Greg Kerr-Wilson is the Eleventh Bishop of Qu’Appelle. The Anglican Diocese of Qu'Appelle is one of 30 dioceses in the Anglican Church of Canada, and covers the southernmost third of the civil Province of Saskatchewan. He was ordained as bishop of the diocese in May 2006. Greg is married with three teenaged children, one at University and two in High School. His particular passions are for the renewal of the Church’s life and ministry through worship; teaching the faith; fostering personal transformation through encounters with God in fellowship, prayer and study; and encouraging the Church in its mission through sharing our faith with others and transforming our communities through service and outreach. Personal interests include reading, cooking, photography and outdoor activities. His blog is Bishop Greg's Blog
What made you decide to start blogging?
The guy who chairs our communications taskforce in the Diocese of Qu'Appelle "nudged" me (fairly insistently) into it. When Lambeth Conference was coming up, the desire to communicate with folks about what was going on, directly from the perspective of a bishop at the conference, rather than filtered through media perspectives, motivated me to get on with it.
What is your best blogging experience?
"Best" is an interesting word. The most "fun" was live blogging while on the Millennium Development Goals Walk through London to Lambeth Palace. However, I think the sharing of perspectives from Lambeth Bible studies with bishops from around the globe participating in the discussions was truly a privilege.
And your worst?
The same live blogging experience at the Walk for the Millennium Development Goals - typing on a Blackberry while walking is no easy feat - there were typos and the content was much less than stellar I thought.
What do you regard as your best blog entry?
I would have to say my October 2008 entry on the issues of the economic downturn (as we were still calling it then). When I go back and read it, I still agree with myself, which is not always the case with everything I write.
I must admit that I generally stick to blogs by the folks I know, so a couple of clergy friends would be the favourites. Felix Hominum is the name by one in particular that is quite good.
You have recently blogged about Lent. Dare I ask what you have given up this year?
I have been fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays. Also, our family has gone meatless for the duration (not counting Sundays, which are not technically "Lenten"). The bigger piece in Lent has been taking on more time for prayer and reading. The practice of abstaining from food while "feeding" on the scriptures, good spiritual writing and time in prayerful meditation, is actually very nourishing.
How would you define the Canadian blogosphere?
I have to honestly say that I generally only read things when people send them to me for viewing. When I do connect, I usually find it littered with rather polarized political analysis. There are occasional moments when I find myself inspired as well.
What is the best thing about being Bishop of Qu'Appelle?
The best thing is the opportunity to travel to the various congregations and parishes, visiting with folk, praying with them, sharing our Christian faith journey together and encouraging them in the work of outreach, mission and ministry. I also happen to like confirmations - it is always fun to work at connecting biblical material to the everyday life of teenagers by connecting to things that are important to them. The Diocese of Qu'Appelle is rather large geographically - in terms of square kilometres the whole of the UK would fit inside our boundaries - which means that there is much time on the road and therefore wonderful vistas of wide open prairies, amazing and intense thunderstorms, snow banks sculpted in beautiful contours and shades of colour in the sky which one could hardly imagine. I very much like that part of it as well.
Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?
I have a long list of places that I would like to visit. New Zealand and Australia are probably near the top of the list, as is Malaysia and other spots in Southeast Asia.
Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?
After the wonderful time we had in the UK this past summer, I would be happy to return anytime. The Middle East - Israel/Palestine is another big one on my list.
Do you have a favourite political figure in history?
Well, this may only make sense to Canadians, and probably only Western Canadians, but I've always had a certain admiration for Louis Reil. For those who don't know about him I will say that he was a Metis leader on the prairies in the late 19th century. He is popularly understood to have led a rebellion, although the intentions behind his actions were directed toward defending the place and rights of First Nations and Metis people in the west. Those interested will undoubtedly be able to find a fair bit of info on the web.
Which Christian figure has been your greatest inspiration?
Assuming we are ruling out Jesus as too obvious - I would say St. Paul. His vision of the Christian Gospel expressed in the biblical materials is comprehensive, subtle, grounded in the Old Testament while daring in the newness of its application, focused on faith, and yet firmly engaged in action for the transformation of the world. After years of reading it, I am still often caught by new things I have not noticed or attended to before.
Favourite Bond movie?
Goldfinger - although the Sean Connery movies are all up there, compared to some of the later editions
Favourite Doctor Who?
I actually have not watched much Doctor Who. I did love watching episodes when I was quite young - they would have been the early, low tech ones.
Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?
Of course good chocolate trumps everything, but lesser chocolate is trumped by good vanilla. Mint will always come second - although mint tea is a favourite for working with my caffeine free program.
Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?
I think U2 would probably be it - although Chicago or the Moody Blues might equally fill that spot.
In terms of visiting for the weekend, Vancouver, Ottawa, or Montreal?
Vancouver for family, friends and the great outdoors, but Montreal for the food and culture, and Ottawa for the museums, art gallery, and “Winterlude”.
Favourite national newspaper?
We only have two in Canada, and neither strikes me as particularly "national" for those of us living on the Canadian Prairies. Generally I Google news stories and stay away from paper - unless I am given leftover copies, in which case the Globe and Mail comes slightly ahead of the National Post.
What would you say your hobbies were?
I love outdoor activities such as canoe trips, hikes and backwoods camping. "Were" - or "was" - would be the correct word for photography as a hobby, although I do enjoy occasionally getting to take a few shots while traveling around the diocese. I am also overly fond of books of almost any sort. The hobby I indulge in the most is cooking. I have a particular attraction to Moroccan, Middle Eastern and French, but dabble in Greek, Italian, Chinese and various others.
And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books (Bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?
For songs, that is a difficult question. I love music, both to listen to and to play/sing. I tend to think about songs in categories. I have favourite songs in the Christian genre, both rock and worship music, and then other favourites in classical, rock, jazz and folk. A current favourite in the Christian genre is by a Canadian artist Steve Bell, entitled "Burning Ember". In classical, Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring" or Mahler's Symphony No. 2 would do it (I know they are not "songs" per se, but I figure you mean to be inclusive in your question). In Folk, any number of songs by the group Tamarack, instrumental music by a Canadian group named “Rawlins Cross”, and, of course, great Canadian artists Garnett Rogers and Stan Rogers (Northwest Passage - very good) each have great contributions which could be listed as favourites on any given day. In the secular rock category it is also hard to pick just one, but let's say U2's "I still haven't found what I'm looking for" - it expresses for me something of the "not yet" quality of life, that in the very real relationships, things, truths that we've come to know we are always being called to go "higher up and farther in" – to know them deeper and more fully – and, of course, ultimately it is only in coming to know God fully that we find what we’re looking for.
I realize that I have not actually stuck to the question, but then I confess that I think one of the most productive ways of addressing questions in life is to modify them.
For books, I am a big "Lord of the Rings" fan, though I engage in what many other fans might think of as boring theological analysis and commentary upon it. I know LOTR is three books, but I am only going to count it as one, since it really is just one story. So, there is also a little book on Celtic Spirituality by David Adams called, "The Cry of the Deer" which I have read over several times. If citing in sermons is any measure, then "The Brothers Karamazov" by Dostoyevsky would rate fairly highly. I am not sure that these would be the ultimate three if I had days to do a process of elimination. In fact, if I were answering this on another day I am certain other books would leap to mind and might well make the top three.