Three parishes in the diocese of Calgary are being disestablished next year because they have been "unable to maintain their viability and parochial "status," according to diocesan bishop Barry Hollowell.
A member of one of the parishes said the church was not consulted about the closings.
In an e-mail to Anglican Journal, Bishop Hollowell denied reports that the soon-to-be closed parishes--St. Gabriel's, St. Edmund's, and All Saints, all in the city of Calgary--were not consulted about the decision and that they were caught off guard by it.
"The executive committee of the diocese, acting on a report from the strategic planning committee, made the decision to disestablish the parishes based on a long standing inability to meet canonical requirements for parochial status," said the bishop. "While the parishes were not involved in the actual executive decision they have had many opportunities over an extended period of time to work with the diocese and to contribute to a visioning process and the planning of mission and ministry in our diocese."
Bishop Hollower denied speculation that the three parishes--which are predominantly conservative--were being singled out. "The same criteria were used and equitably applied to each parish in the city of Calgary," he said.
He said that the key indicators of parochial status include: fulfillment of financial obligations (including parish apportionment, clergy Salary, and the ability to maintain parish buildings), annual reporting to synod office, electing delegates to synod and adherence to the tenets, goals, mission, canons and traditions of the diocese of Calgary and the Anglican Church of Canada.
Bishop Hollowell announced the disestablishment of the parishes in a letter to members of the diocese dated Oct. 21.
Rev. Dennis Frayne, rector of St. Gabriel's, declined to comment on Bishop Hollowell's decision. But a member of the parish, who refused to be identified, told the Journal that the announcement had come as a surprise and that parishioners were upset. …