Introducing the Rev. Harold Munn, Priest-in-Charge Nov-May

Introducing the Rev. Harold Munn, Priest-in-Charge Nov-May

John Bailey has completed his time with us as of October 31st, following  the original plan for the interim period while we sought a new rector.

On behalf of the parish, the wardens would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to John for bringing us through this interim period over the past 18 months; through changes in staff, vestry 2017, much administration, pastoral care, and our weekly worship.

For clerical coverage from November 1st to May, we are pleased to announce the Trustees have accepted the recommendation from the Diocese that Harold Munn be appointed as Priest-in-Charge at St. Philip’s until the arrival of Stuart Hallam next May.

The Rev'd Canon Dr. Harold Munn

Harold was born in Victoria, B.C., and lived as a young person at various times in Lytton and Prince Rupert. He graduated in 1967 from the University of Victoria with a BA in English and Classics with as much science as he could fit in, and then taught high school English, physics, biology and math in Malawi, East Africa, with CUSO for three years.

Harold completed a degree in theology at Trinity College, Toronto, and then was ordained in the Diocese of Yukon in 1973, where he served in mining communities and  First Nations villages in isolated parts of northern Yukon and later at the Cathedral in Whitehorse. Claire and Harold married in 1974 and while in the Yukon became parents to twin sons. One is a priest in this diocese, working full-time at Covenant House with street kids on the DES while completing his curacy at St. Anne's in Steveston, and the other is a fire-fighter paramedic in Edmonton.

In 1980 Harold was appointed rector of Christ Church Edmonton, and in 1986 Dean and Rector of All Saints' Cathedral in the diocese of Edmonton. Harold became an informal chaplain to the Native and Métis staff in an inner city women's shelter. Claire painted windows in the shelter to shield the residents from prying eyes on the street. In 1993 Harold received the degree of Doctor of Ministry from St. Stephen's College (a post-graduate theological college of the United Church) at the University of Alberta, doing research on the world views of articulate non-believers, and received an honorary doctorate in 1995 from Trinity College, Toronto. During that time Harold served on a number of national church committees and attended several General Synods.

Harold and his family moved to Victoria in 1998 where he became rector of St. John the Divine - a church that was deeply involved in the arts and with social justice issues in the inner city. Harold was active at the street level and on city, provincial, and federal committees with local issues of poverty, homelessness and addictions. Harold continues to visit in prisons in the Valley where he is honoured with friendships of people whom he first met through those ministries. Following his official retirement in 2011, Harold taught for three years at VST mentoring Anglican ordination-track students. In 2012 Harold was asked to be priest-in-charge of All Saints' Burnaby, and in 2013 of St. Anselm's at UBC.

Harold is collaborating on  a modern version of a medieval bestiary with a cousin in the UK, and writing a book on the reasons for contemporary disbelief in western society and how it can be the source of strength for the church. For several years Harold wrote a column on contemporary church issues for the Anglican Journal national paper, as well as a column in the Diocese of BC paper on conversations with conservative clergy on issues of sexuality. Harold continues to be interested in the way science and faith need to talk more deeply with each other,  is increasingly convinced that the way of Christ is essential for personal and global hope and maturity, and believes congregations are the central place where people encounter and grow in their experience of Christ.

Claire grew up across the country in a military family, but her roots are in Quebec. The frequent armed forces moves from eastern to western provinces exposed her to a wide variety of different cultures, an asset both in her future career choices as well as in her marriage to an Anglican priest. 

Her nursing career, initially in Surgical Intensive Care, led to her care of the second heart transplant in the world. Ultimately she became the first head nurse of the first transplant unit in Canada at the Royal Victoria hospital in Montreal. Following her nursing career, Claire received training in Pastoral Counselling through the Canadian Association for Pastoral Education for several years which led to working with victims of sexual abuse. She is a graduate of Education for Ministry as well, and all of her studies have allowed her gift of insight and life experiences to be expressed in her care and support of others. The study and creative use of art, colour and design in particular, has been a life-long passion which led to teaching outreach programs for teacher assistants at a Community College in Edmonton. Today Claire's spiritual leanings have led her to create a number of pieces of art for altars and other liturgical purposes in several of the parishes in which she has worshipped. She is indeed thankful for, and looking forward to, another experience of parish life as each community has revealed and honoured the creative gifts of the Spirit in a myriad of wonderful ways.

When not babysitting delightful grandkids, for excitement Claire and Harold can be found holding hands on Spanish Banks beach counting freighters. Twenty-one is our record.