St. John’s Vancouver Anglican Church, the largest Anglican congregation in Canada, will begin Sunday services at a new location after moving from its historic location on Granville Street and Nanton Avenue. The congregation, through a lengthy legal action, chose to leave their buildings rather than compromise their beliefs.
St. John’s Vancouver, which had been meeting at the Granville Street location for almost 100 years, will begin Sunday services on September 25 at Oakridge Adventist Church, at West 37th Avenue and Baillie Street in Vancouver.
Disagreement over basic Christian beliefs has separated Anglican congregations around the world into two camps, usually labeled orthodox and liberal, with those holding to historic, Bible-based values and beliefs in the vast majority. The St. John’s Vancouver Anglican congregation has aligned itself with the mainstream global Anglican Church, rather than continue as part of the local, more liberal Diocese of New Westminster.
“It is remarkable to be part of a Christian community which is putting faith into action in a way that seems inexplicable to those who love the world,” explained Canon David Short, Rector of St. John’s Vancouver. “We are doing something countercultural and counterintuitive for the truth of God’s word, losing something very valuable for the surpassing worth of Jesus Christ, holding the unity of faith by acting together as one, and joyfully accepting the confiscation of our property.”
The underlying, central issues of belief are: the authority of God’s Word in the Bible, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, and the need to be saved by Him. St. John’s, along with the majority of Anglicans worldwide, joyfully upholds the historic biblical faith, expressed in the founding Anglican affirmations.
The move was the result of a court action to determine whether the Diocese of New Westminster or the St. John’s Vancouver congregation was conducting the ministry for which the buildings were intended, and is a result of an on-going world-wide upheaval in the Anglican Communion, the 80 million member Christian Protestant denomination formed 500 years ago.
St. John’s Vancouver’s final Sunday services at the Granville Street location on September 18, attended by over 1,100 congregants, included prayers to bless the Diocese of New Westminster and those that would occupy the buildings after the congregation had left. Congregation members both wept and smiled as they left the church to travel the short distance to the new location. There, they joyfully sung hymns and prayed together.
“It is inexpressibly sad that we are forced to choose between God’s final word and these wonderful buildings,” said Canon Short, “but we feel relief and much joy in God’s faithfulness and provision for us.”
St. John’s Vancouver will continue to be led by its present clergy, Canon David Short, Rector, Venerable Daniel Gifford, Associate Minister, Rev. James Wagner, and Rev. Aaron Roberts, assisted by Canon Dr. J.I. Packer, Honorary Assistant Minister and a world-renowned published theologian, a staff of 15, and by the Trustees of St. John’s Vancouver Anglican Church.
The new location secured by St. John’s Vancouver is at West 37th Avenue and Baillie Street and belongs to Oakridge Adventist Church, which has graciously offered to share its building. St. John’s Sunday services will start in Oakridge on September 25, 2011 and all other mid-week activities are planned to continue as normal in the new location.
All those who visited St. John’s Granville Street location in the past, new neighbours in the Oakridge location, and all visitors and residents in Vancouver are welcome at the services, prayer times and church events. Special events are planned during the transition period and special welcoming services will be held. (My emphasis–KSH)