It was with pleasure that I read last year’s Christmas letter from my friends Les and Jeni Harman. I have known them since 1976 at which time Les and I were classmates at St. John’s Theological College, Nottingham, U.K.
Jeni and Les have three children, Daniel, Thomas and Jane. I try to visit the Harmans when I am in England, and one year, Jeni, Les and Jane spent a week with me in Pittsfield, MA
Both Les and I were raised in the Plymouth Brethren, he in Liverpool and I in Bristol.
Les has served congregations in London, Surrey, Devon and Hertfordshire. He is at present the vicar of St. John the Baptist Church in Royston, Herts.
He is one of those un-flashy, un-pretentious, intelligent and hard working priests who are admired by all. He has done a terrific job of being a husband a father, and a parish priest - in that order.
Last year the Bishop of St. Albans named Les as one of the Honorary Canons of the Cathedral. This is a splendid recognition of the faithfulness and integrity of Les’ ministry. I am pleased to be able to address him as Canon Harman.
To be named a “Canon” in the Anglican Communion does not indicate a “greater status”. It is in fact a job description. Canons are those who share in the governance of Cathedrals.
Cathedrals have “Canons Residentiary” - women and men who serve in a paid capacity on a Cathedral staff, and “Honorary Canons”, of which Les is now one. There is no extra pay!
Here’s a bit about the derivation of that word “canon”
Canon This word is derived from a Greek word denoting a reed or cane. Hence it means something straight, or something to keep straight; and hence also a rule, or something ruled or measured.