The Reverend Canon Robert Hurkmans
Deacon - May 20, 2004, Diocese of Niagara
Priest - December 8, 2004, Diocese of Niagara
Academic Background and Professional Qualifications
Certificate in Missional Leadership & Formation (Wycliffe College) 2016
M. A. Christian Studies (McMaster Divinity School) 2012
Thesis Title: “Sabbath, Jubilee & the Repair of the World.”
M. Div. (Wycliffe College) 2004
B. Ed. (Queen’s University) 2000, Intermediate/Senior Sciences
B. Sc. (University of Waterloo) 2000, Biochemistry.
Parish Placements and Ministry History
- St. James & St. Brendan, Port Colborne - Rector: 2006-present
- St. Luke’s, Burlington - Assistant Curate: 2004-2006
- Christ Church, Flamborough - Student Placement: 2003
- St. George’s, Guelph - Student Placement: 2002
Other Areas of Interest
When I’m not at the church, I enjoy spending time with my wife, Sally, and our four daughters. This has always been (and always will be) a priority for me. We enjoy family meals, playing games, and watching movies together. We always look forward to summer vacations of cottaging and camping with friends and family. I also love basketball and our home basketball court is the source of some intense family competitions. I’m also a farm boy. I grew up on our family’s dairy farm, and today we live on a small farmstead which we affectionately call “Jubilee Acres”. Here we’ve raised pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens and even honeybees. Day by day we keep busy by feeding animals, planting gardens, collecting eggs, chopping wood, baling hay, and shoveling manure. My other hobbies include multimedia communications, listening to music, playing guitar and (trying) to learn the accordion.
Collected Online Publications: www.stjb.ca/publications
Question #1 - What core principle(s) (max 3) guide your ministry and leadership style?
Dream It, Then Do It: God is a BIG God, so why not dream BIG dreams? Small goals don’t require God’s help, BIG ones do. BIG dreams require us to radically depend on God because without God’s intervention our plans are destined to fail. At St. J&B we keep dreaming and doing. These BIG dreams increase our reliance on God and keep us on our knees. That way God gets the credit, not us.
Pray First, Then Proceed: The book of Nehemiah teaches us how prayer should permeate all leadership decisions. Before Nehemiah undertook his massive rebuilding project he prayed for several days. During the work, he prayed. When everything was completed, he led the people in prayer. Hudson Taylor said: “When we work, we work. When we pray, GOD works.”
Remember Why, not What: Clergy burnout often happens when we focus on the “WHAT” and the “HOW” of ministry but forget the “WHY”. In other words, we forget the gospel. We must never forget WHY we do what we do. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is the gospel fuel that gets us out of bed every morning. The gospel doesn’t demand us to serve, it compels us to serve!
Question #2 - What do you think are the three most significant challenges facing the Diocese of Niagara over the next 5 years, and what is your vision for how we might respond?
- Decline: God is doing awesome things in Niagara, but we know that church decline is a reality. Where is the younger generation? How many more churches must close? How do we grow?
- Leadership: The diocese of Niagara has great leadership. However, our changing culture requires a NEW generation of innovative pioneers. Where do we find tomorrow’s leaders?
- Cathedral: Redeveloping our Cathedral is an amazing opportunity. However, the financial benefits have overshadowed the mission possibilities. Can we make it more about mission than money?
- Church Planting: There’s hope! The best (and most biblical) way to grow the church is to plant new churches! Let’s create 100 (at least 100!) new Christian communities over the next 20 years. These communities will meet in libraries, coffee shops, living rooms – wherever. Let’s pray, let’s develop a Mission Action Plan (a MAP), and let’s dive in!
- Cultivating Pioneers: Future churches need future leaders. Niagara must to begin aggressively recruiting, developing and deploying hundreds of church planting pioneers. Most will be lay leaders or part-time priests. Existing churches would be mission sending communities.
- Cathedral Place: The Cathedral development must be adjusted to support the new Mission Action Plan. Cathedral Place would become the training centre and launching pad for Niagara’s bright future.
Question #3 - Identify 2 significant leadership roles you have played in your diocese. In each case, what was your role, what did you learn, and what was the outcome?
Continuous Culture of Innovation: Team Leader (2010-present): The Innovation team exists to promote and inspire innovative ministry in our diocese. As chair I have assisted at various vision events, spoken at Synod, and sat on Synod Council. The greatest outcome of this work has been the annual ReChurch Conference (2013-2017). The ReChurch planning team, along with our partners at Wycliffe College offer this one-day conference to promote renewal and innovation throughout the diocese. The conference is meant for clergy and lay people. Past speakers have included Harold Percy, David Fitch, Kevin Martin & Jenny Andison. ReChurch continues to grow and has been a much-needed sparkplug for ministry throughout our diocese.
Chaplain to Bishop Bird (2007-present): I have had the privilege and honour to serve as chaplain for Bishop Michael for the entirety of his episcopacy. Standing beside the bishop at special services has given me a “front row seat” to the impact that episcopal leadership can make in the lives of others. It has also impressed upon me the central, life-giving role our cathedral plays in the diocese. In this role I see first-hand how amazing Niagara is: at confirmations I’ve been heartened to see the faces of young people willing to profess their faith, at ordinations and installations I’ve been excited to celebrate the varied gifts of diocesan leadership, and at Order of Niagara services I have been humbled by many dedicated saints. This role has opened my eyes to breadth and beauty of our diocesan family.
Question #4 - Identify a role you have played or a significant way you have been involved in the national Church and/or the worldwide Anglican Communion. What did you learn from this experience?
Worldwide: At a pivotal moment in my priestly formation I had the opportunity to travel to Africa and be immersed in the Anglican Church of Kenya for a month. This life changing experience opened my eyes to the diversity of our Anglican Communion, to the joy and faith of Christians who have so little, and to the power of the gospel to change people’s lives. That experience showed me how churches vary according to context, and how churches can grow, (even with minimal resources) as long as they have a deep belief in the gospel and a pioneering spirit.
Nationally: Within the ACC I had the opportunity to be a Delegate to the “Vital and Healthy Parishes” consultation held in Winnipeg in November 2015. Over 80 Anglican and Lutheran leaders from across the country shared best practices about healthy parishes, church growth, discipleship, evangelism, worship and more.