The Reverend Matthew H. McMillan

Richmond Hill, Ontario

October 4th, 2022

The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

Dear People of St Peter’s Cobourg,

It is with humility and excitement that I look forward to being with you at the beginning of December.  It was 16 years ago that Matt Kidd and I had the joyful task of walking with the youth of the parish, prior to our ordinations, as your Youth Ministers.  It was a wonderful experience and I look forward to being back with you this Advent, as we will gather together in the season that anticipates the Word made flesh.  We all will have changed in the intervening years, and I hope that what I’ve lost in my thinning hair, I’ve made up in my learnings!  I am excited to be with you soon and introducing my family to you too.

As I spoke with Bishop Shaw about becoming part of the search process for St. Peter’s, I was impressed by the efforts and sacrifice your community has journeyed through and overcome, despite the hurdles before you.  Your efforts to work together, collaborate and focus on being the light of Christ in your community is a testimony to your trust that the Lord will light our path and that seeds sown in love bear much fruit.

I am eager to begin working with all of you, and adding my help and labour to build, expand and grow St. Peter’s.  When we gather as people of faith and as Christians to discern what is holy, what gives life and to support each other, the Holy Spirit will speak to us.  And as we listen to the leading of the Spirit, we uncover and find the true riches of life.  Which is a joy not rooted in the material world, but in something that transcends it.  I commit to walking and working with you, as we labour to share that joy and grace with our community and beyond.

As an Anglican priest, I’ve presided at many weddings, baptisms and funerals.  I personally take great care to lift people up spiritually when they come together in faith.  Throughout my parish appointments, I have found the learned wisdom of a good priest friend to be true.  He suggested that there are three keys to church growth.  They are:  i) loving the people,  ii) inspiring with music,  iii) and having a sense of humour.  I agree with my good friend and I promise to do my best to ensure that all 3 become the hallmark of our shared ministry together.

I know that St Peter’s is very committed to connecting in meaningful ways with the wider community.  When I was ordained as a Transitional Deacon at St. Paul’s, Bloor Street, just over 15 years ago, I vowed to ‘interpret to the church the needs, hopes and concerns of the world’ – a vow that your parish deacons and I take seriously.  In our walk of faith as Christians, we are always to remember the calling that our fullest selves are only revealed when we see the world beyond ourselves.  With so many responsibilities in life and in parish ministry, it can become easy to forget to look up and out into the world.  I look forward to walking and working with the people of St. Peter’s to ensure that the world and its needs are served through our fellowship, prayer and labours.

My wife Pam and I are excited and anxious like many of you about what lies in store.  We thank the parish in advance for your support of our 4 children, who are now preparing for this move.  Changing schools, finding new friends, joining new teams and adapting to a new community will be challenging, but at the same time exciting!  Our family is ready for a new beginning and a new chapter in our lives at St. Peter’s with you.

Our eldest Riley is 22, and is a software developer in Toronto.  He often comes home most weekends to help me with Sunday duties and to check in on his younger siblings.  Our daughter Keely is 20 and is in her 3rd year at Queens.  Keely is working on an English Degree and is currently considering editing for a possible career path.  Molly is 9 years old and is in grade 4.  She is currently on her school’s Cross-Country team.  When she isn’t running, she’s usually immersed in something artistic, athletic or musical.  Our youngest, Dougal will be 7 in December, and is in grade 2.  He started piano lessons this fall and is doing well, but he’s almost always building Lego.  Whenever we try to find him for a meal or if we’re trying get ready for school, he’s always downstairs building!  My wife Pam is the anchor of our family and works hard to keep us all on track.  Pam is a High School Math Teacher in Bradford and is presently applying to your local School Board in Cobourg for a new job.  Her teaching specialties are Math & Science.  We are all very hopeful about moving into the community and settling in amongst you in the rectory.  We would like to say a big thank you to those who’ve been involved in the cleaning and upkeep of the rectory.  Thank you for making it ready for our imminent arrival!

I come to you with authenticity and energy.  Some have actually suggested that I am too energetic!  But, I firmly believe what St. Irenaeus says, that ‘the glory of God is in people who are fully alive.’  I desire to see God’s glory reflected in my life and in our ministry together.  Thanks be to God that by the power of the Holy Spirit we are called to bring that glory to the world as His Church, ‘seeking Christ in all others, and loving our neighbours as ourselves’.   In the days ahead, please know that I will be praying for you and I ask that you pray for me, as I prepare to come to serve you and the Lord at St. Peter’s.  May the Lord bless us all, as we embark on this new journey together.

In faith and friendship,

Fr. Matthew+