[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The primate of the Anglican Church of Canada has presented the province’s Anglican Award of Merit to Anglican Consultative Council member Suzanne Lawson. The Anglican Award of Merit is the highest honour given to lay people by the Church of Canada. Suzanne Lawson was one of five recipients of this award in 2016. The others were Jennifer Henry, an ecumenical social justice advocate; Trevor Powell, a church archivist; David Stovel, a portfolio manager and trustee for a number of church benefit plans; and Peter Whitmore, a judge and former chancellor of the diocese of Qu’Appelle.
The Council of General Synod approved the awards in April. Presenting the five nominations, general secretary Michael Thompson said that Suzanne Lawson had been nominated by the Diocese of Toronto. “She is the chair of the pastoral response advisory group, a bishops’ advisory body focused on the blessing of same-sex unions in the diocese, and has served as a member of the diocesan and provincial synods, General Synod, the Anglican Consultative Council and chair of the planning and agenda team.
“Lawson has also provided training and volunteer management expertise to the church. She is the author of Discerning, Deciding, Doing – A Process for Transformation: A Call to the Diocese of Toronto for the New Millennium.”
Speaking to the Anglican Journal, Suzanne Lawson said that she was both “honoured and humbled” to have been chosen as a recipient of the award.
“I have gradually and sometimes bumpily become who I am because of those within the church who, over my whole life, have taught, mentored and encouraged me,” she said. “In many ways, it should be their reward. I receive it to acknowledge the gratitude I feel towards them and towards this wonderful, complex church in which we live out our ministry together as Anglicans.”
On Sunday (16 October) Archbishop Fred Hiltz visited Lawson’s parish of St Peter’s in Cobourg to present the award.
In his sermon and citation, Archbishop Hiltz referred to Lawton’s “passionate commitment to the ministry of all the baptised, as demonstrated in her work with Christian adult education, strategic planning for the national church, and her advocacy for justice and reconciliation in the Communion.”
He said that she “brought process skills to every gathering, helping to build relationships among people and then getting them to work together in mission.”
The other 2016 recipients of the Anglican Church of Canada’s Anglican Award of Merit: Jennifer Henry, Trevor Powell, David Stovel and Peter Whitmore.
Photos: Anglican Journal