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Dear friends in Christ, 

It was with great joy that I came to this parish, and with great joy I write this letter to share my retirement news. I will retire on August 31st as incumbent of St. George-in-the-Pines in Banff and St. Michael Church in Canmore. It has been an honour to minister here. I truly enjoyed every day, and I am grateful for the hard work and dedication of our congregations that make this a great place to share the Good News about Jesus Christ.

I thank each member of the team who welcomed me when I arrived in 2014, as well as those, ordained and lay-persons, who ministered here before me and who shared their wisdom. On my first day I noticed someone had kindly left me two books to read. First and foremost was the Bible, and next to it was How to Hit the Ground Running by Neal Michell.

In these eight years our churches have been busy. Food and Friends and many other programs at St. Michael’s have gone from strength to strength, and we refurbished the hall in Banff to enable the establishment of Food and Friends there. We introduced Alpha and home groups. We got through the years of the pandemic, learning new technology to minister to people in the Bow Valley and further afield. In practical terms, both churches have new roofs, accessible washrooms and new hall floors. We have seen God’s faithfulness in providing for our churches to enable us to serve our communities.

I am grateful for the many opportunities I’ve received at both churches and through the Diocese of Calgary. Special thanks go to our Archbishop, Greg, and to Executive Archdeacon Pilar Gateman.

Thank you to all members who have served as wardens and on the councils of both churches, and to our ministry team; what a talented group. To members of the congregations—your kindness demonstrated the love that Jesus said we should have for one another. There is not a single person in our churches who has not contributed to God’s work here. You have been a gift to me. I will be thinking of you as I get busy with other interests such as singing, writing, hiking and travelling. With all of you involved in ministry, there is no doubt in my mind that both churches will continue to thrive and grow. I wish you well.

And please do not worry about how we will choose a new minister. The Anglican Church of Canada has a detailed procedure which has always succeeded in finding a new incumbent. In fact, the diocese and the wardens of the two churches have things well in hand. Please support them with your prayers for this search to be guided by the Holy Spirit.

Carol and I will continue to live in Canmore. I will no longer be your parish priest, but I hope we will remain your friends. I ask for your prayers as I begin a new phase in my life.
Again, thank you for everything you have done for St. Michael and St. George-in-the-Pines Anglican Churches. It’s been a pleasure serving you. May God bless you, one and all.
With sincere appreciation,

Howard Thornton