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Canadian pioneer of Church communications awarded Honorary Degree

Posted on: May 10, 2017 2:05 PM
Related Categories: Canada, communications

Archdeacon Paul Feheley, Principal Secretary to the Primate of Canada, has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity by the University of Trinity College in the University of Toronto. Archdeacon Paul has worked in communications for the Anglican Communion at the Lambeth Conference of Bishops, the Primates’ Meetings and the Anglican Consultative Council. The University said it was offering the degree in recognition of his “progressive leadership within the National Church, and at local, national and international levels, in the furthering of the vision and mandate of the Anglican Church of Canada, particularly through involvement with communications within the global Church.”

Archdeacon Paul described the degree ceremony as “an absolutely wonderful experience” but added: “Ministry never happens alone; this is an individual honour that really belongs to a whole company of people who have been so important; it is a moment in time where a body of work over the years, with lots and lots of pieces of accumulative ministry, has been recognised.”

In a citation written for the awards ceremony, Bishop Philip Poole, a retired Bishop of the Diocese of Toronto, said Paul Feheley, who has served in seven parishes, had been an “influence for good in the life of the Anglican Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and the world as a musician, communicator, a pastor, a reconciler, administrator, visionary and man of God.” He recalled Archdeacon Paul’s early role in communications, dating back to television appearances in the 1970s: “Paul presented the Christian faith in an intelligent, creative and effective way, filled not with easy answers but with engaged thinking.” 

Archdeacon Paul has had a longstanding involvement with The Anglican, the award winning newspaper of the Diocese of Toronto. He has also written extensively for religious and secular publications. In 2008, amid tensions in the Anglican Communion over human sexuality, Archdeacon Paul was seconded to the Lambeth Conference staff to help interface with the world and its religious and secular media. Subsequently he worked on the communications team of the Anglican Consultative Council in Jamaica and Zambia and assisted with communications for the Primates Meetings: “Paul is noted for his diplomacy, his ability to help polarised sides listen to one another and his outstanding skill at helping bring reconciling of divergent positions. He is, as an aside, one of the most recognised Canadians in the Anglican Communion.”

Bishop Poole also paid tribute to Archdeacon Paul’s spiritual contribution to the Church: “Paul is a man of prayer. Those who know him know that to be so. It is given public expression in his music, his liturgical gifts, in workshops he has led and in his position as National Director of the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer. Paul is a man who moves just as easily among royalty and the senior Prelates of our worldwide communion as he does among the least........Paul understands each person to be created in the image of God and he respects the dignity and value of every human being.”