100 years ago: September 1898
Canadian Churchman reported that it must surely be reckoned among the blessings accorded to the Canadian Church that there has been, of late years, at least, hardly any friction between the bishops and the people. Of course that might result from a state of things in which no work was being done, and therefore no collision could occur. But we do not believe that this is the case. We believe it has resulted from two things: from the bishops allowing to the clergy and laity a large amount of influence in the government of the Church, and from the clergy and laity regarding the office of the bishop with reverence and affection. Apparently there are other parts of the world where the case is different … What might be the consequence of total prohibition throughout the Dominion one can only imagine. We would therefore implore readers to think well before they bring such a measure into force. We cannot force people to be good, although we may influence them. Some other communities will go almost solid one way or the other. Members of our own communion are not pledged in this manner. It is to be hoped that they will be guided by sound reason and reflection, and by a consideration of the consequences which will result from their action.
50 years ago: September 1948
Canadian Churchman reported “I don’t believe that three hundred members of any other profession could have made such a good impression,” said the Queen when she was talking to the Archbishop of Canterbury (about) the bishops now attending the Lambeth Conference. Behind the Queen’s comment, said Dr. Fisher, lay an abiding truth. The Lambeth Conference illustrated the unity of the Anglican Communion, binding the Church at home with the younger members of its family into a complete and single fellowship by a common strategy and faith.
25 years ago: September 1973
Canadian Churchman reported that realism in the three Prairie provinces might suggest one diocesan administration located in the provincial capitals with a number of bishops in strategic locations where there are now three dioceses in each of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Such a move might make better use of personnel, finances and administration. In Ontario there are seven dioceses, all self-supporting except Moosonee, but with boundaries again based on a largely rural church and with little relationship to existing secular patterns. Across Canada for years now we have heard plaintive murmurs of the need for realism and flexibility but they have never got to the drawing board. Vested interests, archaic canons, parochialism and sheer inertia have perpetuated an inflexible and inefficient institution.