Truth as the anchor


May 08, 2017

By Bishop Jenny Andison 

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell.

In an age of “alternative facts” and “fake news,” telling the truth in clear and winsome ways has never been more important.  It is with this in mind that I am grateful for the education that I received at Wycliffe College.  I started studying for my Master of Divinity at Wycliffe—with boyfriend (now husband) in tow—in 1994, having just finished my undergraduate degree, overflowing with questions, uncertain about ordination, and wondering where this degree would take me.  

Within my first week, I encountered the truth that would not only ground me those three years, but continues as the anchor of both my personal life and my ministry as both a priest and now a bishop.   Principal Michael Pountney stood in the pulpit (it was still there!) for the opening Eucharist of the academic year, paused, and then said one word, “Jesus.”  After another pause, he continued.  “I want the name of Jesus to be the first word I say in this pulpit.”  It was simple, and you could argue trite, but it made an impression on 22-year-old Jenny Hares.  It was, and is, the truth about who Jesus is and what Jesus has done on the cross that marks my time at Wycliffe and for which I am profoundly grateful. 

My Wycliffe education challenged me to see how the foolishness of the cross is not only the source of all true wisdom in this world, but can also lead to a life lived with both humility and confidence.  My Wycliffe education also equipped me with the personal knowledge of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus as a profound source of power with which to take on the systems of injustice and cruelty in our world.

It is a distinct honour to receive an honorary degree from Wycliffe College.  I have very happy memories of my time there, not least of which was getting married in the chapel over 20 years ago, and forging some lifelong friendships.  Please know that I pray for the ministry of our College and would ask your prayers for me and my ministry—that in this age of deceit, our lives together would continue to be marked by the revolutionary truth that Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again. 

The Rt. Rev. Jenny Andison, Suffragan Bishop, Diocese of Toronto. Bishop Jenny is one of three people receiving the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity at today's convocation.