The Rev. Riscylla Walsh Shaw

the Rev. Riscylla Walsh ShawOrdinations

Deacon: 2001, Diocese of Toronto
Priest: 2001, Diocese of Toronto

Age: 44

Video Interview

What is your favourite passage of Scripture? Why?

Romans 8.38-39 “nothing shall separate us from the love of God” –  this passage reminds me of the divine grace in which we are constantly upheld

Academic Background and Professional Qualifications

2015                Indigenous Knowledge course, Humber College
2012                Fresh Start Facilitator Training
2011 – 2014    St Clement’s College of Preaching, Festival of Homiletics, Lester Randall Preaching Fellowships
2009                Ambassador of Reconciliation Training
1996 – 1999    Master of Divinity, University of Toronto, Wycliffe College
1994 – 1998    Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Training
1991 – 1996    Honours Bachelor of Arts, University of Toronto

Parish Placements and Ministry History

2009 – present    Incumbent, Parish of Christ Church, Bolton, Diocese of Toronto
2009 – present    Ambassador of Reconciliation for the Diocese of Toronto
*actively present at all seven national events of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) on Indian Residential Schools,
*leading workshops, doing liaison work in our Diocese, with the National Church, ecumenically and in the broader community
2014 – present    Regional Dean, North Peel
2014 – present    Archbishop’s Committee on Intercultural Ministries
2014 – present    Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice
2014                    Participated as clergy with Proud Anglicans in World Pride
2013 – present    Diocesan Council and Executive Board (2013-2015)
2012 – present    Fresh Start for Clergy – facilitator
2004 – present    Area Council member Trent-Durham and York-Credit Valley
2003 – 2009        Incumbent, Parish of Minden-Kinmount, Diocese of Toronto
2001 – 2004        Archbishop’s Committee on Spiritual Renewal
2000 – 2002        Assistant Curate, St Stephen’s Maple and All Saints King City
1999 – 2001        Youth Minister, St Mary’s Richmond Hill and Holy Trinity Thornhill
1999                    Summer Chaplain, Sibbald Point Provincial Park
1996-1997           Student Chaplain, Toronto General Hospital

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?

Ambassador of Reconciliation for the Diocese of Toronto – proud to be in a Diocese that makes reconciliation and justice for marginalized peoples a priority. Inspired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa’s TRC, my role continues to interpret the findings of the TRC to the church and the broader community by building bridges ecumenically and culturally. I urge and encourage present and future generations of Anglicans and Canadians to travel on the long road of truth-telling and walking together as co-creators of right-relationship with God and each other.

Member in the Councils of the Church  – I am committed to the direction and values of our Diocese: “serving Christ’s mission through compassionate service, intelligent faith and godly worship.” Engaging in these councils has given me valuable perspective and insight into the economic, theological, political and social-justice workings of our institutional church.  Participating has enabled me to be involved in supporting and cultivating long term sustainability in the Diocese through opportunities for networking, broadening relationships and community building.

Leading intentional Missional Ministry in the Parish comes from my gospel-driven passion to imagine and practice transformative ministries.  Building upon the inheritance of our established Anglican tradition, I am enthusiastic about growing and equipping disciples in Christ while listening for and discerning the guiding of the Holy Spirit. I am not afraid to ‘fail-forward,’ as I have witnessed God working through those openings, sparking opportunities to connect us by our common humanity. With reverence, courage, and humility, our work is turning the church inside out, reconciling and integrating our faith and our actions.  In the spirit of our church-planting ancestors, we are calling the church to its identity as expressed in the Acts of the Apostles.

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

The Weight of the Collar

I am called to advocate for, be present to, and work with the marginalized – the indigenous, the LGBTQ, the downtrodden, the poor, the lonely, the oppressed, the broken.  To learn more, I took an excellent class on Indigenous Knowledge.  It was taught by a wise, respected, deeply spiritual Ojibway Elder who is known for his antagonism towards the historical church due to the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools and European colonization of this land.  The class had no formal introductions or conversations between the students and the professor – so the facts that my Grandfather went to Indian Residential School, and that I am Métis and clergy, never came up.

A year later at a public reconciliation event, the Holy Spirit brought us together again – only this time, I am Anglican clergy on duty, collar on.  He was leading the prayers at the opening ceremonies in his language and tradition.  When I went to thank him afterwards, for a very long moment he was speechless.  He was staring at me as if I were a ghost – then he simply said “I have never seen you in the collar before.”   By chance, later in the day, I came face to face with him again and again he said “I am still getting used to you in the collar,”  accompanied by dead silence and a very intense look.  It felt like the weight of 500 years of history was on my shoulders.  Recognizing the intensity of the situation, I was respectfully quiet, being present to the moment.

Balancing in the tension of the unresolved, the message that I work to embody is that ‘the church’ as an institution is willing and able to listen and learn, it recognizes mistakes made and has apologized, and is working very hard in many ways to restore right-relationships. This wisdom, learning and respect is deeply necessary in all of our church relationships with those who have been hurt by the system. Wearing a perceived sign of oppression and simultaneously bringing the liberating message of Jesus to all is integrating my identity as one who walks in both worlds.

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

Be bold in living our faith proclaiming Jesus, expanding our theology, gathering in the vulnerable and the marginalized, with reverence for all creation.