October 24 in Nanaimo: the induction of The Ven. Clara Plamondon took place, officially confirming her as rector of St Paul’s downtown parish. The Rt. Rev. Dr. Logan McMenamie officiated and, since Plamondon is the archdeacon for the Cowichan/Malaspina region, The Ven. Lincoln McKoen, archdeacon for the Nimpkish region, served in that necessary capacity.
Regional dean, the Rev. Jim Holland, presented Plamondon to the bishop, certifying that she was approved for this appointment. The bishop and she then exchanged the required questions and responses of this covenant; so too did she with the congregation – all signifying their commitment to each other in the future ministry of the parish. The usual and symbolic handing over of the church keys and the seating of the incumbent in the presider’s chair took place; with the official license given, applause broke out. Hard to get a focused photograph of Plamondon at this stage since she was bouncing up ‘n down in delight as people cheered.
The readings and music focused the liturgy on friendship: what it means to have “the love of Jesus call us,” love that “makes us one” and “companions on a journey.” Plamondon’s sermon, unpacked the Gospel passage from John 15; it focused on friendship and the fact that “what it means to be a disciple, with the love that transforms, is built on friendship.” She noted that it’s Jesus’ command: servants no longer, we are meant to be friends. Plamondon spent time recounting the 157-year history of St. Paul’s, known as “the heart of Nanaimo”: a parish known for its dedication to the people of city, whoever they be, for its welcome to strangers and for the trust and respect it witnesses to everyone. Plamondon honoured the parishioners for their years of “laying down their lives” in committed service.
She then reminded everyone that the trust in, the respect and openness shown to others is at the heart of discipleship. This is “relationship, this mutual love, which can be complicated, even messy,” but we are not to give up. In closing, she noted that at the end of each liturgy there, she sends people off with an instruction: “Go be a Friend.” She did so that afternoon.
Photo by Phyllis Thompson: After the liturgy, the official photograph included any clergy in attendance, any canons of the diocese (far left), the parish's two wardens (far right). Centred in the photo are Bishop Logan, new rector Clara Plamondon, and her mother Flo Milburn.