Parish Begins Work of Rebuilding after Majority Walks Out

Article excerpt

Port Alberni

The Sunday after more than two-thirds of the congregation of St. Alban's Anglican Church in this Vancouver Island town walked out to form their own church, it was "business as usual" for those who stayed behind.

Business as usual with one big difference - a striking oak altar, pulpit and laminated communion rail that had been placed into storage years ago by the former congregation because they were apparently "too Anglican", were back in place.

Retired Archbishop Douglas Hambidge took the service. And though the congregation had shrunk to 60 from 200, there was a confidence among parish leaders that former parishioners who had left over differences with the former rector would return.

But there was sadness too. "It has been a devastating experience," said bishop's warden John McManus. "Just like a divorce."

Bishop Barry Jenks of the Diocese of British Columbia is, however, very optimistic about the future. "The transition has gone very smoothly and I can see real enthusiasm among members of the congregation. Some people have even talked about a certain feeling of excitement."

Members of the parish held a meeting in January and voted 120 to 15 to quit the Anglican Church after their rector, Rev. …

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