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Anglican Diocese of Quebec on verge of extinction: Church of England Newspaper, November 28, 2014 November 28, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Church of England Newspaper.
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St Paul's Cumberland QuebecSecularism combined with rural flight may lead to the extinction of the Anglican Church of Canada’s Diocese of Quebec with 64 per cent of congregations closing or amalgamating with other parishes in the next five years. In a reflection recently published on the diocese’s website, Nancy Clark writes the demographic sustainability of the province’s English-speaking communities are in doubt, and with it the future of the diocese. “Like the exodus of English-speaking youth from rural villages, youth are moving away from religion, feeding their needs and emotions with the dream of material things, things only cities and stuff can give you.  These are looming facts, and we can’t deny them.” Statistics published in a report released earlier this year by the Task Force on Mission Ministry and Management reports the diocese has 3000 members in 52 parishes with 87 congregations. The report stated “42% of congregations have fewer than 10 regular services a year and 76% have fewer than 25 participants at services. In 31% of the congregations the age range begins at 50 and in 13% at 70.” The report further reported that a “staggering 83%” reported minimal or no activity outside of worship. The collapse of institutional Anglicanism in Quebec may be inevitable, Ms. Clark wrote, but it also represented an opportunity. “Let’s imagine starting with a clean slate. … This is our chance to let go, stop struggling, and focus on what is important: living in a way that Christians are meant to and sharing that with the next generations,” she said.

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Gay blessings authorised by 3 Canadian dioceses: The Church of England Newspaper, December 9, 2012 p 6. December 12, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Church of England Newspaper, Marriage.
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The Dioceses of Quebec, Rupert’s Land and Edmonton have authorised their clergy to bless same-sex unions.

Last month the Bishop of Rupert’s Land, the Rt. Rev. Donald Phillips announced that he had given his consent to a 20 Oct 2012 resolution endorsed by the diocesan to all gay blessings. Bishop Phillips said he had initially declined to give his consent to the resolution, but had changed his mind, writing “I am now settled that it is pastorally appropriate to proceed.”

Rupert’s Land clergy will not be permitted to solemnize a same-sex marriage, but upon application to the bishop may bless same-sex couples whose marriage has already been “duly solemnized and civilly registered,” Bishop Phillips said.

On 13 October 2012 the Diocese of Edmonton Synod also passed a motion that will allow clergy to bless civilly married same-gender couples on a case-by-case basis. The diocese had permitted clergy to celebrate the existence of gay unions within the context of a Eucharistic service, but the new rules permit parishes to bless these unions.

The marriage service may not be used for these ceremonies, the diocese has told its clergy and each blessing must receive the prior approval of the bishop.

Writing in the December issue of his diocesan newspaper the Bishop of Quebec said he too was authorizing his clergy to perform rites for the blessing of same-sex unions. In his presidential address Bishop Dennis Drainville said the issue of same-sex blessings had been addressed several times by the Canadian General Synod.  It had “affirmed the place and the welcome that this church offers to all people—including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in Christ—while also recognizing that in the Church, both locally and globally there is no common mind about how to respond to their committed partnerships.”

He noted the General Synod could not come to a “common mind” on this question and had declined to legislate.  However, it also “recognized that there are and will be a variety of  practises across Canada and in other parts of the Anglican Communion, and because this is so we must continue to talk and pray together as we seek to discern a way forward in accordance of God’s mission in the world.”

This call to conversation and study, the bishop explained, was his mandate for adopting “pastoral” same-sex blessings.  Such blessings would not have the force of ecclesial or civil law, he noted: “This act of blessing is not the performing of a marriage but rather the blessing of civil union that has already taken place.”

Other Canadian Anglican dioceses that have approved same-sex blessings include: British Columbia, New Westminster, Edmonton, Niagara, Huron, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, and Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (APCI) also passed a motion asking its bishop to allow clergy “whose conscience permits” to bless same-sex unions.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Bishop of Quebec authorizes gay blessings: Anglican Ink, December 1, 2012 December 1, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Ink, Marriage.
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The Rt. Rev. Dennis Drainville

The Rt. Rev. Dennis Drainville

The Bishop of Quebec has authorized his clergy to perform rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.

In his presidential address to the 2-4 Nov 2012 diocesan synod held in Quebec City, Bishop Dennis Drainville he would “like to proceed in the Diocese of Quebec, as several other Canadian dioceses have done, to provide both a rite of blessing and pastoral support for persons living in committed, same-gender relationships.”

The bishop’s call for gay blessings was put to debate and a motion adopted that read: “This Synod supports the bishop’s wish in his charge to Synod to permit the blessing of same-gender unions in the Diocese of Quebec and requests that he establish a working group to advise him on the implementation guidelines by the beginning of June 2013.”

Opponents of the motion argued the adoption of rites for the blessing of same-sex unions was un-Scriptural and placed the diocese at odds with the mind of the larger Anglican Communion.  However, opponents were able to must only 10 votes out of the approximately 70 delegates present.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Synod may merge 7 Eastern Canadian dioceses into 3: The Church of England Newspaper, April 29, 2012, p 6. May 4, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada

The Ecclesiastical Province of Canada – the domestic province of the Anglican Church of Canada covering Quebec and the Maritime Provinces – will entertain a motion at its provincial synod to consolidate its seven dioceses into three.

In a statement released on 17 April 2012, the province said the motion put forward by the Provincial Governance Task Force seeks to create “a leaner, more efficient ecclesiastical province better equipped to carry out God’s mission in eastern Canada.”

“We should start from a presumption that greater cooperation among the dioceses is desirable,” said Archbishop Claude Miller, Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada and Bishop of Fredericton. “Then we need to determine which structures may best achieve this outcome.”

Consolidating dioceses “recognizes the changing demographic of the Anglican Church within the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada in terms of both decreasing numbers and the increased cost of providing ecclesiastical services within our seven existing dioceses,” the explanatory note accompanying the motion stated.

Among the proposals are merging the dioceses of Eastern, Central and Western Newfoundland – which were formed out of the Diocese of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1976 – back to a single diocese.  The Diocese of Fredericton, which covers the province of New Brunswick, could be merged with the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, while the dioceses of Quebec and Montreal could form a single diocese.

According to the 2011 Anglican Church Directory, Montreal has 96 active clergy, 66 parishes and approximately 12,000 members on its parish rolls. Quebec has only 23 clergy, 45 parishes and 4000 members.

Fredericton has 69 active clergy, 85 parishes and approximately 24,000 members, while Nova Scotia &  PEI has 127 clergy, 111 parishes and 127,000 members.

Western Newfoundland has 27 clergy, 32 parishes and 36,000 members; Central Newfoundland 34 clergy, 32 parishes and 33,000 members and Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador has 48 clergy, 27 parishes and 61,000 members.

Depopulation of rural Canada is placing pressure on the Anglican Church of Canada to change its current structures.  At its 5 June 2011 meeting of synod the Diocese of Moosonee voted to dissolve the diocese due to a sharp fall in the northern diocese’s population.  Delegates unanimously adopted a resolution directing its officers to begin talks with the Province of Ontario to dissolve the diocese and create a mission area to oversee its 26 parishes.

In November 2009 Bishop Barry Clarke of Montreal and Bishop Dennis Drainville of Quebec initiated a two year “discernment process” to look into “opportunities and obstacles to partnership” between the two dioceses including a possible merger.

In 2009 Bishop Drainville told the Canadian House of Bishops his diocese was “teetering on the verge of extinction.”  Of the diocese’s 82 congregations, 50 were childless and 35 congregations had an average age of 75.  These graying congregations often had no more than 10 people in church on Sundays, he said.  “The critical mass isn’t there, there’s no money anymore,” he said.

Between 1961 and 2001 the Anglican Church of Canada lost 53 per cent of its members, with numbers declining from 1.36 million to 642,000.  The rate of decline has increased in recent years, according to an independent report given to the Canadian House of Bishops in 2006 by retired marketing expert Keith McKerracher.

If the motion passes the September meeting of synod, the province will undertake to “explore possible realignment of dioceses,” and then report back to the 2015 meeting of synod for further action.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.