Harvey Shepherd is the editor of the Montreal Anglican, the diocesan newspaper of the diocese of Montreal. He filed the following reports on the meeting of the House of Bishops, Oct. 22-25, on pp. 10-11.
The church was St. Stephen’s-the old stone church in the historic community of Chambly, located in the Montreal South Shore area near the Richelieu River. The hymns included Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah accompanied by two young men on guitars, and the gospel was the passage from Luke about the tax collector who said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”
The guest preacher was Bishop Benjamin T. Arreak, suffragan bishop for the Nunavik region of the diocese of Arctic.
“God is not looking for perfect things,” he told a congregation of about 50. “He is looking for the willingness of our hearts.” Also in attendance were a few members of the former Church of St. James in nearby St-Jean-sur-Richelieu.
The bishop was one of more than 48 bishops from across Canada attending the joint meeting of the Anglican House of Bishops and Lutheran Conference of Bishops. Each of the bishops visited different parishes in and around Montreal as guest preachers.
The Rev. Eileen Steele, the current priest at St. Stephen’s, said local parishes will be looking at ways to support the diocese of the Arctic, including prayer books from two South Shore parishes and possibly, a financial contribution to rebuilding the “Igloo Church”-St. Jude’s Cathedral in Iqaluit, on Baffin Island, destroyed by fire in 2005.
Bishop Arreak said the building could be ready for worship by the end of 2011. “The future is up in the air, but people all over Canada are supporting us,” he said. “We appreciate and thank God for that.” Ω
At press time, it was announced that Bishop Benjamin Arreak had decided to retire for personal reasons. The retirement was effective when it was announced in early November.
Bishop Arreak was elected in May 2002. He also served as deputy prolocutor of General Synod from 1995 to 1998 and on several national committees. He has been part of a team translating the Bible into Inuktitut.
Bishop Arreak and his wife, Susan, have eight children.