After 14 years with the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, Jane Scanlon retired from her position as director of communications and stewardship at the end of October.
When she was hired as a stewardship officer, she had worked as a fundraising and public relations professional for universities and hospitals, but she said, for the most part, my career has been with religious based organizations because that’s where my heart is, and mainly focused on raising money to help very vulnerable people,” she told Crosstalk.
“When I first came to Ottawa, there really wasn’t any fundraising in place, and there was no database, so it was in many ways building it up from scratch, but for me that was an interesting challenge.” Developing relationships is essential to fundraising, she said, noting that she spent time getting to know people and parishes in her first years here.
A highlight of her time with the Diocese and career was working on the Growing in Faith Together campaign, which raised $12 million over a five-year pledge period. “It’s rewarding to think of the impact that that campaign had on individual churches as well as on the Community Ministries and the national church programs,” she said.
Scanlon said she also enjoyed developing Today for Tomorrow, mainly because of its focus on the Community Ministries, which are very close to my heart,” she said.
Bishop Shane Parker told Crosstalk, “Jane is a diminutive but determined person who raised stewardship and financial development in our diocese to a new level, She once described her work to me as a “calling” and I readily saw that her commitment was born from a clear sense of being in ministry. We saw and benefitted from Jane’s knowledge and passion for stewardship development.”
The bishop added, “We eventually became aware of the artist that dwells within her when she took on the role of director of communications: her creativity made her receptive to new ways of seeing and describing the ministry of our diocese—leading to a very successful rebranding process, as evidenced in our wonderful, colourful “ray” logo.”
Scanlon’s decision to retire was precipitated by a serious car accident last winter and injuries from which she is still recovering. But she has faith that God can draw good things out of terrible experiences. “I’m retiring from my 30-year career, but I am retiring into a new phase in my life, which I am very excited about,” she said.
Scanlon and her husband have started Red Portal Consulting. Their current project brings her back to her childhood years spent in Moose Factory, where her father was a priest from 1964 to 1969 at St. Thomas Anglican Church. There is a local project to restore the church, which is the only Canadian church with wooden plugs in the floor.
“Part of its history is that the island was so flooded one year that the church was floating away up the Moose River. The people went out with their boats, and they towed the church back on to the land. The bishop at the time said to drill holes in the floor and put plugs in. If there was flooding again, he told them to take the plugs out so the water would come in and hold the church in place,” Scanlon recounted.
The Anglican congregation now worships in another building, but the executive director of the Moose Factory Heritage and Hospitality Association wants to turn the church into a space for cultural regeneration for the Cree, a place where they can have community events…. It’s really all about lifting up Cree culture and celebrating it,” Scanlon said. They asked Red Portal to help to write grant applications and Jane is on the communications and fundraising committee.
Closer to home, she says she is looking forward to being more involved with her own church St. Paul’s, Almonte, particularly with the local All My Relations group.
And as the bishop alluded to, Scanlon is a talented artist. “I’ve been creative and artistic all my life, but I haven’t had much time to develop, so I am really looking forward to becoming the artist that I am,” she said, adding that she would also like to become a certified art therapist.