"We find our true nature when we locate God's love within us and allow ourselves to be guided by it in all we endeavour to do. To grasp this, however tentatively, is to receive a sense of hope and purpose that is alluring, affirming and life-changing."
Dean Shane Parker was born to Irish parents in Edmonton, Alberta, and lived in western Canada during his childhood. He worked as a labourer for several years before undergraduate and graduate studies in sociology at Carleton University, and was a professional sociologist prior to studies in theology at Saint Paul University. He was ordained priest in the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa in 1987 and was appointed Dean of Ottawa and Rector of Christ Church Cathedral in 1999. Prior to his appointment as dean, he served as a parish priest and as the diocesan archdeacon.
He has served as a sessional professor in pastoral theology at Saint Paul University and currently chairs its Anglican Studies Advisory Committee. He has been for many years a member of Carleton University's Research Ethics Board. Following a long period of writing for the Ottawa Citizen’s Ask the Religion Experts column, a collection of his insightful essays were published by Novalis in a book called Answering the Big Questions. In 2010 he was the recipient of the Interfaith Ottawa Award, presented by the Mayor of the City of Ottawa, for devoted service to promoting interfaith dialogue and cooperation.
Shane has trained in mediation and reconciliation, and is an associate member of the Ontario Association of Family Mediators. He has established close connections with Coventry Cathedral (UK) and its ministry of reconciliation known as the Community of the Cross of Nails; and with Saint George’s Anglican Cathedral in Jerusalem, which is deeply committed to interfaith dialogue and reconciliation. He has led several pilgrimages to the Holy Land in collaboration with partners and friends in Jerusalem.
He is well-known through participation in a number of organizations and causes in the wider community, and by continuing a long tradition of making the Cathedral available for many different kinds of civic and ecclesial events—including celebrating, honouring and upholding Indigenous Peoples. Since the Final Events of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2015, he has actively encouraged the Cathedral to offer and host events to educate, inform and challenge the community concerning the TRC Calls to Action, and to build new and meaningful relationships with Indigenous People (especially with the local Algonquin Nation). He was invited to speak about reconciliation at the “Road to Warm Springs” National Consultation on Indigenous Anglican Self-Determination in Pinawa, Manitoba in 2017.
Shane’s leadership of the Cathedral has been characterized by major change and renaissance in all aspects of its life and ministry. By cultivating an environment which encourages the sharing of many people’s gifts, the liturgy, community and governance of the Cathedral have become both dynamic and focused. This has had the effect of opening up the Cathedral to become a truly diverse and vibrant parish—with strong ministries of worship, music, pastoral care, spiritual development, fellowship, and many mission partnerships.
Shane is married to Katherine, who practices family law. He has two sons, a daughter, and two granddaughters.