which largely appeals to younger people.

3. Our Faith-Our Hope Campaign
In 2010 and 2012, I successfully led two parishes in the Our Faith-Our Hope campaign, and both surpassed their campaign goals: St. Nicholas, Birch Cliff (130% of goal) and Christ Church Deer Park (107% of goal). During my leadership of these campaigns, I learned about the amazing generosity of the people of God, especially when they catch a vision of what is possible for the Church. I also learned that joyful giving is a natural response for those whose lives have been touched by the Gospel. Those who gave generously had confidence in the future of the Church, and also knew that their gifts would, in part, be used for helping others in need locally and internationally. At the conclusion of the campaign, I was asked to serve on the Our Faith-Our Hope Allocations Committee. Our task has been to consider applications from individuals, parishes, theological colleges, and Diocesan departments, and then to make recommendations for creative projects that will reimagine and renew the Church. I have been so pleased to see the amazing number of new ministry opportunities that have been made possible through the funds raised by Our Faith-Our Hope.

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

The most significant challenge I have faced was ministering to a community that was deeply hurt by the sexual assault of one of its members by another member of the parish. The abuse occurred before my arrival in the parish, but came to light soon after. In the short-term, I addressed this challenge by engaging the Canon Pastor and the Congregational Response Team of the Diocese. We worked together to allow people to tell their stories and share their pain. After the Response Team left, I spent the next few years trying to rebuild trust in the community, offering pastoral care to the victims and their families, and implementing the newly launched Screening In Faith program, in order to ensure that the Church would be a safe place for everyone. This was a reminder of the importance of building communities of faith that are safe for all its members, and the crucial role of Church leaders in being agents of truth, integrity, healing and reconciliation. We have been entrusted with the care of the people of God, and that is an awesome and sacred responsibility.

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

That the Diocese be a place where all are fully welcomed, and where disciples of Jesus Christ are formed and nurtured, that they may embody God’s love in the world.