The early beginnings of the CPCA were rooted in the Ontario Police Chaplain Association (OPCA) which formed in 1983. In 1992, the OPCA was transformed into the current Canadian Police Chaplain Association (CPCA). One of the co-founders was police chaplain Allan Higgs who served as one of the first Presidents of the CPCA. Allan also served as a member of the International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC) in various roles including as a Director for several years. In 1995, the ICPC awarded Chaplain Higgs the prestigious title of "ICPC Chaplain of the Year." As a leader within the CPCA, Allan was instrumental in a significant change in RCMP chaplaincy by leading the RCMP to change from Protestant/Roman Catholic based chaplaincy to a more generic police chaplain base. This was the first step towards diversification within RCMP police chaplaincy. Today, the CPCA emphasizes the need for inclusion and diversity amongst our police chaplains in order to meet the needs of different faith traditions amongst our Canadian police officers and their families. Allan was a visionary who recognized the need for inclusion decades before we began to dialogue about inclusion and diversity in police chaplaincy.
Chaplain Allan Higgs has served as a RCMP chaplain in Regina, SK for over 35 years. Allan turns 85 years young this month and continues to serve as a chaplain for the RCMP Veteran's Association. RCMP "F" Division Chaplain Coordinator Tom McCullagh shared with me that Allan continues to care for the many Regina Veterans meeting weekly including anywhere from 20-40 Vets at the Heritage Centre. Tom informed that Chaplain Higgs regularly attends Depot events including but not limited to the Memorial Services, Veteran's Church Parade, and other special events. Allan and his wife Shirley (pictured with Allan) have been and are a continual part of the Depot Chapel. Shirley designed the Altar, preserved the Baptismal font and its significance, and designed the Depot Cemetery.
When I presented Allan's name for consideration for "Honorary Member" to our CPCA Leadership Team at our monthly meeting last night, the response was overwhelmingly in favor of granting Chaplain Allan Higgs the distinction of Honorary Member status. RCMP "E" Division Chaplain Coordinator Bill Ashbee spoke last night referencing Allan as "an icon" amongst police chaplains. The designation of Honorary Member brings with it an additional historical honor in that Allan becomes our first CPCA Honorary Member. The CPCA Constitution Article 3, Section 4 defines an Honorary Member as, "An individual who through meritorious service or special interest in the Canadian Police Chaplain Association may be awarded the status of honorary member as bestowed by the organization upon recommendation of the Executive."
As current CPCA President, it's been encouraging to learn and write about some of Chaplain Allan Higg's accomplishments. It's also a privilege for me on behalf of the CPCA Executive, to bestow upon Allan the title of CPCA Honorary Member. Allan will receive a special "Honorary Member" card, and is forever exempt from paying future Membership Dues. God bless you richly Allan for all the work you have done in police chaplaincy on behalf of the CPCA, ICPC, and most importantly the decades of service you provided to the law enforcement officers and their families. Well done good and faithful servant. Happy 85th birthday, Allan. Much appreciation also to Allan's wife Shirley for partnering with Allan and serving in ways that have blessed the RCMP separate from Allan's acts of service. Through it all as a husband and wife team you are stronger together. The CPCA honors Allan and Shirley Higgs - pillars in police chaplaincy.
ICPC Director of Region 1