Anglican Samizdat

February 15, 2009

St. Hilda’s ANiC: our one year anniversary

Filed under: Diocese of Niagara — David Jenkins @ 6:00 pm

It was one year ago that St. Hilda’s voted to come under the Episcopal oversight of Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Province of the Southern Cone. We had a cake this morning to celebrate.Add an Image

Our realigning unleashed a series of actions by the Diocese of Niagara that included firing the rector, demanding the building keys, freezing our bank account and taking St. Hilda’s to court.

Bishop Michael Bird threw things in frustration, John Page, the diocesan lawyer, hurled abuse during discovery meetings, and court appearances were disagreeably frequent.

During this time, St. Hilda’s web site peaked at 6000 hits per day and overall had 340,000 hits in 2008. The rector of St. Hilda’s, Rev. Paul Charbonneau appeared in a large colour photo on the front page of the National Post; we received hundreds of emails of support from all over the world – and even from parishioners in local Anglican churches.

None of this has been particularly easy: the pastor was fired and former colleagues shun him. Each week we have to pay to rent the gym in a local school; the chairs and sound equipment have to be set up and torn down. A series of ‘priests in charge’ have been installed in the building by the diocese and have brought with them a dribble of people from other Oakville parishes to create the illusion of a real diocesan congregation. They complain a lot.

To this day, the diocese has refused to share in building expenses or to negotiate – as was ordered by the court.

Standing up for something you believe in can end up being quite inconvenient.

I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.


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