World multifaith gathering expected to draw throngs to Toronto
Thousands of people of faith traditions from around the world are expected to gather in Toronto this November for the Parliament of the World’s Religions.
Slated for November 1-7, the gathering, a kind of world’s fair for religions, will feature representatives of all the major faiths, plus many of the world’s smaller religious groups. Speakers will include Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, and numerous authorities from around the world, plus a number of people likely to be especially familiar to Canadians. These include writer Margaret Atwood; former military commander, senator and humanitarian Roméo Dallaire; writer John Ralson Saul; former prime minister of Canada Kim Campbell; and Cardinal Thomas Collins, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Toronto. The Anglican Church of Canada will have a booth for the entire week, and local Anglicans will be giving workshops.
In previous years, the gathering has attracted as many as 12,000 visitors. Recent parliaments have been held in Barcelona, Spain (2004), Melbourne, Australia (2009), and Salt Lake City, United States (2015).
Themes of workshops and lectures at this year’s parliament will include Countering War, Hate and Violence; Economic Justice; Climate Action; Indigenous Peoples; Women’s Roles; and Growing the Next Generation of People of Faith.
Canon Gary van der Meer, interfaith officer for the Anglican diocese of Toronto, says the diocese is looking for local people to help host the booth. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Edmonton woman to spend ‘year in God’s time’ at Lambeth Palace
An Edmonton Anglican has joined 35 Christians from around the world taking part this year in the Community of St. Anselm, a program for young people centred at Lambeth Palace, official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Melissa Ritz, who was most recently working as a theological intern and office administrator at the Anglican Parish of Christ Church, Edmonton, arrived at Lambeth Palace in September, where she will spend a total of 10 months with 15 “residential” members of the community. Another 20 “non-residential” participants will live and work outside the palace, but in the London area.
Launched in 2015, the Community of St. Anselm invites Christians aged 20-35 to “spend a year in God’s time,” praying, studying and performing ministry together. The program is named after a medieval Benedictine monk and scholar, and participants in the community must follow a “Rule of Life.”
Ritz, who holds a master of divinity degree from the University of Toronto’s Wycliffe College, says she’s both hopeful and apprehensive about the experience.
“I’m introverted and shy and have a tendency to be a hermit, so I’m looking forward to spending time with God and others with a common purpose,” she says.
“Benedict encourages finding community and developing one’s self in God that endures wherever you go. I’m terrified to begin this journey, but I look forward to where God takes me next.”
Fredericton Anglicans hold vigil for shooting victims
Clergy from a number of denominations and community members joined Fredericton Anglicans August 10 at a vigil for victims of the shootings that had taken place in the city earlier that day.
About 200 people attended the vigil, held at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, off Brookside Drive, the street on which the shootings took place. Though organizers said they didn’t know beforehand whether anyone would show up, the church was full for the ceremony. Attendants included Robert Harris, bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of Saint John; local Baptist and United Church clergy; people from the local community; several members of the provincial legislature; and two dozen members of the media.
The Rev. Paul Ranson, rector of the church, opened the service, and Harris offered a closing prayer. David Edwards, bishop of the diocese of Fredericton, invited participants to light candles.
“These candles represent the light of our solidarity—with each other, with those who have been greatly affected, and of course God’s solidarity with us,” he said. “That light is hard to see tonight, but as a minister of the Christian gospel, I can say God is here with us.”
The vigil, which also included readings of biblical passages and hymn-singing, was live-streamed by the CBC.
Four people, including two police officers, were killed by gunfire in the parking lot of a Fredericton apartment complex in the early morning of August 10. Matthew Vincent Raymond has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with their deaths.
—The New Brunswick Anglican
Algoma cathedral votes to have new $258k organ built
The vestry of the diocese of Algoma’s St. Luke’s Cathedral, in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., has endorsed a proposal to build the cathedral a new organ, at a cost of $258,000.
The winning proposal was made by Rudolf von Beckerath, an organ-making firm based in Hamburg, Germany. The Beckerath-built organ is expected to be useable for 100 years. The next-most-attractive bid to make the cathedral an organ with similar music-making capacity would have cost $100,000 more.
The new instrument will replace the cathedral’s current organ, which failed earlier this year after nearly 50 years of use, and was found to be beyond repair.
During the process of finding a replacement, cathedral leaders decided the new organ should be able to at least match the old one in tonal quality, range and ability to accompany worship. They also agreed it should be cost-effective over its projected life and not impose a financial burden on the church’s existing ministry, and that it would be paid for through fundraising and other freely-given gifts, rather than debt or the church’s general operating budget.
The vestry has approved a campaign to raise the necessary money. A number of fundraising activities have already started, and some generous donations have been made.
It’s estimated that the organ will be installed six months from the signing of a contract.
Diocese of British Columbia affordable housing project approved
A proposal by the diocese of British Columbia to create 24 affordable rental homes for seniors has received its required zoning approval.
On August 27, the municipal council of Esquimalt, B.C., unanimously approved the project, to be built on the site of St. Peter and St. Paul’s Anglican Church. The project will also include a new community centre.
The project is part of the diocese’s long-term plan for sharing its properties more widely and building partnerships in local communities. Organizations partnering with the diocese already provide more than 300 affordable housing units on Vancouver Island. Another project now under construction will mean 84 more units of affordable housing for seniors in Saanich, B.C., and another 85 are planned for the same community.
A total of eight projects in the diocese are now awaiting approvals for funding from financial institutions and publicly-supported lenders and grant providers.
The diocese also plans to develop “multi-use community spaces,” with churches, affordable housing and facilities for children’s education all on the same site.