The Rev. Vicky Hedelius, BA M.Div. M.R.E.
The Rev. Vicky Hedelius, BA M.Div. M.R.E.
|Home Church Address|| |
Church of the Epiphany
same as Organization
Hamilton, ON L8V 4G1Canada
|Church Website URL|
|Organization Name|| |
Church of the Epiphany -- The Epiphany Life Centre
|Type of Organization|| |
|Your Position/Title within your Organization|| |
|Organization Address|| |
PO Box 80022 510 Concession St. Hamilton ON L8V 4G1
195 East 38th St.
Hamilton, ON L8V4G1Canada
|Organization Phone Number|
|Work of Ministry|| |
At-risk Women and Children Care (Crisis Pregnancy)
Special Needs population
Youth Development/At-risk Youth
|Organization Email|| |
|Description of Organization|| |
Epiphany is a small church plant (Church of the Epiphany, ANiC) based in Hamilton Ontario Canada. Hamilton's population is approximately 520,000. This Lake Ontario port city is divided into two by the Niagara escarpment. Epiphany is located on the upper section called 'The Mountain'. Hamilton, which was once a thriving steel city, is now depressed economically with the loss of the steel industry and other manufacturing jobs over the past 10 years. Poverty (physical, emotional and spiritual) along with decline of affordable housing has led to increased homelessness, family breakdowns, addictions, insufficient food and basic necessities, crime, abortions -- in other words Human Life is being devalued and hopelessness abounds. As Epiphany seeks to take an active part in the community, the Lord has led us to seek His Plan unconditionally At present, the Organization of this Life Affirming Centre is in its very early development and activities are limited due to resources (financial/human). Having to rent space in another denomination's church building leaves little room for expansion physically (meeting space, storage, office, programming etc.) Yet, we are not stagnant! We are establishing the heart of the Centre-- Epiphany Chapel --Jesus Christ and His Body the Church-- we are building a ministry with regular worship to feed the community spiritually along with Bible teaching, Prayer and Sacraments as the core. Flowing out from this is the ministry of Life Programs for all ages--men, women and children: the goal-- to equip the saints, teach new disciples, meet the hurting in their deepest needs spiritually, emotionally and physically. By embracing and upholding the Sanctity of Human Life from conception to natural death, the Centre is to be a place of safety for the vulnerable by offering community and support.
|Organization Years In Operation|| |
|Does your ministry offer internships?|| |
|Strengths of Organization|| |
1. Our Lord Has Placed His Vision in our Hearts! Since our establishing in 2010, we have been 'pruned down' by the Lord and at times one can't help but say 'Why Lord?' But, as we step back and take stock we can see that it has been a strength. We have learned to be 100% dependent upon Him. He has opened doors of opportunity to really learn how precious Life is and that His Church must no longer be silent in upholding the Sanctity of Human Life. It's not about buildings, congregational numbers, politics (governmental or church), or even programs. It's about Him and His desire to be in relationship with all people. It's about Jesus Christ, The Way, The Truth and The Life -- and His Good News for each and every person-- the gift of life in this world lived out His Way-- until He calls us home. 2. We are Mobile. Although it is difficult not having a permanent home at present we are like many in Scripture-- mobile--ready to move wherever and whenever His Holy Spirit leads. 3. Learning to partner with others. Epiphany is reaching out to other organizations on the Mountain that are already established in meeting some of the many needs of the vulnerable and these organizations are reaching out to us. For example,we are donating food weekly to the Neighbour to Neighbour Food Bank which also helps the unemployed with job searches; children/youth with academic tutoring and N2N is inviting us to participate in these initiatives. We are donating items to The Mountain Kidz Klub which offers a food pantry, clothing closet, household items, after school programs and this organization has asked us to assist in 'life skills' events for women and we began in December. We are in partnership with The Hamilton Pregnancy Centre which provides counselling and support for women, men, who are facing unplanned pregnancies as well as post abortion counselling. They wanted prayer shawls for the women who complete the Healing program and we send hand knit shawls regularly. We offer support in providing baby supplies, and hopefully we soon will be partnering to host a 'baby's first year program'. Overall, our strength is in building relationships with all these groups. 4. Anglicans for Life teaching, support and training. Through Georgette Forney and her team at AFL, I personally have been empowered to respond to God's Call to become the Canadian National Director and establish Anglicans for Life Canada. This has been life changing for us as we develop Epiphany's Life Centre within ANiC. We are building new relationships across Canada, and the United States. 5. ACNA and Matthew 25 Gathering This opportunity to come to Austin and meet ACNA brothers & sisters in Christ will make us even stronger.
|Would you consider your role part time or full time within justice and mercy ministry?|| |
|How many years have you been in ministry among the vulnurable, marginalized, and under-resourced?|| |
|What training did you receive that equipped you for justice and mercy ministries?|| |
Lay ministry in a grass roots organization to sponsor and establish South East Asian refugees 'The Boat People" into our area (late 1970's) Seminary (graduated and ordained in 1995) M.R.E. (Master in Religious Education) to work with children & their families Twenty one years ordained ministry. Co-ordinated the sponsorship of members of an Iraqi Christian family and reunited them with members already in Hamilton (2009) Much of my training has been 'on the ground'. My whole life has been an 'equipping' through family, church, seminary, parish ministry. Personal loss in my life has also taught me what it is like to be on the receiving end of justice and mercy ministry.
|What are your primary concerns for the ministry?|| |
My primary concern is the procurement, in the next few months, of resources (financial/ human) along with increased partnerships (especially with health care providers) to equip the Epiphany Life Centre for the greatest challenge yet. Sadly, Canada is on the brink of legalizing Physician Assisted Suicide. If the Federal Government fails to complete and pass a new law in the next 3 months, (which is a real possibility) we will have no law. This opens the door to great abuses-- for 'the slippery slope' of 'right to die' will soon become the 'duty to die'. All Canadians are at risk especially the poor, the physically and emotionally ill, the mentally challenged and the elderly. Those with Power will choose whose life is more valuable and whose is expendable. Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals are, also, at great risk. Most oppose the idea and are especially fearful that legislation will say they must comply or at least refer the patient to a doctor who will do the deed. Some medical staff are already suffering from the emotional stress and are having to seek psychological counselling. This is not the time for the church to be silent but rather to 'storm the gates of hell' but for many, this isn't even on their radar yet! Across Canada, we need new and creative safe spaces such as the Epiphany Life Centre, excellent Hospice care (end of life care), along with other partnerships in place -- ready and able to protect those most vulnerable in our communities.
|What feels like the most difficult aspect of your life in ministry?|| |
I would say it is the feeling of Isolation. We are extremely small with few resources so in human terms, the vision/ministry/call is ridiculous -- but God has Called and we're answering to the best of our ability and we're still here! Trying to define the ministry to others is often difficult because there's nothing to compare it to in our area. As a leader, it would be encouraging to have another leader who 'gets it' come along side and be willing to share as a mentor/support.
|What gives you the greatest joy?|| |
Those moments when the Holy Spirit breaks through and the Light of Christ shines! It happens at the most unpredictable time, yet when it does, healing happens: body, mind, spirit! When God shows up whether it is in times of worship or in a daily life moment He changes lives. Community, also, brings me joy. Having opportunities to meet and share in conversation and prayer is a blessing.
|What spiritual disciplines help sustain you in your rhythms of life among the vulnerable, marginalized, and under-resourced?|| |
Prayer, prayer, prayer; Bible Study & Meditation; Times of Silence (not easy for an extrovert); Worship - corporate and individual; Community -- celebration
|What would you like fellow Anglicans (bishops, churches, the average parishioner) to know about your ministry?|| |
Epiphany Life Centre needs our fellow Anglicans to partner with us because upholding The Sanctity of Human Life is not an 'option' according to the word of God. So important is this reality, that ACNA has included it in the Canons. Practical ways of meeting this mandate are doable when we work together.-- Canon 8 Of Standards of Sexual Morality and Ethics Section 3 - reads: "God, and not man, is the creator of human life. The unjustified taking of life is sinful. Therefore, all members and clergy are called to promote and respect the sanctity of every human life from conception to natural death."
|How would you like fellow Anglicans (bishops, churches, the average parishioner) to grow in regards to justice and mercy issues?|| |
There are opportunities everywhere but first each Anglican must acknowledge the sanctity of every human life. Once we see people through God's eyes and love them with His heart, then we can serve as Jesus teaches and the Holy Spirit leads.
|What are your favorite books related to justice and mercy issues?|| |
Right now I am reading "Restoring All Things -- God's Audacious Plan to Change the World through Everyday People" by Warren Cole Smith and John Stonestreet. (Baker Books ISBN 978-0-8010-0030-0) John was a speaker at the Summit (DOMA & AFL) "Mobilizing the Church For Life' in January. His (and all the speakers) presentations are on the Anglicans for Life website: http://anglicansforlife.org/summit-2016-mobilizing-the-church-for-life/
|What are your favorite movies related to justice and mercy issues?|| |
The Drop Box
|What are your favorite websites/organizations related to justice and mercy issues?|| |
www.anglicansforlife.org Anglicans for Life; www.epcc.ca Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Canada; www.colsoncentre.org Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview
|Anything else you would wish us to know?|| |
I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this event and am looking forward to learning how God is equipping His church across ACNA.
|What do you wish people knew about justice ministry in general or specific arenas of justice work?|| |
At the core -- Each human life is to be valued as a gift from Almighty God. He desires a personal relationship with each person and longs to see His people share and care for all in need as Jesus taught us by word and example.
|What would you like to see happen in ACNA in regards to work of justice and mercy?|| |
I would like to see ACNA increase the emphasis of priority in building new bridges between ministries so that Anglicans working together across North America can be more fully united. One of the weaknesses of our new church is that Canadian and US Anglicans often work on solving problems and building ministries without taking into consideration 'national blinders' and biases.The border between our two countries is very prevalent in our ministries. Although we speak the same language, our cultures have differences and, therefore, we don't always understand each other's ways, practices and needs. In order to grow as North American Anglicans, ordinary folks (clergy and laity) need education, training and opportunities to identify individual, corporate and national strengths, weaknesses, and differences in culture etc. This openness will allow His Holy Spirit to strengthen, equip and empower this new Church to be truly united in Christ through word and action.
|Tell us a bit about your story and your heart for justice and mercy.|| |
Very briefly: I was raised in a large family in Toronto Ontario, my parents taught us to always be respectful of others especially those different from ourselves. My dad, a WWII vet spent 4 years in a prisoner of war camp in Hong Kong. His example of 'unconditional love' made an impression on many people's lives. Over the years he worked as a volunteer mentoring people who were marginalized. For example, every Christmas night for many years he went to the local community centre (where he worked as a maintenance man during the week) and personally put on an open house and buffet for anyone who needed a safe place to 'celebrate'. Many who were trying to 'stay clean' and were alone would come. Ambulance, fire, and police personnel on duty that night would drop in. Everyone was welcome (no drugs, no booze) to drop in have a bite to eat enjoy the company for the evening (or grab a bite to eat and get back to work). Dad had many stories to share about how people from everywhere and nowhere came together in that 'safe space'. In the late 1970's, as a young mother, I was part of a grassroots group that sprang up out of the Anglican Churches in our area in response to the South East Asian Boat People crisis. I became the co-ordinator in my area and we successfully sponsored and supported a number of families. They relocated across the region, became Canadian citizens and self supportive, trained in new jobs, raised families and integrated into their communities. Called by God into ordained ministry, I've been pastoring people in many different situations for the past 21 years. In my last parish, I had the privilege of assisting in the sponsorship and reuniting of members of a Christian Iraqi family safely into Hamilton. They are now fully self supporting and members of an Assyrian Christian Church.