From the Bishop James Cowan’s charge to synod.
Woodpeckers are eating the cathedral:
For a variety of reasons, the initial design of the East End was modified. As a result, leakage has been a major problem in the East End ever since its completion. As well, some of the materials used for construction of the exterior east wall and transept towers have a lifespan of no more than twenty-five years. While that time is almost up, in fact the lifespan of that material has been considerably lessened, because woodpeckers seem to like it, and the repair of bird holes in the east nave wall and the transept towers has been an almost annual and costly event.
Even though many parishes will be closed, the cathedral will be fixed because it is – well, more important:
It may seem odd that in the midst of budgetary concerns, diocesan staff downsizing, and proposals about the disestablishment of parishes and the regrouping of parishes, there should be thought given to further development of the Cathedral.
Diocesan staff will be laid off:
There will have to be a major downsizing and re-alignment of the Diocesan Staff, and to that end I have consulted with the Officers of Synod, seeking their advice about what that downsizing and realignment might look like. The downsizing of Staff will take place regardless of the decisions which will be made during our consideration of the notices of motion which are before us from the Diocesan Transformation Team.
Parishes will be closed; parishioners will be angry:
I am aware of the anger that confronts us as these recommendations come before us for decision. For many years the buildings in which we worship and through which we minister have been a focus of that ministry and worship.
And the most interesting part: whole dioceses are candidates for closure:
Over the past thirty years, it has been suggested that there are too many Dioceses in the Anglican Church of Canada. We have talked about the extensive territory which exists in Canada and the reality of the great distances which separate the communities in which Anglican mission exists. Vast territories and a commitment to ministry in places where there are small numbers have been cited as reasons to let the status quo remain unchanged. The difficulty in bringing about change to the civil legislation which established most if not all of our Dioceses is also cited as reason to do nothing. And, as we continue to maintain our present structures the programmatic support which might be used to extend the proclamation of the Gospel is reduced, and reduced, and reduced.
Somewhere, somehow, this has to end.
The Diocese of Quebec is close to collapse; the Dioceses of Montreal and Toronto are in financial difficulty. So is the Diocese of Niagara, whose bishop has opined that the ideal size for a diocese is 35 parishes – Niagara currently has over 100 parishes.
Cowan seems to recognise that doing more of the same is not going to work:
A variety of sources have defined insanity as just that, doing the same thing while expecting different results. It did not work, it will not work, and the history of our denomination and of the Christian Church both here and in the rest of Canada over the past forty years, shows that working harder at doing the same things does not work.
And yet, although many of the ACoC bishops are feverishly rearranging Anglican trappings in things like Fresh Expressions, doctrinally they are continuing to plod resolutely down the same road of theological liberalism, and that is – insane.