I realise that this blog is primarily devoted to things ancient and mediaeval, but one recent development I felt I should share here is my recent move across the province of Ontario from Ottawa to Thunder Bay, the city of my teenage years. It takes about 18-20 hours to drive between these two cities. It has a reputation for being North, although this Alberta boy would like to remind everyone that at 48° 22′ 55.9956” N, Thunder Bay is south of all three prairie provinces and most of British Columbia.
That said, Thunder Bay is north of most of the population of Ontario, and, regardless of northerliness it is remote. The nearest major Canadian city is Winnipeg, about eight hours’ drive away or so.
So what brings me from the nation’s capital back to the Canadian Shield of my youth? Is it Nanabijou, the giant sleeping across the Bay? Is it Mount Mckay rising at the south end of the city? Is it Kakabeka Falls? Is it seeing the now abandoned site of my high school? Is it Persians? Is it the … grain terminals?
It is none of these things, in fact.
Unexpectedly, I am the manager of The Habit Coffee & Bake Shop, run out of/by the Urban Abbey in Port Arthur (my uncles and aunt from Fort William have forgiven me for betraying the family). That said, the view from behind the counter is pretty good:
Now, although I have been enjoying serving coffee and ordering coffee beans and buying large quantities of milk and suchlike things, The Habit is not actually the reason I’m here. It’s the reason I’m getting paid.
In the long run, I am here at Thunder Bay to work at the Urban Abbey on the pastoral staff as Coordinator of Liturgy and Education (to be honest, we’re still working on the job title!) and, in the longer run, to start a theological college, an Urban Abbey school.
There’s a lot to say about the Urban Abbey (and its ancient-Celtic-future ethos), about the vision of having a school for ministry here, about ministry and mission in Thunder Bay, and so on. These reflections will join the cavalcade of ancient, medieval, Byzantine, and Anglican voices and ideas processing through this blog.
Watch this space for more. Excuse me, time to make a coffee…