B.C. faces sweeping changes

Published June 1, 2006

The synod of the diocese of British Columbia has voted to accept bold recommendations made by a diocesan task force to reorganize congregations by closing some churches, amalgamating others, and creating new ones. “The synod, showing great courage, approved the motions put forward by the DMRT (Diocesan Ministry Resources Team),” the diocese said in a statement May 8. Earlier, there had been emotional reactions to the recommendations, particularly the call for the disestablishment and amalgamation of parishes, some of them among the oldest in the region. (The diocese, with more than 12,000 Anglicans, covers Vancouver Island and B.C.’s Gulf Islands.)The DMRT, created in 2004, cited declining church attendance, shrinking revenue and the need to respond to new demographics as reasons for the restructuring.Diocesan bishop James Cowan has appointed Canon Martin Hendy as leader of an implementation team, which will help each parish to “revise a church action plan” to be submitted by Dec. 31 for evaluation.  Parishes recommended for closure were given until June 2007 “to show progress,” said the diocesan statement, while those cited for amalgamation were given three to five years “to determine if the merger is feasible and desirable.”


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