Around the dioceses, December 2018

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N.B. Anglican sees larger role for church in social enterprise

An Anglican who runs a “tool library” in Saint John, N.B., says an untapped opportunity for growth in the Anglican Church of Canada could lie in social enterprise.

Brent Harris, a member of the city’s Anglican Church of the Resurrection, recently launched the Saint John Tool Library & DIY Centre, which allows its members to borrow tools as they need them. The centre charges money for the memberships and for how-to classes that it offers the public, but it is a social enterprise, Harris says, because it sees its success as lying not in profits, but in serving the public and “helping people see an embodied gospel.”

If the church were to foster the growth of such enterprises, he says, it could both attract more young people and reduce the social isolation of its elderly members, by engaging retired Anglicans to volunteer to teach young people new skills, and by increasing the presence of the church in the community.

“Social enterprises need volunteers during their start-up phase, and for the next 10 years, we will have a huge influx of retirees who will want to connect with their community in a tangible way,” he says.

“There is a track here for the church to be in the business of turning strangers into neighbours, and that will cause people to say, ‘What’s this about?’ ” he says.

—The New Brunswick Anglican

Priest wounded by parcel bomb preaches reconciliation at Edmonton cathedral

The key to reconciliation is to focus on memories that are redemptive rather destructive, Canon Michael Lapsley, an Anglican anti-apartheid activist who lost both his hands to a parcel bomb in South Africa, told a congregation at All Saints’ Cathedral in Edmonton September 30.

“Those who’ve had horrible things done to them have every reason to hate, to be bitter, to want revenge,” Lapsley said in a sermon for Orange Shirt Day, which commemorates survivors of the residential school system. “But in the end, those things do not destroy our enemies. They destroy us.”

Healing comes from keeping the kind of memories the Bible encourages us to have, he said—memories of the good that comes from evil and of the life that comes from death.

Lapsley has served as honorary canon for healing and reconciliation at the cathedral since 2017, and holds a similar title at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa.

Born in New Zealand, Lapsley went to South Africa as a missionary in 1973 and became active in the anti-apartheid movement. He was exiled from South Africa and came to live in Zimbabwe, where, in 1990, he opened a parcel bomb that nearly killed him, destroying both his hands and severely damaging his eyesight and hearing. In 1998, he founded the Institute for Healing of Memories, which gives workshops in South Africa on healing.

—The Messenger

B.C. church pulls together, rises again after near-closure

Four years after a recommendation that it be closed, a Vancouver Island church was assessed by the diocese of British Columbia as healthy, thanks to staunch revitalization efforts by its members, say the church’s wardens and rector.

Some years ago, a diocesan review team recommended that St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church, in Chemainus, B.C., be disestablished. The church had been suffering from dissension among its members, which had led to many leaving, and financial problems.

But the parish developed a five-year plan for growth, says warden Hilary Findlay. Within two years, the diocese’s assessment had changed to “in transition”; and in another two, to “healthy.”

The church, Findlay says, took a number of steps to increase its presence in the community, including making the church a tourist destination by opening it up for public viewing, hosting an annual parade of veterans and creating a local classical music society.
Over the past three years, the church has also been pursuing the development of attainable housing on its property, says its rector, the Rev. Michael Wimmer.
Another of the church’s wardens, David Johnston, says he and his wife have appreciated the friendliness of the church’s members since they first started attending six or seven years ago.

“Personal contact seems to have been a constant…and is one of the main reasons the parish continues to grow at a steady pace. There is a sense of community and warmth in the parish which seems to have enveloped us,” he says.

—The Diocesan Post

Toronto churches unite for online service

Eight parishes in the diocese of Toronto’s Toronto East Deanery joined together for a live-streamed service in August.

The idea for the service originated when a member of the congregation who had been asked to preach expressed some nervousness about the idea of the congregation not having anything to look at while he spoke, says the Rev. Jeanette Lewis, incumbent of the Church of St. Barnabas on the Danforth. From the idea of putting something on the web to accompany his sermon evolved the thought of live-streaming a service to the other churches in the deanery, and to anybody else who wanted to follow it, she says.

On August 19, cameras filmed the service at St. Barnabas, while the other congregations followed it on large screens and devices they carried. The other parishes turned off their screens after the exchange of the Peace in order to celebrate the Eucharist separately. But St. Barnabas continued to live-stream the service, which was followed by 117 people separately around the world.

Lewis is now planning other ways of using the Internet to get the church’s voice to people.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to spread the Word,” she says. “You can see it on the streets. People aren’t looking at each other; they’re looking at their phones and listening to what’s playing in their ears. We need to reach out to them in those ways. Otherwise, we’re not going to be heard.”

—The Anglican

Diocese of Niagara announces funding for university chaplaincies

The diocese of Niagara will be providing a total of $30,000 in financial support for the next two years to three ecumenical university chaplaincies, at Brock University, McMaster University and the University of Guelph, the diocese announced this September.

The chaplaincies, which involve co-operation among the Anglican, United and Presbyterian churches, provide a range of services on campus, ranging from personal support to theological reflection and worship.

Each chaplaincy also has its own unique elements. The chaplaincy at Guelph involves, among other things, a weekly worship service open to people on campus or off, and a series of labyrinth walks using portable canvas labyrinths. Brock’s chaplaincy includes a Big Questions Club, in which students talk about faith and other issues. The McMaster chaplaincy features a “soup and selah” program—a weekly reflection followed by a meal—along with other organized spiritual or social events.

The chaplaincy grants are awarded to a maximum of $8,500 per year. The diocese does not publish amounts of individual chaplaincy grants.

Since the chaplaincy grant program was created in 2014, it has disbursed $30,000 to support program expenses, salary, ministry-related capital costs and other chaplaincy expenses.

—The Niagara Anglican

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Tali Folkins
Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

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