Around the dioceses, September 2019

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Seven Regina-area parishes facing possible merger

Major restructuring is in the works in the diocese of Qu’Appelle’s St. Cuthbert’s archdeaconry. As of press time, its seven parishes, all of which are in the Regina area, were expecting a decision from Bishop Rob Hardwick on some form of amalgamation—including, possibly, a merger of them all into a single congregation.

For more than 18 months, wardens from the parishes have been meeting to discuss their future, given a combination of challenges including declining membership, financial stress and clergy vacancies.

At the diocesan council’s June meeting, the wardens described three scenarios for the bishop’s consideration. The first scenario envisions an amalgamation or merger of several churches into three or four buildings and/or parishes in a “top-down” approach; the second option imagines amalgamation arising from parishes coming together in a “bottom-up” process. According to the third scenario, all seven parishes would be merged into a single congregation, with, possibly, one or two “satellite” locations. Most of the archdeaconry’s vestries favoured the third option, with two preferring the first scenario. The wardens, however, support the second scenario.

A total of about 378 Anglicans take part in Sunday worship at the seven parishes, according to the diocese.

—Saskatchewan Anglican

Fredericton advocate for homeless calls Bishop’s Court shelter a ‘minor miracle’

Joan Kingston, co-manager of the Fredericton Downtown Community Health Centre and a member of the city’s Community Action Group on Homelessness, has high praise for the action of diocese of Fredericton leaders and parishioners in turning a former bishop’s residence into a temporary overnight shelter last winter.

“My observation over the winter is the congregations want to do good work. They want to help in the community. They provided this house and a lot of volunteers. Talk about your brother’s keeper!” Kingston said in an interview.

The building, known as Bishop’s Court, belongs to the diocese of Fredericton. Last November, the diocese offered it for use as a shelter after concerns rose about the number of people who would be facing the winter without a place to spend the night. By early December it was functioning as a 20-bed shelter, and it remained open until the end of April. The city gave permission for it to operate only until then, because the neighbourhood in which the building sits isn’t zoned to allow the operation of permanent homeless shelters.

“This place came together, as a shelter with funding, in five days,” said Kingston, who is also a former New Brunswick MLA. “It was a minor miracle!”

More than 300 volunteers supported the staff who ran the shelter, which was full to capacity almost every night of the winter.

“I think a lot of the success—and I think it was a success—had to do with the house itself,” Kingston said. “It was warm and inviting, such a good vibe. People felt safe here.”

With another winter on the way, both Kingston and David Edwards, bishop of the diocese of Fredericton, said they were concerned about where the city’s homeless will spend the night. It’s clear, Edwards said, that the city’s zoning rules will not allow Bishop’s Court to be used as a shelter this winter.

—The New Brunswick Anglican

Church outreach director offers ‘compassion training’ to local businesses

Director of outreach services at Church of the Redeemer in Toronto, Angie Hocking, is teaching staff at local businesses how to be more compassionate to people who are homeless or struggling with mental health issues.

Many of these people live or spend time in the downtown area surrounding the church, Hocking says. Some of them go into nearby businesses to sit down, get out of the cold or ask for food, among other reasons. There, staff are unprepared to help them, often calling on security guards to eject them from the premises. After one such incident at a nearby bank, Hocking spoke to the manager, who told her that staff were scared and unsure of how to respond when a homeless person entered the building.

The incident gave Hocking the idea to run “compassion training.” In May, she led a 90-minute workshop at the bank, in which she explained the challenges that homeless and marginalized people face daily, taught de-escalation tactics and told the staff about resources in the area, including Redeemer’s outreach program, The Common Table, which offers meals, counselling and activities.

Hocking plans to lead similar workshops for the staff at a café and a security team at an office tower. A clothing store and eyeglass shop have also expressed interest.

After the training, the staff at the bank volunteered at The Common Table for a day and donated $1,000.

“In the end, the goal is to teach that we are all human beings and we all deserve respect,” says Hocking.

—The Anglican

B.C. church set to reduce carbon emissions after receiving Built Heritage Grant

St. Saviour’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral in Nelson, B.C., has received a Built Heritage Grant of $137,071 to upgrade its heating system, by which the church plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

The Built Heritage Grants are part of a three-year commitment by Columbia Basin Trust, starting in 2017, to help recipients preserve and restore heritage buildings. The trust is supporting 17 projects worth $2.4 million through the grants, which are administered by Heritage B.C.

The current project seeks to use a variety of technologies to heat the cathedral—which regularly hosts concerts and events in addition to church services—and to reduce carbon emissions. The Built Heritage Grant will allow St. Saviour’s to cover related costs of more than $250,000, having raised the balance of funds through donations and fundraisers such as chocolate sales.

A new heating system is an urgent need at St. Saviour’s, designated as a heritage building by the City of Nelson. The cathedral was built in 1899 and rebuilt in 1929 after a fire. Its existing boiler is fired by natural gas and was last upgraded in the early 1990s. Parts of the heating system, such as pumps, have failed in recent winters.

St. Saviour’s is a signatory to the West Kootenay EcoSociety’s 100% Renewable Kootenays Initiative and has committed to using 100% renewable energy by 2050. Future plans to achieve this goal include improving building insulation and draft proofing.

—The HighWay

Diocese of Quebec launches intercultural ministry

A new ministry in the diocese of Quebec aims to serve newcomers to Canada who are not presently connected with a church in Quebec City.

The intercultural ministry launched July 7, spearheaded by bishop’s missioner the Rev. Thomas Ntilivamunda. Hosted at All Saints’ Chapel on Sundays at 3:30 p.m., the first gathering drew participants who are newcomers from Burundi and Rwanda. A few people also brought guitars.

Ntilivamunda knows the experience of immigrants firsthand, having come to Quebec with his wife Yaël and daughter Gemimah as asylum seekers. The family gained Canadian citizenship a few months ago. He says one of the ministry’s major purposes is to integrate “various aspects of the Anglican church from all over the world,” giving people “an opportunity to express their way of worship.”

Ntilivamunda hopes to provide more translation and diversity of instruments at future gatherings. “Whether it is American music, African music, Jamaican, whatever, that is their culture—if they are there, we have to offer some opportunity for them to express themselves, to feel at home and sing in their regional mode,” he says.

—Quebec Diocesan Gazette

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