Helping the Church Communicate
Linking Parishes, Dioceses and People
Today is: Tuesday,04 August,2020 03:47:19 PM

For more information, please contact:

The Rev'd Dr. Ron Barnes
758 Varney Court
Kelowna, BC  V1W 3Z2
Cell Phone: 778-214-4551
Home Phone: 250-764-9811

Who I am:
I was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, September 30th, 1934. Baptised at St Thomas Church Huron St, in January 1935, and raised in North Toronto. Attended John Wanless Public School and Lawrence Park Collegiate. It was in 1951, when I was 17, that I came to a knowledge of Jesus Christ as my Saviour and Lord, at the time of my Confirmation. About a year later, I felt that that Lord was calling me into the priesthood. This was a surprise to me and my family because I thought I was heading for engineering.

So in 1952, I entered the University of Toronto for a BA (honour) in Philsophy and History. At the same time, I learned how to be a server at the Altar. My parish church did not allow servers, so I had to move from St. Timothy's to xxx serve at the Altar. I graduated from U of T in 1956, and took a job as an engineer in the Bell Telephone Co of Canada. I wanted a year out working before I entered the seminary, to be sure of my call to the priesthood. At the end of this time, I flew to England, and bicycled around, visiting 28 Cathedrals and churches, and many assorted pubs. Even hitchhiked to Paris, together with with Bill Crockett, for a visit there.

In the fall of 1957, I entered Divinity at Trinity College, Toronto, for a 3 year program leading to ordination. At the end of this time, I was accepted by the Archbishop of Algoma, (the Most Rev'd William L. Wright) as a candidate for ordination. I was ordained Deacon on May 8th, 1960 in the Lakehead, and ordained priest on Feb 22nd 1961 in Birk's Falls, ON. At the same time, I became a priest associate of the Order of the Holy Cross, a monastic community for men in the Anglican/Episcopal Church. That Rule of Life of OHC has guided me spiritually ever since.

On May 21st, 1960, I was best man at the wedding of Fr. Bill and Jean Crockett at Trinity College Chapel, Toronto. It was at the Reception that I met a lovely blonde named Beverley, and I was smitten. She was a Public Health Nurse in Gravenhurst, ON, which happened to be in the diocese of Algoma. So since I had just been posted to St Mary Magdalene's Church (Sturgeon Falls) and then moved to St. John's North Bay, it was a nice drive south to Gravenhurst on Sunday afternoons to see her. We married at Trinity College Chapel, Toronto, ON, on June 21, 1961. In November of that year, the Archbishop appointed me as parish priest of St Saviour's Blind River with St James Massey. I was to be there for 7 years, loving as many of them as I could into the Kingdom of God. During that time, our 4 children (Cathie, Heather, Bonnie, and Charles) were born. In 1967, I was part of Anglican Church Canoe Camp which canoed 655 miles from Cam Manitou on Lake Huron, to Montreal, PQ, with 32 boys and 7 staff in 6 26foot canoes, doing 55 portages in 17 days. We were the only Canoe Trip to go to Expo that year without trucks, doing everything on our backs. I was in the stern of Fauquier, a 26 foot freighter canoe, as well as being the quartermaster for the trip. That meant I was in charge of the food and meals. Quite a trip; quite a memory. We had a mass every morning. And prayers at night. I shall never forget that adventure.

In September 1969, The Bishop of the diocese of New Westminster called me to his diocese on the Pacific Coast, and inducted me as the parish priest of St.Barnabas, New Westminster, BC. This was an older church, completely surrounded by apartments. But I set out to do my usual parish visiting --- "a house going parson makes a church going people", says the old slogan. But after 8 visits in an afternoon, at which I could not reach anyone, I was stymied. The electric door at the apartmemnts stopped me dead. When I pushed the buzzer, I was greeted by "sorry, I'm not available for a visit now". I had to change. So, I handed my secretary a list of parishioners to phone, street by street. Phone and line up appointments for me, at one of these times. And she did. And suddenly I had a list of appointments with parishioners who had agreed to welcome me; and it all worked. I visited apartments 4 afternoons per week until I had visited everyone; and then I started over again with those who weren't coming. It worked. Because there was a need, I started a Day Care in the lower Parish Hall. It took a while for the Day Care Boards to authorize it, because I wanted the staff and children to be free to practise their faith. The parish had a representativeon the Board. Finally, with pressure from the Premier, David xxx, the Day Care was opened, and was filled immediately with children from all the apartments. (the priest who succeeded me doubled it in size --- it is still a very successful Day Care.) I also brought in changes in the Sunday Services. From an average of 30 people on Sunday, the average rose to 80. And then I moved the 10am traditional mass to 11am, and began a contemporary mass with a nave altar at 9:30am. It grew, and I had to move the Sunday School to 9:30am to accommodate all the kids. I also was the first priest in the diocese to use women as Eucharistic Ministers, wanting everyone to know that we were all equal before the Lord.  The average total attendance grew to 150. Thangs were looking up. I brought in Fr. Christian Swayne from the Order of the Holy Cross for a weeklong Parish Mission. With advertising and word of mouth, we had over 60 every evening. People made a commitment to Christ for the first time, others renewed their growth in Christ. Everyone was thrilled. St.Barnabas, which had been a mission parish became a self-supporting parish, and took part in diocesan affairs. The Lord was blessing the parish. It was good. And then I was moved by the Bishop.

In 1975, Easter Day, I celebrated my final mass at St.Barnabas, and was moved to St.Clement's Church in Lynn Valley, North Vancouver. I was to be there for almost 14 years. For a year Bev and I and the family (4 children) lived in a rented house, waiting for the parish to build a new rectory. At the beginning, the Canonical Committee had interviewed me, and I listened patiently to all that they said about what kind of a priest they wanted. I acknowledged all that they said. And then, when they asked me what I would like to suggest, I told them the truth. I told them that if they asked the Bishop to send me to them, I intended to introduce the new BAS instead of the old Prayer Book. I would introduce new songs as well as the old hymns. I would work to make the parish selfsupporting. I would do more teaching that preaching. And most of all, I would bring Matins (2 Sundays per month) to an end, replacing it with an every Sunday Eucharist, with male and female servers and Eucharistic Ministers. If they were not happy with this, please tell the Bishop that they did not want me. I wanted them to know what I was like, and what I would do, so that there was no misunderstandings. And then I went home. I found out later that they were unanimous --- they wanted me and my program. One parishioner said that what I proposed was exactly what the parish needed --- and the Sunday before I arrived would be his last Sunday --- he was moving to another parish. And so it happened.

I fell in love with St. Clement's. There were 33 people coming each Sunday when I started, and an average of 165 when I left. Everything I had told them, I did, and more. I taught and taught the Faith year by year. A new rectory was built behind the church. The Parking Lot was paved. I visited every home in the parish regularly, afternoons or evenings, depending on what was best for them.  I introduced a Memorial Garden for the burial of ashes of the departed, with a Memorial book in the Chapel. I brought in male and female servers and Eucharistic Ministers, and after 7 years, brought Matins slowly to only 3 times per year. And then 22 people signed a petition to bring back Matins. It was time to fish or cut bait. I met with all 22, and listened carefully. And then worked out several compromises that used Matins and the Eucharist together, once per month. We tried it for 6 months, met again, and worked out some changes. All the while I visited every home of those 22 people several times in the year, not to discuss but to be pastoral. At the end of the year, I met with the 22 again --- and they agreed that I had really tried, but that they wanted Matins back. And I refused. I told them that I had listened to them all, had tried to work with them carefully, but that my decision was, as I had told them when I first came --- the Eucharist would be celebrated every Sunday, as was happening across the diocese and across Canada. It was my decision to make, and it was made. To their credit, not one of those 22 left the parish. And it was onwards and upwards from that point on.

A new organist was secured, and he not only improved the music, but began the St.Clement's Youth Orchestra, teens from the parish playing everything from a violin to guitar. It was great. The Youth Group grew, many of them also in the Server's Guild. A large anchor was found, was planted on conc rete on the front lawn of the church, and a plaque attached giving them the history of St.Clement himself. The altar was moved out, and after a year of discussions and meetings, the people opted to move the choir behind the Altar. Not one I would have chosen, but what they decided. The altar rail went clear around the altar.

In September 1978, I made my Cursillo (in Trail BC). Sure, the teaching was like Theology 101, but it combined the best of evangelicalism and the best of Catholicism in a manner that really appealed to me. I had given my life to Christ when I was 17, and then had learned that Anglicans were Catholics, and I wanted to know all the Faith. Cursillo combined it all into one, and energised the laity into active Ministers. I sent many of our parish to Cursillo, and that made things even better. Some members of the parish were active charismatics, meeting weekly in a prayer group in the parish. I encouraged them, and more came from the area. Then in 1983, Bev and I attended the Episcopal Renewal Movement in Dallas Texas, and I returned with the gift of Praying on Tongues. That Prayer Group was exstatic --- they had been praying I would be open to all this --- and the parish continued to grow in praise and enthusiasm. The Marriage Preparation that I had started in 1974, and was now meeting on thursdays in the Parish Hall, was spreading, and eventually it was meeting in 5 spots in the diocese. We normally met at St.Clements 8 months each year, with close to 20 couples each time. All together, the 5 spots meant that about 500 couples per year were receiving a 4 week Marriage Preparation Program. My belief was that Marriage Prep was best done by married couples, who walked the talk, and volunteered their time. That kept the cost down to only $60 per couple, and included the books they received. After 8 years of this, I took 3 months off to write the Manual for Marriage Preparation, as well as other reading. That Marriage Preparation Program was copied in many other places; but unfortunately, the diocese let it drop. They turned it over to a Counselling service, who used professional counsellors and jacked the cost to over $250 per couple. You live and learn.

Working with teams of parishioners, primarily Cursillistas, the parish grew stronger. We hired a part time Parish Woker to care for shutins and other groups. I continued to visit parishioner's homes following an old slogan: "a house going parson makes a church going people". It isn't as true today as 60 years ago, but it did increase attendance. In 1987, following the ideas of church growth practise, when the attendance reached an average of 80%, I decided to increase the Sunday Services from 2 to 3, meaning 8am, 9:15am, and 10:30am. I was able to make the 10:30am Eucharist more traditional to satisfy those who desired it so, and keep the 9:15am Eucharist more contemporary. Unfortunately, the traditional service did not grow. When I was moved to a different parish in Sept 1988, the parish reverted to an 8am and 10am Eucharist.

In September 1988, I was appointed by the Bishop to St John the Apostle, Port Moody. Why, I asked, could I not spend my last 10 years in a larger parish? Because, I was told, you have specialized in rebuilding parishes, and so here is another one to rebuild. (I was called a "Lazarus Priest" because as the Bishop told me, you are best at raising dead parishes to life".) And so I went to St.John's in Port Moody, with dreams of building up this parish. There was a total of 30 people my first Sunday. My first task was to make the parish self-supporting, and with the help of the Parish Council, that was accomplished by Jan 1st, 1989. We purchased mass vestments to be owned by the parish, and began plans to move the altar out, and revise the chancel and sanctuary. In effect, we moved the choir down to the congregations, and converted most of the chancel into sanctuary. A donation of an Aumbrey improved the sanctuary, as well as a new altar rail, and carpeting. The improvement was a hit with the congregation. The Servers Guild was restarted and enlarged with girls as well as boys; the use of Eucharistic Ministers was increased And the BAS became normal at both 8am and 10am Eucharists. The next Lent, I posted cardboard Stations of the Cross and used them weekly. That resulted in a parishioner donating beautiful wood and bronze Stations, and the number of people increased.

Soon after I started there, I was approached by a group who wanted to use our parish hall for a Food Bank. I agreed, secured the agreement of the Parish Council, and specified that it was to be a Single Parents' Food Bank. A year later, some parishioners became concerned about the way the group raised its money --- so we said thank you to that group, and took over the Food Bank as a parish project. With food from the Quest Society of St.James Church, Vancouver, we were able to provide better quality food in increased quantities every second thursday. I organized 13 of the single parents into a group to work at the Single Parents Food Bank, including 2 to operate the computer that kept track of all the users. Parishioners provided coffee, soup and buns for the single parents. We opened at 10am, so that people could arrive early, sit together and share without standing out in the rain (which was standard at most Food Banks), have some lunch before the food distribution at noon.  I was always present, talking with the parents, being a witness for Christ and the Church. So we became the only Food Bank in Vancouver that had no lineups, started with a Prayer, and allowed the users to choose the Food they needed. The local Food Bank was very annoyed with our existence, claiming there would be "double dipping" --- but my computer generated lists collected over 3 months proved that there was not one single case of double dipping. Share was never friendly, but they had a different clientel --- we were restricted to Single Parents, about 80 to 110 each Thursday. At Christmas time, many parishioners donated gifts for the children. It was a great outreach into the community, that paid for itself, and generated money for Quest as well. I understand it is still operating, though on a more restricted scale.

Most of my time was spent on saying mass, preaching the Gospel, teaching the Faith in Study Groups, visiting homes, and helping several home Bible Study Groups. I turned the twice monthly Wardens Meeting into a Cursillo Group Reunion, meaning that the Action section was our work and planning together for the Parish.

Near the end of my time at St.Clements, I had been elected as the Clerical Secretary of Synod. This meant not only taking the Minutes at Synod, but the monthly Diocesan Council as well. Being a computer type, I immediately brought my laptop to meetings, making the Minutes available online on my website the morning after each meeting. It seemed a pleasant surprise to all. So at the first Synod, I hid a printer under the head table, near to me, and printed out the Minutes for the Archbishop ready after each meal. Near the end of the Synod, I moved that Synod receive the Minutes of the Synod. "The time for Motions is past" said the Archbishop. "Not for this Motion, your grace", I said, as the Lay Secretary placed the printed Minutes of Synod before the Archbishop. He was definitely surprised, but never commented. It seems that copies of the Minutes of a Synod in May were usually available sometime in the next September from previous Secretaries. I continued this work as Clerical Secretary, always assisted by hellpful Lay Secretaries for 13 years. It was made easier by my typing all the Minutes about 2 weeks before the Synod, having only to fill in names, and whether a Motion was Carried or Defeated. Using a laptop changed the work of Synod, and the next day posting of the Minutes on my website meant that everyone in the diocese was able to read what was happening and comment on it. When I retired from Synod, I was given a standing ovation of thanks --- the only one I have every received.

I had purchased my first computer in 1985 from London Drugs with 2 floppy drives for $1300, running SanyoDOS. I had earlier used a Smith Corona typeriter and was able to purchase a $175 connection for the computer and typewriter, that allowed my computer to print sermons, letters, documents almost instantly. In 1989, I stepped up to a new colour computer with a 10 meg hard drive. (I thought I would never need a larger one --- how simple I was.) One afternoon I drove to St.Frances in West Vancouver at the invitation of Fr.Michael Ingham (later Bishop Ingham) to see his computer connect to several BBSs. That was my inspiration to begin my own BBS in 1990, and it was named NWnet, since I hoped it would become a BBS for the Diocese of New Westminster. Over the years, I spent more time learning different programs, moving to Microsoft programs since by this time I had 2 sons-in-law who worked for Microsoft. In 1995, at the suggestion of xxx at Vancouver School of Theology, I began my studies for a Doctor of Ministry in Computer Communication. At his suggestion I flew to Baltimore to meet 14 other students who were registered in the same program. That is when I was told about FirstClass (a Canadian software communication program, used mostly in schools) and agreed to use FirstClass as the practical part of my doctorate, as well as using it for the Communication Committee of the next Lambeth Conference (of 800 Bishops) in Canterbury in 1998.


Under Construction --- additions coming --- watch for them

 Last Modified: 15 August,2015