St. Philip’s spared closure under Anglican restructuring

  • May. 16, 2011 4:00 p.m.
Rev. Christopher Page of St. Philip Anglican Church is glad his congregation is staying put in Oak Bay.

Rev. Christopher Page of St. Philip Anglican Church is glad his congregation is staying put in Oak Bay.

At a recent Sunday service at St. Philip’s Anglican Church, the word of God was served with cake.

That morning, May 8, the Venerable Christopher Page told his congregation of about 200 people they’d be staying put.

It was a day of celebration – and some disappointment – as the parish learned it would no longer be moving to the somewhat larger St. Mary the Virgin Church as part of a restructuring plan by the Anglican Diocese of B.C. that proposed the closure of six churches in Greater Victoria.

“There were absolutely lots of positive feelings, lots of excitement, but there were also a lot of people devastated at the prospect of losing this space,” Page said.

The two churches’ amalgamation order was rescinded in early March, but “it took me quite a while to be convinced that (the change) was final,” he said.

Though St. Philip’s was spared, the same can’t be said for many other South Island churches.

Late last year, five parishes west of Victoria blended into one – called the parish of St. Peter and St. Paul – at St. Paul’s Church in Esquimalt.

Bruce Bryant-Scott, executive director of the diocese, said the four closed parishes were financially unstable. He attributed the decision to stagnant congregation size and increasing salary costs for clergy.

“In most of these kinds of churches, anywhere between 50 and 80 per cent (of collections) is (used for) paying for the clergy,” he said. “That was the kind of bind we were in. By consolidating things, our hope and expectation was we could come up with a new DNA for the church.”

On the Saanich Peninsula, a retired rector was not replaced, Bryant-Scott said, leaving one and a half clergy members to look after two churches: St. Stephen’s and St. Mary’s churches in Saanichton.

Brentwood Chapel was closed and its parish split between the other two Peninsula churches.

In Saanich, St. David by the Sea in Cordova Bay, St. Peter’s in Lakehill and St. Michael and All Angels on West Saanich Road share a rotating four-person clergy.

Bryant-Scott said retirements and clergy transferring out of the region means no clergy were laid off in Greater Victoria under the restructuring plan.

The Oak Bay churches, for their part, had struck up a conversation committee once their amalgamation was announced. That committee showed the diocese the economics of moving the parish around to do renovations on St. Mary’s before the parish ended up there, weren’t worthwhile.

Page said there remains a steady core of people who maintain their faith in an age and country that’s increasingly turned away from religion.

“Sunday morning is no longer just church time for many people,” he said. “(But) there will always be some that decide to (worship) in the Anglican fashion and we’ll always be there for them.”

ecardone@vicnews.com

Did you know?

• The Anglican Diocese of B.C. will continue to own its closed church buildings until a decision is made on their disposition.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of deceased Hells Angels prospect from Sooke to be divided between wife and secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

Sooke resident Nathan Hanson popped both his driver’s side tires on a pothole near a construction site on Sooke Road. Hanson said he was following a line of traffic and was just before the 17 Mile Pub when he drove over the pothole. (Photo contributed/Nathan Hanson)
Driver blows two tires on pothole near construction site on Sooke Road

Ministry of Transportation says keeping highways in good condition a priority

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for Greater Victoria, with winds expected to get up to 70 km/h Friday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Wind warning promises blustery Friday for Greater Victoria

Winds up to 70 km/h expected Friday morning

On Feb. 27, a construction vehicle remained on the site of the former encampment between the Pat Bay Highway and McKenzie Avenue as part a clean-up effort. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Encampment between Pat Bay Highway, McKenzie Avenue cleared, all residents relocated

Efforts to disband encampment resumed after January fire

Rebecca Lang of Any Thyme Gardening installed a seed exchange library in front of her home on Beechwood Avenue. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Victoria gardeners scramble to create local seed exchanges

Fairfield resident’s seed exchange an instant hit

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Comox Valley-raised Shay Sandiford has earned a spot on the Canada skateboard team. Facebook
Vancouver Islander selected to Canada’s first-ever national skateboard team

Courtenay’s Shay Sandiford has his eye on qualifying for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Most Read