The diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island is embarking on an ambitious strategic plan, one that includes a $3.3 million capital campaign that Canada’s oldest Anglican diocese hopes will turn around its fortunes.
“Not unlike other Anglican dioceses and indeed congregations of other faiths, overall membership at our church is shrinking. Initiatives are required now that will move the diocese from merely surviving to an essential state of thriving,” according to an information booklet about Leap For Faith, the title of the campaign.
The campaign also includes All Saints Cathedral in Halifax, the see city, which is overseeing the first real estate development on its grounds – a residential/commercial project that will provide a steady income for the cathedral.
The diocese is also preparing to celebrate a significant anniversary in 2010, said Bishop Fred Hiltz. “It’s the 300th anniversary of continuing Anglican worship in Canada, commemorating a service that took place at Annapolis Royal (N.S.) in 1710 and the 100th anniversary of the cathedral,” he said in an interview. The diocese intends to invite the 2010 General Synod (the Anglican Church of Canada’s triennial governing convention) to meet in Nova Scotia, he said.
All these plans have been coalescing over the past three years, since Bishop Hiltz became diocesan bishop in 2002. “At that time, it had been about 10 years since we’d had a vision process,” he recalled. “So we had gatherings all over the diocese and teams went out and reported back to synod.”
Four areas of concentration emerged: developing healthy congregations, Anglican Christian formation, embracing youth and organizational efficiency. In the area of youth, each parish committed $500 to seed a youth co-ordinator position and two youth conferences have been held since 2002, he said. “But it became clear that (the vision) was not going to get off the ground without a capital campaign. Then, when we were challenged to make our commitment to the (residential schools) settlement fund, it really was starting to take shape,” Bishop Hiltz said.
(All dioceses are contributing to a fund that is paying compensation to former students of Anglican-run native residential schools who can prove they were sexually, physically or emotionally abused. The fund caps the church’s liability at $25 million. Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island’s commitment is $1.2 million; it has paid $540,000 to date.)
The diocese had not undertaken a capital campaign in 20 years – the last was the national Anglicans in Mission campaign. It hired a fundraising consulting firm, Halifax-based RBR Development Associates Ltd., which conducted a feasibility study and recommended that the diocesan wish list of $6 million be scaled back to an initial goal of $3 million.
If the campaign reaches its target of $3.3 million, it will fund: the settlement fund contribution, a parish development officer, a youth co-ordinator, a clergy wellness co-ordinator, leadership training at the Atlantic School of Theology, better diocesan-wide communications and cathedral restoration.
Campaign director Barbara Voye, who is with RBR, said the campaign’s volunteers are in place and potential major donors are being contacted. Bishop Hiltz said he is getting his fill of spinach salad and quiche as he lunches with donors, but that “the opportunity to talk about the church has been phenomenal.”
Ms. Voye said that in the year she has been working on the campaign, she has been impressed with the “sense of commitment” of Anglicans in the diocese. “People talk about what a great privilege is it to raise their children in the diocese. It’s very moving,” she said.
Administration costs to date are about $310,000, said Canon Gordon Redden, executive assistant to Bishop Hiltz.
Next to the diocesan offices, Dean Glen Burgomaster keeps the 95-year-old cathedral building running – not an easy task on occasions such as last year’s Hurricane Juan, which tore the main part of the roof off and poured water into the building.
The workers hammering away next to the cathedral are constructing a rectangular building that will run parallel to the church, with a garden and walkway in between, containing 42 apartment units and ground-floor commercial space targeted at medical professionals or similar tenants. The building, scheduled to open in June, will be clad in stone, to complement the cathedral, and will not be higher than the church.
All Saints is leasing the land to the real estate developer, Halifax-based Greenwood Lane Inc., for 75 years, after which ownership will revert to the church. “We will receive $75,000 per year for the first 10 years, then $90,000 per year,” said Dean Burgomaster, leading a tour of the church.
The gothic structure, damaged in the Halifax Explosion of 1917, contains a number of notable features, including a window marking the 200th anniversary of the arrival in 1787 of the first Anglican bishop in Canada, Charles Inglis.
Unfortunately, said Dean Burgomaster and Ray Carter, chair of the restoration committee, penny-pinching when the building was erected resulted in the use of substandard building materials. Restoration needs include $100,000 for the roof, $200,000 for window glass and stonework and $275,000 for the interior, where the walls are marked by cracks and water damage.
Income from the real estate development will also help in other areas. “When I’d walk along the south lawn (site of the development), there would be condoms, needles, mouthwash bottles,” he said. The cathedral supports a food bank and a soup kitchen and Dean Burgomaster said the development will free up funds for ministry to the community.