The St. George Chapel Garrison Petawawa is the chapel on base that encompasses all the Christian denominations except the Roman Catholics (who have their own chapel). On Saturday January 28th, and Sunday the 29th 2023, the Anglicans in the community celebrated two important events in the life of the Anglican community. On Saturday, the chapel hosted clergy from the Parish of the Valley and Ottawa, and the Diocese of Central Newfoundland, as Lt.Cmdr. Matthew Squires was ordained a transitional deacon in the Diocese of Central Newfoundland jointly by the Rt. Rev’d Nigel Shaw (Bishop of the Anglican Military Ordinariate), and the Rt. Rev’d John Watton (Bishop of the Diocese of Central Newfoundland).
The event was supported by the chaplains on the garrison, both Protestant and Roman Catholic. The young man, Nathanial Glandon, who was the acolyte, had been confirmed by Bishop Shaw last November.
On Sunday the 29th, Bishop Shaw confirmed Autumn Bridgewater and Alex Whittaker. When Bishop Shaw visited in November, he also confirmed Tristan and Isabell Glandon and Isla Bridgewater. The children being confirmed are all children of current or retired military members, and Alex Whittaker is a commander of a unit on the garrison. It is a way to get the families more involved in the chapel community.
The local Anglican clergy work with the military Anglican clergy, so there was support for Matthew Squires.
MY JOURNEY TOWARDS THIS ORDINATION to the diaconate in the Anglican Church of Canada begin in 2008. I was sensing a calling to military chaplaincy, but needed to complete a Master of Divinity degree (MDiv). My wife, daughter, and I were living in St. John’s at the time, and assisting in a Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador church plant as a Pastor (later ordained in 2010).
Eager to expand my theological education (I already had a BTh in Pastoral Studies) and open to being exposed to a very different Christian tradition, I began studying at Queen’s College, the Anglican seminary located on the Memorial University Campus in St. John’s, Newfoundland. I was now on the road towards military chaplaincy and completing a MDiv.
While attending Queen’s College I grew to appreciate Christian traditions and rituals that I had essentially never been exposed to growing up in an evangelical environment. After completing my MDiv in 2012, I carried on applying for Regular Forces Chaplaincy as a Pentecostal Pastor, not realizing the impact Queen’s College had made on my faith.
Throughout the last ten years as a Chaplain with the CAF, I often found myself wrestling with an inner pull towards the faith expression I was introduced to for the first time in 2008 while attending Queen’s College.
I began to open up about my spiritual journey with the Bishop of the Anglican Military Ordinate (AMO), Bishop Nigel Shaw, in 2017. I remember this 90 minute (or so) conversation as being profoundly definitive. Because timing was important to my family, and identifying with a religious tradition you expect will feed your spiritually and shape your values, morals, and ethics is not a matter to be taken lightly, it still took me from 2017 until now to take the leap. And it was like experiencing a homecoming.
As a transitional deacon I hope to be ordained to the priesthood in roughly six months. While my residential Diocese is Central Newfoundland (where I may one day retire to from the CAF, and return to civilian ministry), I will remain on loan to the AMO and serve where I am posted. In the meantime, as I wait for ordination to the priesthood, I have been blessed with a wonderful family of local Anglican priests and parishioners, willing to invest in and prepare me for this sacrificial service to the Church and community. So drop by either St. George’s Chapel on Garrison Petawawa, Holy Trinity Anglican Church Pembroke, or maybe even All Saints’ Anglican Church Petawawa some Sunday, and say hi.