Below is the text from The Rev. Canon Dr. Byron Gilmore’s retirement announcement that he made on the 1st Sunday of Advent (December 3, 2023)
Dear Friends – after much prayer and discernment it has become clear to me that the time for me to retire has come. So, I announce to you that I will retire at the end of April 2024 with my last Sunday with you being the second Sunday of Easter - April 7th – four months from now.
It has been an honour and a privilege to be your Pastor these past nearly 19 years.
I am deeply grateful for how you have supported me and my family in our years together among you. It has been such a joy and a privilege, and I speak for Kim, Spencer and Avery in adding their own thank-you to mine.
I am so thankful for the way my life and the life of my family were nurtured by our lives together with you. Christ Church was, and is, a great church to grow up in. Our sons enjoyed a fulsome Sunday School and youth program and grew up loved by you; Kim found deep fulfilment in working among the children, youth and families of our parish and I have found my deepest vocational joy among you.
At the end of the day, all I can say is: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
So, what are the “next steps” for Christ Church Brampton?
A Parish Selection Committee will be formed to assist our Area Bishop in his appointment of your next Rector; and, to this end we will be having a special Vestry Meeting in three weeks time on Sunday December 17th following the Lessons & Carols Service to elect members of that selection committee.
The committee will work closely with both our Area Bishop, Bishop Kevin Robertson and our local territorial Archdeacon, the Venerable Steven Mackison in the process of discernment that will lead to the appointment of the next Rector of Christ Church Brampton.
I will be here for the next four months, which will, no doubt, fly by.
During our remaining time together, we won’t be standing still. We have great things planned for the Advent and Christmas seasons both in worship, outreach and family programs which are already well under way.
During the coming winter and Lenten season, we will be focusing on prayer with a “small group” study program meeting for eight weeks – with groups meeting either on zoom or in person. You won’t want to miss this one and why not bring a friend?
In conjunction with this study, there will be a one-day prayer retreat led by our own Dr. Wanda Malcolm.
At the end of the next four months our Bishop will appoint an interim Pastor to care for you until your new Incumbent arrives.
I am certain that through this time of transition you will be in good hands. We have very fine Church Wardens and an excellent staff as well as many dedicated volunteers.
I am confident that you have nothing to fear - for our God is the bearer of all good gifts.
One final thought:
Christ Church Brampton is a mission-focused, vibrant, multicultural parish community in the heart of one of Canada’s fastest growing cities. Folks - There is life here.
The things which attracted you and others here, the things that engage you and keep you here are the very same things that will attract your new Priest. There is life here. There is joy.
Now, I want to tell you a little secret about clergy. Clergy talk and clergy like to talk to each other.
One thing I have always done when discerning another ministry possibility is to call the former Incumbent of that ministry. I can clearly remember calling Canon Kim Beard, who was, of course, my predecessor here at Christ Church. I can remember distinctly feeling myself becoming more and more excited about what he shared with me. Finally, at the end of our conversation, I asked, “Kim, is there anything further that you should tell me about Christ Church Brampton”?
“Byron”, he said, “It’s a great parish and you will have great years there”.
I stand before you today to say “thank you” for the years we have had together and to tell you that’s exactly what I will say. “It’s a great parish and you will have great years there”.
So, I want to read you a passage of scripture which I think is very appropriate for today. A Reading from Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi – the letter to the Philippians 1:1-11
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.
I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that on the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
Let us pray….
Lord, I thank you for Christ Church Brampton and for its mission and its people. I thank you for your provision and your faithfulness to this community over these past 172 plus years.
I give you thanks for faithful servants who have served you in this community since its inception; and, I give you thanks for the privilege of having been called to serve you here.
And now, Oh Lord, we thank you for the future where you already reign. Help us to follow you into that future. And we pray, even now, for the one whom you will call to serve as the next pastor of this community – move upon their heart, give them wisdom and discernment and remove any barriers that may seem, for them, to be in place.
We ask these things in the name of the one who has called us and who loves us, your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.