Hello! My name is Clare Stewart and I am excited to be joining the ministry team at All Saints’ Cathedral as the Interim Vicar. Dean Alex asked me to write a little blurb to introduce myself to you, the All Saints’ Family. I always find these things difficult to write, but I hope the following allows you get to know me a little bit.
I was raised in a Valley Town at the base of the Niagara Escarpment outside of Hamilton, Ontario. From my bedroom window, I could see the rocks of The Escarpment and at night listen the trains. I would sometimes take the long-way round to school, and walk through the old quarry at the base of the escarpment and collect rocks (don’t tell my mum!). In the summers, I would spend time up in the Muskoka area of Ontario at Girl Guide Camp and at a cottage with my family, where I would explore the different rocks of the Canadian Shield to be found there.
This early passion for collecting rocks led me to earn a degree in Geological Engineering from the University of Waterloo, followed by a Master’s Degree in Earth Science. For 20 years, I built a career as a Hydrogeologist in Environmental Consulting, where I specialised in the study of groundwater and contaminant flow at landfill sites. I loved my job; studying the data to unravel the story it had to tell, finding solutions for management of landfill sites in the care of my clients, and helping them find sustainable solutions for future waste management.
Six years ago – after a number of life events both difficult and joyful worked in series to change my outlook on life and my priorities, and a lifetime in the Anglican Church during which I was a Server, a Sunday School Teacher, Youth Group Leader, Envelope Secretary, Warden, and Lay Reader – I quit my job and enrolled in seminary at Huron University College at Western in London, Ontario. I didn’t start seminary with a clear picture in mind of where it would lead. I just knew I had to immerse myself in the study of theology and church history, learn more about myself and my relationship with Christ, and to explore where God might be leading me.
It was at seminary where I met Jennifer. In April 2017, within the span of 10 days, we were married at City Hall, had a Church blessing of our marriage, I was ordained a Deacon at my home parish, and then I left Ontario to follow Jennifer to her home Diocese of Western Newfoundland. I was appointed to a four point parish on the Great Northern Peninsula, where in the course of 2.5 years I: baptised 16 babies, 2 older children, and 1 adult; guided 27 young folk through confirmation preparation, married 7 couples, and buried 45 people. It was a time of tremendous learning and personal growth, and I carry with me from Newfoundland many valuable lessons and friendships.
Jennifer’s career has led her to become a chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces, and in February of this year she was posted to CFB Edmonton. We arrived in the Edmonton Area about 3 weeks before the Public Health Orders around COVID-19 were issued. So we find ourselves in a new place, during a challenging time for our world, society, and the church. I am thrilled to have answered Bishop’s Jane request to join you on an interim basis during this difficult time as Quinn moves on to ICPM. I have spent time with Quinn learning about the important food ministries the Cathedral offers in the downtown core, and I hope I can fill his shoes and help this vital ministry continue.
I have spent my time in social distancing playing Frisbee with our Labradoodle Mica, doing jigsaw puzzles, reading, knitting, organizing the far too many books I own, and walking the streets of Bon Accord looking for our cat Oscar who managed to escape outdoors.