NEW, YET FAMILIAR FACE IN REGINA ARCHDIOCESAN ECUMENICAL OFFICE
AUGUST 1, 2017
BY FRANK FLEGEL
Nicholas Jesson is the new Archdiocesan Ecumenical Officer as of August 1, 2017. He has long been involved in ecumenical work, most recently as the ecumenical officer for the Saskatoon Diocese. In recent years he also assisted then Bishop Donald Bolen in his various Vatican and international ecumenical responsibilities prior to Bolen’s appointment as Archbishop of Regina.
Jesson moved to Saskatoon from Winnipeg in 1994 and then after serving as ecumenical officer and director of the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism, he spent some time in Toronto in further theological studies. It was there that he met his wife, Amanda Currie, who is now a Presbyterian minister. They returned to Saskatoon where he has spent the past 14 years in ecumenical ministry and teaching. When Bishop Bolen was appointed to Regina in 2016, it was a natural time for Jesson to explore where God was calling him next. As his wife was also considering a change in ministry, they asked Bishop Bolen for advice. Bolen replied he wanted to put more emphasis on ecumenical activities in Regina and invited him to become the ecumenical officer in Regina. “I knew Regina had an ecumenical officer - Dr. Brett Salkeld - but Bishop Don said Brett was overworked and he wanted to change that.”
Besides his ecumenical work, Dr. Salkeld is also the Archdiocesan theologian and is responsible for and teaches in the Archdiocesan diaconal formation program. Salkeld will continue as Chair of the Regina Archdiocesan Ecumenical Commission but Jesson will now take over much of the portfolio. “It certainly gives me more time to concentrate on all my other duties,” said Salkeld.
Jesson said he is aware of the close relationship with the Anglican community in Regina and of the Covenant that exists between the two. He also hopes to become more engaged with Evangelical churches. “The time is right in history for us to be able to address some of the historic issues and build relationships that allow us to be working together.” He said his role will also involve interfaith relations, “So there will be some multi-faith work.” He will also be involved in discussions with other faith communities about issues of concern such as the recent cuts to spiritual care in hospitals. “How are we going to provide pastoral care in hospitals and nursing homes and what kind of access is going to be provided and what do we have to ask of the new health authority.”
There is also the question of faith in a pluralistic society, something he says has been in the back of the Archbishop’s mind as well. “It’s something that I call ‘religion in the public sphere’ and some questions that come up around that we will try to explore from time to time.”
Jesson’s wife is a Presbyterian minister and his coming to Regina was predicated on her finding a place in ministry. “It turned out there was an opportunity for her at First Presbyterian Church in Regina, so it worked well.”